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Hipstercrite: July 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Ox

I was in 9th grade and sitting in the band room during lunch- because that's what band geeks do- when I heard the most perfect piano rendition of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue coming from one of the practice rooms.

I recognized Gershwin anywhere. My father, being a piano player himself, loved Gershwin, therefore I loved Gershwin in attempt to bridge the three-state gap between us.

I didn't know that anyone in my school loved Gershwin as much as I, let alone play his 32-page composition perfectly.

I peered in through the tiny window of the practice room and like a caged animal, I see a flurry of arms and hands running up and down the keyboard. I didn't recognize the kid, he looked a few years younger than me, but I knew I had to meet him.

I waited outside the room like an eager fan and introduced myself before he could even collect his sheet music.

His name was Josh and he was in 7th grade and playing that "little old sheet music" was no big deal to him.

But it was a big deal to me.


What brought Josh and I together was music, but what made us close was the camaraderie that only a small town can bring (and Frank Zappa).

When I was old enough to work, Josh's family invited me to work at their Italian restaurant in the larger city 30 miles outside of my hometown. The restaurant has been in the family for seven decades and spanned three generations. It was a staple in Ithaca, NY and everyone knew Centini's.

I could not have asked for a better first gig. The first gig turned into my college gig and Centini's turned into my second home. At the end of the night, we would all sit around and eat mounds of spaghetti and meatballs and talk about the characters that came in an out of the restaurant that day. Josh's mother and uncle would never let me leave without cartons of spaghetti to bring to my dorm and they had a fit when I told them that I was happy eating the salad bar that evening.

I was part of a big, genuine Italian family that loved me like their own and my last day at Centini's to move onto LA was a sad one.

Every time I came back to visit NY, Centini's was the first place I went until one day it was no longer there.

Sometimes I dream that it is still there.


I saw Josh last week. He was in Austin visiting from Ithaca. His musical talents bring him all over the country and he was performing at the University of Texas. I told him to wait for me to pick him up on the street corner and like typical nervous Josh, he decided to run to the opposite side of the street that I was pulling over to. I threw up my hands like, "What the f are you doing!?" and he quickly ran back and jumped in my car as a line of traffic built up behind us.

"So, I'm going to take you to a bar on the east side where some of my friends are. That ok?"

"Yeah, but I just warn you, I'm not good with meeting large crowds of people."

I laughed. Josh is always good with large groups of people, he has over 1585 Facebook friends for cyring out loud- everyone loves the kid- but I knew what he meant. I didn't feel like dealing with a crowd either.

We sat and caught up and drank Bloody Mary's with pickled okra and he gave me his pickled okra because he didn't like it and he told me how happy he was with his life and how I should move back to Ithaca because when "the world is coming to an end, Ithaca will be a safe place to hide out" and how his Dad, who has been sick with MS for many years, is in an adult daycare center and can't really talk, and how his Mom, the most selfless, hard-working woman you will ever meet, just quit smoking and after all of that talk, he turned to me and said, "Lauren, where have you been my whole life?"

When I dropped him off at his hotel room that night, before he shut the door, he winked and said, "So, want to come up to my hotel room? There's a kitchen". I fained excitement and then punched him in the arm along with my typical response of, "Josh, you're like my little brother. Get lost, goober."

Josh flew back on Saturday.

Monday, I noticed everyone was writing about him on Facebook.

My heart sank.

I quickly went to his profile and saw a barrage of "we're praying for you" messages. It took me a long time to comb through the messages that his loving friends had left for him to find an answer.

He was in a serious car accident and in critical condition. Bits and pieces of info from Facebook said that he had to be revived twice on the way to the hospital, that he has head trauma, and was going to need multiple surgeries including reconstructing his arm and tending to his stomach and lungs.

Josh is in a coma right now and that's all I know.

I keep thinking about when Josh told me last week how happy he was with life and I am left with so many questions and hopes.

If you're in the Ithaca area or elsewhere and would like to help, you can follow updates here.

Lessons I Learned From The Movies of My Childhood

When someone asks me what my top ten favorite movies of all time are, I generally list eight films that make up a large chunk of my childhood from the ages of 4-8 (the other two films involve sadomachsim and a rock star wearing a giant suit that I watched between the ages of 16-19).

Below are a few movies from my childhood that are not only my favorites due to sentimental reasons, but also because of the hard-hitting life lessons they taught me growing up. They are movies that every kid should watch.

I know for certain if and when I bring a little one into this world, I will force him or her to watch every one of these movies every day for the first ten years of their life.

Every day.



Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Lesson 1: That all clowns- whether real or mechanical- are freakin' scary as crap! They'll oversee the stealing of your bike, then laugh at you maniacally when you realize it's been stolen.

Lesson 2: That people will laugh at your lack of high school American history knowledge- even if they sound like white trash themselves.

Lesson 3: That people will pump you full of tequila and get you to dance awkwardly on a bar and laugh at you.

Moral of the story: People will laugh at you every opportunity they get, but not for the fact that you're a grown man in a tiny suit whose greatest love has been that of inanimate object.

Back to the Future
Lesson 1: That it's wise to check any potential mate's family ancestry before going to town with them.

Lesson 2: That hooking up with your Mom creates a magical photo erasing power.

Lesson 3: That your Dad was most likely a perv growing up and may or may not have nabbed your Mom by doing pervy things because she's into dudes that get hurt when doing pervy things, i.e. your parents are sexual weirdos.

Moral of the Story: Incest is wrong, unless you need to Photoshop a picture and don't have access to Photoshop.

Lesson 1: That there is a good chance the building you lived in was once a meeting place for cult members who worshipped a tiny dog with horns that lives in your fridge.

Lesson 2: That when someone asks if you are a God, YOU SAY "YES!"

Lesson 3: That if you see a ghost, there is a chance you could just be menstruating.

Moral of the story: Rick Moranis is hot.

Lesson 1: That precocious children are not to be trusted with statue penises.

Lesson 2: That lifting your shirt up and shaking what's underneath will gain you access to anywhere.

Lesson 3: Don't sing "Rock a Bye Baby" to a mental challenged child who is mentally challenged due to you dropping him (thanks Muse)

Moral of the story: Don't have children, unless they look or act like Data. Then you'll just want to hug and kiss him after every cute little word that comes out of their tiny mouth.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Is Artsy Fartsy School A Necessity?

This is a post I've been wanting to write for a very long time, but kept putting it off since I felt that my collegiate experiences skewed my thoughts on the subject. However, after reading an interesting article in Hufffingtonpost about college students/grads and their stories of student debt, and talking to dozens of friends about their own college experiences, I've decided to stop pussy-footing around the issue and write questions to myself and talk in the third person.


Is college a necessity?

Abso-fucking-lutely (to quote my friend's girlfriend's response after he proposed to her in front of The Bellagio last weekend).

There Mom....are you happy?

I said it!



Is it necessary if you're going into the arts?


I only said "maybe", Ma!

Jeez! It's not like I said, "Art school is totally a waste of freakin' money!"

But what if it is?! You know?! What if it is a waste of money!?

Fine. Ok.

Quit pulling the Jewish guilt trip, will ya?


1.) So I want to go to artsy fartsy school. Is that good idea? Did you go to artsy fartsy school, Lauren?

I went to film school. Upon leaving film school and working in Hollywood, I was angry. Film school did not prepare me for the realities of the industry. Theory and critique is wonderful, but considering the chances of film students actually becoming filmmakers are low, knowing what unique camera angles Orson Welles used in Citizen Kane is most likely not going to help you understand when your agent is trying to figuratively or literally f*ck you or deal with your producer when he is high on blow and threatening to jump off the 8th floor of the Sunset Tower with the final cut of your movie in his hands.

Luckily, I was raised by in a low income, single parent household so my $50,000 a year tuition (stupid!) cost me about the same as community college. However, I often wonder if I would have benefited from taking business classes at the local community college more?

This was a common sentiment voiced by other friends who work in the arts industries. My friend, Chris, a TV writer/producer in Los Angeles who attended Gonzaga University and has $27,000 in college debt, said, "In terms of actual concrete skills necessary to do anything with my job - my degree didn't do anything there. On the other hand, things I learned through experiences at college made me better at research, organizing ideas, and writing. The first step that got me my first job and launched my career was an internship at a production company and because internships technically as a legal matter must only be given to an enrolled college student -- and even if the place that might hire you for an internship doesn't technically follow that rule -- being enrolled in college helps you to get that internship in the first place."

So that leads us to...

2.) So if they don't really teach you anything at artsy fartsy school, what is the point?

The big point about artsy fartsy school that I conveniently forget is that I got my foot in the Hollywood door through my internship. At internships you make connections. However, internships are often difficult to obtain unless you're enrolled in college. There is much debate on whether or not it is "illegal" to hire an intern that is not currently enrolled in school. I've always been told this. However, after some research, it's appears that is not the case. In some states like California, I believe if a student is not enrolled in school, then you will have to pay them for the internship. That could be where the confusion lies (please correct me if you know more on this). Regardless, this misnomer or the fact that employers like "hiring" interns who are going to school, puts the non-college student in a tough place.

3.) Is it worth spending $30,000, $50,000, $100,000 just for the internships/connections?

No, it's not.

I mean, if you have $50,000 to spare, then why the hell not?

4.) So then what do you recommend? What are you trying to tell me, Lauren!?!?

Move to a big city and network like there is no f'ing tomorrow.

5.) This girl is getting her master's degree in photography and owes $177,250 in debt and can't start her photography business because her school loans are $2,000. Why did she do that? Why, Lauren? WHY?

Yeah, I don't know why, but she looks miserable in this photo, doesn't she? Like she's being sentenced to death.

5.) No, seriously...what the hell are you trying to tell me?

I don't really know.

I guess what I'm trying to say is if you're parents are freakin' loaded and you really want to go to art/film school, then do it.

Or get a degree in something more practical and employable.

Hell, I'm going to tell my kid to go to vocational school.

But if you can't go to art school, don't sweat it.

It's 90% networking and 10% what you know. What you know you can learn from community college, night courses, online/books, or just getting out there and doing it.

*It's probably smart if you don't take advice from me.

What are your thoughts on arts school or college in general?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Austin's Bleet-Up

Yep, our city as a yearly meet-up for local bloggers.

Does your city do that?

I doubt it.

And that's why all of you LA and New York people are moving here.
(P.S. Please stop. I told you before- I'm the last Angeleno they let in through the gate).

Last year's Bleet-up was a blast. Just imagine this local online microcosm of bloggers finally forced into a room with one another. The mask of our witty online personas stripped away, hoping, praying that we that we live up to the monsters we've created.

This year, the Bleet-Up's creator and host, the most talented and beautiful Tolly Moseley over at Austin Eavesdropper, (and I'm not using kiss-ass superlatives just for the sh*t of it- she's actually really talented and beautiful), stepped things up a notch. Looks like this year we'll be talking blogs up at the Four Seasons!

Yep, that's right.

Tolly, I might show up in a raggedy faux fur coat and pearls just to feel special, if that's ok?

It's been a long time since I've felt special.


If you didn't RSVP, then what the f is the matter with you!? Now you've missed your opportunity to go the Four Season and talk about your blog and look like a bag lady because the guest list is closed.

If any spots open back up, Ms. Tolly will let us know tomorrow via Twitter.

Who all is going?

For all you non-Austin residents, here is a list of local blogs that are worth checking out:

Austin Eavesdropper- the reining queen blog of what's going on in Austin.
Adored Austin and Keep Austin Stylish- the reining queens of Austin fashion.
Sailor Legs- Vanessa probably has the best taste in pop culture in Austin.
Angeliska Gazette- Angeliska's beautiful and poetic blog is always a fun read!
Party Ends- John and Luther know what's up with music.
East Austinite- Everything East Austin- the ONLY place that matters.
Because I Can- By a supremely talented and funny young lady WHO NEVER WRITES IN HER FREAKING BLOG.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Phil Hartman Day!

Can you believe it's been 12 years since Phil Hartman passed away?

I remember so perfectly the day I found out he had been killed.

I was in 9th grade. CNN was flashing the story all day. Everyone in Hollywood made statements, mostly asking how could something so horrible happen to such a kind and talented man? How could a hard-working, relatively normal family man be shot and killed by his wife, who then turned the gun on herself, leaving behind two young children?

The tragedy left Hollywood spinning. Everyone wanted to point fingers. Zoloft got a bad rap (Hartman's wife, Brynn, was taking Zoloft at the time of the murder....along with a whole lotta of cocaine and alcohol). It even came to light later that Andy Dick may have pushed Brynn Hartman back onto cocaine. This accusation came from Jon Lovitz who felt that Dick was the cause of Hartman's murder. In 2007, Lovitz and Dick had a confrontation about this and Lovitz smashed Dick's face against a bar.

The day Hartman died, I was glued to the TV set. News footage looped of police walking in and out of the Hartman's modest Encino, California home. Later that evening, my mom drove me to jazz band practice and the mood was somber. My fellow tenor saxophone player, a popular and handsome 10th grader, was inconsolable. He could barely focus on the Stevie Wonder song we were learning.

"Phil Hartman was like a Dad to me," he said, shaking his head.

At the time, I was confused. How could a man's death, a man that he had never met, a man who typically played brash and sarcastic characters, have such an effect on him?

I asked my friend, *Chareth Cutestory (not his real name), what his thoughts on this are:

Besides the obvious tragedy surrounding his murder, why do you think Phil Hartman's life and death resonated with so many people?

Well, cause he was the quintessential straight man. And a straight man is an interesting thing in popular comic culture because you don't immediately recognize how necessary they are for visual comedy to work. And Phil Hartman WAS a straight man. Look it up in the dictionary and you'll find a link to Phil Hartman's IMDB entry. His trademark voice was so monotonous and characterless that it became out sized and his most defining quality. That voice. It was classically grotesque. The voice, his most famous personas, his mannerisms—all exaggerations of banal and uninteresting characters we know from life. It was an art the way he brought them into focus and made them watchable. And like most subtle art, you don't really understand how integral its place is in the scheme of things until there's a big gaping hole where it once was.

Ok, it's looking like this post isn't going to be funny. I was counting on you saying something funny. Great. Thanks.

Well, Phil Hartman took his comedy VERY seriously. He RARELY ad-libbed. Every single pause, every movement, everything was meticulously planned. He would pore over his scripts and mark them up in the margins and approach comedy like he was conducting a science experiment. So it's not weird that a post about him would take a critical look at his work, rather than to go for a cheap laugh.


One can only imagine how ambitious Phil Hartman was. He packed more in a lifetime than some of us could ever hope for. His career began as a graphic designer, creating over 40 album covers in the 1970's including art for Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Poco, and America. Not long after he decided to try his luck at comedy and joined Los Angeles' The Groundlings comedy troupe. There he became part of the Pee-Wee Herman Show, originating the part of Captain Carl (who would later appear on the television series, "Pee-Wee's Playhouse"). Hartman also co-wrote the feature film, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure with Paul Reubens and Michael Varhol. In 1986, Phil Hartman joined the cast of SNL where he became a prominent member, popularizing such characters as The Anal Retentive Chef, Caveman Lawyer, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan. During this time, Hartman started popping up in movies and television shows left and right. Who could forget his memorable voices on "The Simpsons"? In 1995, Hartman co-starred on the hit NBC series, "Newsradio", which aired for five seasons, Hartman having been killed in between the filming of the 4th and 5th seasons. Hartman was 49 years old when he died.

I only started warming up to Hartman shortly before he was murdered. His smarmy voice and assholey personas did not rub well with my uncritical fourteen year-old mind. I didn't understand what he was doing. To me he was just abrasive. It wasn't until I followed my favorite, most beautiful Canadian comedian over to "Newsradio", that I really stopped and noticed Hartman. He was brilliant as Bill McNeil. I rarely use the word, "brilliant", but in this case, it's justified. His delivery! His beats! His dry expression! I even used a Bill McNeil quote for my senior yearbook: "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, and then throw it in the face of the person who gave you the lemons until they give you the oranges you originally asked for?"

The man was a smart actor and smart comedian and it's heart-breaking that his already prolific career was cut short.

I've been watching Phil Hartman clips and finding myself tearing up. Maybe I should give my old tenor saxophone band partner a call.

Do you remember the day Phil Hartman died?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Some Have Babies, Others Write About Them

Ok. It doesn't look like I'm going to finish my post about higher education today.
So, I'm doing something lame.
I found something I wrote a few years ago.
Something I don't particularly think is an example of good writing or particulary interesting, but I'm posting it anyways.



A friend just emailed me pictures of my high school boyfriend's new baby.

I'm reading X-files fan fiction in my underwear.

Growing up is never easy. Some of us welcome adulthood with open arms, while others try to beat it off with a blunt object while sitting in a thong reading poorly written Harlequin stories by obsessed fans of a show that's been off the air for many years.

I liked my childhood.

I didn't particularly want to let it go.

The days when one could dress up as your favorite role model, Dana Scully, and people thought it was cute instead of creepy. The days when I wrote lists like, "Things I want to do before I'm 25" and consisted of pragmatic goals like "Have completed ten novels", "Have starred in ten movies" and "Have two ex-husbands". The days where I had no concept about the unfairness in the world, the bills I'd have to pay, the emotional breakdown that would actually come at 25 instead of stardom and divorce settlements.

I believe my childhood died in fragments, not in one final, grand exit.

Like a series of heart attacks.

The first heart attack came in 8th grade. I was wearing an over-sized womens' business suit. I wanted to look like an FBI agent. Dana Scully wore cool business suits. I didn't realize until I was older that she indeed did not wear cool business suits. A male classmate asked me if I was a dyke. I had no idea what that word meant. I envisioned a riverbed and could not see the correlation. A friend later explained to me what it meant. I was crushed. When you're 14 and don't know any better, those sort of things hurt. After that day, I retired my over-sized pant suits to the closet and settled for more traditional teenage garb like a jean skirt and t-shirt.

The second heart attack came when my childhood dog passed away. For some reason, I was dumb-founded when she actually died. I was convinced she would live forever. I actually thought that I could will her to be immortal even though I was 17 years old and should have known better. I would sit with her and have a talk. I'd say, "Look, Sam. You're not dying ok?" I'd look her intensely in the eyes. The more intensely I'd look, the more I knew it would work. I'd sit next to her on the couch, staring, sometimes crying, sometimes screaming, demanding her to live forever. Sam would look at me sideways, then slowly lean away.

The third attack happened when I was twenty. Some things are better left unsaid.

The fourth heart attack came when I took the Jim Henson Studios tour and saw five Kermits hanging on hooks on the wall.

So, while looking at this picture of a child of somebody at one time knew so well, somebody at one point I couldn't imagine life without, someone I stopped loving years ago, someone I have no idea who they are anymore nor care to, I debate whether or not I should put some clothes on, shut down the computer, and just finally take the pant-suit to Goodwill.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Apathetic, Texas

(*note to potential new employers down below)

Remember that dude with the Wayfarers and handle bar mustache that crashed my birthday party last week?

The one who was drunk and screaming Serge Gainsbourg songs?

Yes. I saw him again at the social bike ride and he asked me out.

Was he drunk?


Was he singing Serge Gainsbourg again?


So, what did you say?

I told him that I would have to think about it, but then we ended up making out at the bar anyways.

Have you gone out on the date with him already?

Well, so, he calls me on Tuesday to tell me that he has this coupon for unlimited buffet of tacos and margaritas at some chain restaurant in Round Rock.

Oh, really?


Did he pick you up?

Nah, he doesn't have a car.

So how does he get around?

Fixed gear kid. He believes in keeping life minimal.

His car was repoed?


So, did you have to pick him up?


Where does he live?

On a mattress in his brother's back yard over on east 10th.

In the backyard?! Like outside?



He says it's to help him with his music.

How old is he?


How old are you again?

34., you picked him up and...

Well, when I got there, he wasn't there.

Where was he?

I texted him and about an hour later he responds with that he's over his buddy's house for band practice and that he completely forgot about dinner.


So, about an hour after that, he gets back to his brother's place and he smells like Jack Daniels hasn't taken a bath in a few days.

That's gross.

Well, actually I kind of like it.

That's even more gross.

So, we start to make our way to Round Rock and he realizes that he left his debit car at The Liberty about three days ago, so we head to The Liberty.

Oh man, have you been to that food trailer in back yet? So good....


Is that cute bartender with long hair still working there?

Which one?

All of them.

I guess so? So, we go to The Liberty and his card isn't there. He has no idea where it is. But he tells me that his buddy works at The Brixton and he can hook us up with free drinks.

Oh, they have cute bartenders there too.

Will you quit it with that? So, we go to The Brixton and his buddy is there and they start doing shots of whiskey.

Did you drink?

Yes, but I was hungry as shit, so I announce that I'm walking down to Wendy's and the guys are like, "Cool...can you get us something?". So, I walk to Wendy's and get the most beautiful 10 piece chicken nugget meal I've ever seen.

They have good nuggets there.

I know.

Wait, why did you walk?

Because I was already two shots in and hadn't eaten since noon.


What do you mean so!?


So, I get back to The Brixton and Atticus and his buddy...

Wait, his name is Atticus?!

Yes. So Attitcus and his buddy are wasted. Like, can barely stand up, on the verge of blacking out wasted.

Really? What did you do?

I picked him up and we walked back to my house.


As I held back his hair at 3AM while he was throwing up seitan that resembled baby diarrhea, I looked at my Master's Degree framed over the toilet and started crying.

That happened to me last Saturday.

(*this post is hypothetical , based off of observations and not a representation of me)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome to East Austin!

I live in East Austin.
Like many east sides of cities, the neighborhood is a cultural and artistic melting pot.
And like many east sides, holds a dense history of segregation and gentrification.

When I began working on the east side over a year and a half ago, I became fascinated with the story told in each building and person I walked or drove by. Like many items that fascinate me, I began researching the area and was surprised to discover the narrative behind the surface.

During the time of Jim Crow laws, the city of Austin passed a 1928 City Plan that designated a black-only district east of what is now I-35. African Americans relocated to this area and had their own designated schools, churches, and other public facilities. During this time, a rich jazz scene blossomed in the area which helped to cultivate Austin as the music-centric city it is today. Also, during this time, Hispanic Americans were pushed East as well (the logistics of this are frequently discussed and I need to do more research on it). Though Lyndon Johnson signed off on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the building of I-35 around the same time didn't help to bridge the already decades old segregation within Austin. The city took little notice of East Austin, letting the area become a playground for rampant industrial endeavors and crime. It wasn't until the 1990's that the city took an interest in revitalizing the east side and ever since, the sentiment has caught fire.

The pics below are only a two block area of East Austin that make up my neighborhood. The rest of East Austin is a photographer's dream. Perfect example is in Rama Tiru's book, "Austin East of I-35". I highly recommend this beautiful and informative book. Just when you think you know everything about East Austin...

Another excellent resource is UT's "East Austin Stories" series. Every year, film students create two documentaries about the east side. I attended this year's screening and was thoroughly impressed not only at the quality of the students' films, but the fascinating stories that exist in every nook and cranny of this wonderful part of Austin.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Long Term Goals and Me: A Love/Hate Story

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Five years?
Ok, how about year then?
What about six months, for crying out loud?!
Do you even have any idea what the hell you are doing tomorrow?

That sounds about right.

Setting long term goals was a practice I never even thought about. Why set milestones in your life only to be let down when you are unable to achieve them? Hell, I thought I'd be dead by 30, so what was the point? Life doesn't exist after 30, right?

So, what is the point? Well, unless I pull a Jim/Janis/Jimi this year for my 27th (chances are not looking good since I don't smoke weed, have never even seen cocaine, and still confused how one puts heroin into their bodies), 30 is going to come a lot sooner than later and I'm going to be sitting on my couch wondering why I'm idle and NOTHING SCARES THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME MORE THAN THAT PREVIOUS STATEMENT.

Growing up, I always had a vague notion of how my life was going to plan out. I was going to work in a creative business, most likely the film industry, and I was going to get famous in a B-list level way. Like Rick Moranis. The sort of way where only true fans will recognize you on the street and stop and say, "Oh my God, your film The Goldsteins Go To Canada changed my life!"

The how and the when and the where and the why to achieving this didn't really matter.

There was a point A and a point B and the logistics never even made an appearance in my thoughts.

So, when at the age of 20 I found myself on the fast track to Hollywood, I didn't question it.

I was a part of everything I ever dreamed of; driving to work past all the beautiful homes once owned by my idols such as Cary Grant and Charlie Chaplin, working on studio lots where "Six Feet Under", "Newsradio", and "Pee-Wee's Playhouse" were shot, working for people who I used to sit and stare att for hours and hours in front of the TV, eating dinner with Oscar winners, going to movie premieres, standing back stage at concerts, walking past the line at whatever club on Sunset Boulevard.

That is why it came as a surprise when I woke up one day five years later, realizing I was completely unhappy and lost. Though I wouldn't trade a second of my time in Los Angeles up until then, I had come to the realization that I had no idea where I was going. I got to the point A, but how was I working towards point B? Hell, I didn't even know what point B was anymore or if I even wanted it.

This awareness hit around the age of 25. A common age for the twenty-something to realize that maybe they don't like the industry they have a degree in, maybe they don't like the city they are living in, maybe it's time to unload that ball and chain they've been dating since college, and maybe it's time to make a change.

So like any normal 25 year-old going through a quarter-life crisis, I talked a lot about myself, I sat at home and cried while watching reruns of "X-files", I frequently shouted teen movie dialogue such as, "You just don't understand me!" to my parents, I realized I wanted to write, and I abandoned my life and moved to another city.

I planted my ass in Austin, Texas and to my surprise, I became happier.

I thought I found the answer to my twenty-something lament.

And then two year later, I woke up and realized I was right back to where I was before. The only difference was that I was older and sweating a lot in the cruel Texan sun.

So what was my answer this time?

Pick up and move to another city, of course.

It wasn't until my mother shouted for the 50th time said, "You just can't keep picking up and running away from your problems, Lauren. They'll always be there", that I stepped back and really thought about what was going on.

Though I will never admit this to her outside of my blog, my mother is right.

I keep running because I don't have a plan. I don't have a plan because I'm afraid that setting up long term goals will constrict me. Not having long term goals makes me feel lost. Feeling lost makes me whiny. No plan + no long term goals + lost feeling + whiny = stereotypical American...and I want none of it.

I sat down the other day to begin writing out my 1, 5, and 10 year life goals and boy, was it difficult. In fact, I'm home from work with something teetering on a migraine just trying to get through this post. Looking deep within yourself is not fun. Realizing that your life ultimately has an expiration date is not fun either.

But I'll be damned if I wake up one day at 40 asking myself, "How did I get here?"

Do you have a five or ten year plan?

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I adore food, but I would never call myself a foodie.
I don't dress myself up as a giant pickle spear and have sex with someone dressed as a slice of Swiss cheese.

Or is that a furry?

What is a person called who dresses up in food-related furry costumes?
A furdy?

I can just picture too sweaty and horny restaurant mascots eyeballing each other from across their respective street corners, ready to smack their pizza and submarine sandwich costumes against each other in the middle of the street. Then a giant taco comes out of nowhere and joins the fun and I'm standing there wondering how the hell I can join and....

What I mean is, that though I don't know the difference between where the brisket and the shank cuts are on a cow (though I should as it was one of the few items I recall being taught for my screenwriting degree at my overly-priced hippie college), it doesn't mean that I won't put it in my mouth.

And I watch a lot of Man Vs. Food. A lot.
If you know what I mean...

Food is a topic I've never written about on my blog. It's one of those subjects that is so obvious, yet so precious to me, I have difficulty finding the words to articulate how I feel about it. When writing reviews of food, I typically only have two comments, "(Insert food name) tastes good in here!" (points to stomach) or "(Insert food name) made me crap all night."

I'm not even sure I appreciate good food when I come across it. All I know is that I love all of it. Take for example, my favorite place to eat in Austin, Texas has a conveyor belt that rotates tiny plates of cheap sushi across my face. I've eaten everywhere from places owned by Ashton Kutcher (like that really means anything) to roadside diners in New Mexico, and there is absolutely no difference to me.

Other things I know about myself and my relationship to food are:

- I'm an only child therefore prone to not sharing my food. In fact, I've been known to hunker down and scowl when anyone asks for a bite of my food. There exists an infamous moment when my 10th grade "boyfriend" asked me for a bite of my pickle and I quickly exclaimed, "NO!" and pulled my pickle away and my mother yelled at me and then bought me a pickle ornament that Christmas to remind me of how selfish I am.

- The only time I will share food is when I no longer want it. Last weekend, sitting next to my ex, I instinctively turned to him and said, "Here! Eat the rest of my hot dog, will you?" He looked at me as though I was holding a steaming pile of shit. Maybe it should have been?

- I think about what I'm going to eat throughout the day the moment I wake up in the morning.

- I'm surprised that I don't weigh 700 pounds

- I've been complimented on my picturesque salad making abilities many times.

- My favorite food until the day I die is sourdough bread with butter and strawberry jam.

- That this post ended up being exactly what I thought it be: pointless and boring.

What is your absolute most favorite food?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

To My Fanny Pack

Dear Fanny Pack,

I'll never forget the moment when I first saw you.

There you were, shining like a golden beacon from the rafters of American Apparel; nestled in between a photo of someone's pubic hair and a shirtless factory worker riding a toy horse. The spotlight was centered on you, the LCD Soundsystem song was playing for you, every albino mannequin was pointing at you. In your shiny lamé glory you asserted, "Come to me Lauren. I am the one."

Others came before you, but I wasn't ready to accept their love then.

You came along at a time when I needed you most. I was downtrodden by heavy purses. You've made my life easier, more carefree. We go dancing and I don't have to worry about you. There you are, clutched to my hip like a babe suckling its mother's breast. My arms free to make a complete ass of myself as I dance alone, convinced that I'm the best Michael Jackson dancer this side of the Mississippi.

But I'm never alone when I'm with you, F- Pack.

You're always there for me. We go to the library and small kids point and laugh at us, and there you are, brazen and strong, never ashamed of our love. We go grocery shopping and there you are, ready to hand me cash for our nightly Boone's and greek yogurt. We go biking and there you are, ready to hand me Advil and the tiniest flask of water as I discover my knees are too weak to handle repetitive movement.

You are my legs, F to the Anny, P to the Ack.

I would go spelunking with you if we could. I mean, I guess we could? Do you want to go spelunking sometime, Fanny? Will you be my life spelunker?

Remember that time we both sat in our underwear and watched Purple Rain on loop over a three day weekend? You held my white cheddar Cheezits while I disapprovingly shook a snow-dipped cheesy finger at the screen every time Appolonia opened her mouth. That was fun, Fan-Pac-Man. I have so much fun with you!

And at the end of the day, Fa Pa, you are there to cuddle on my stomach as I drift off to a dreamland where sparkling outdated clothing accessories are accepted and appreciated.

I appreciate you, Fanny.

Fanny Pack, I don't know what I'd do without you. In the short time that we've known each other, you're already starting to show some wear and tear. Your glistening lamé cracking with the elements. Please don't leave me, FP . You're the only thing I've got! You and that bottle of Boone's.

Your One and Only Hip.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Mannequin Babies Love America

This weekend was Mommy and Skippy's big 4th of July shopping trip.
Skippy loves America.
She suggested to Mommy to show their American spirit by buying guns.
Mommy said ok.

Then Mommy and Skippy went clothes shopping to buy coordinating patriotic outfits.

But Skippy got a little excited with the gun and had an accident.

Mommy thought it was funny.

But in the end, everything was ok because Skippy is just a mannequin and Mommy went and had another drink.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The Day I Almost Produced the Next Pee-Wee Herman Movie

My apologies at how blatantly lame today's post is. My allergies are making me have the articulation and personality of a lamp right now...

As many of you probably read yesterday, it was announced that Judd Apatow is working with Paul Reubens on a new Pee-Wee Herman movie.

Everyone and their mother sent me the article because they know that in the evenings, I like to dress up as Pee-Wee and do the "Tequila" dance to an audience of stuffed animals. At 27, I've earned a lifelong legacy of being that girl who is obsessed with Pee-Wee Herman. I'm sure my mother is really proud.

This news came as both a delight and a disappointment to me.
You see, I could have produced that movie...

The Day I Almost Produced the Next Pee-Wee Movie

I met Paul Reubens at a movie premiere.
It was for a cheesy horror movie directed by David Arquette where an ax-wielding Ronald Reagan kills a bunch of stoners at a music festival.
My former boss, knowing how much I loved Pee-Wee, introduced me to Paul.
He was very shy and I don't think that particularly interested in speaking with me.
I almost threw up on him.
I told him that I was a huge fan and heard that he had two Pee-Wee screenplays that he was looking to make.
He said "yes".
I said "I work for a big producer and would you be interested in meeting him to discuss the movies?"
He said, "yes".
I almost threw up on him.
We took the picture below.
I went home and cried.

The next day, I hunted down David Arquette's assistant and asked for Paul's assistant's email.
I emailed Paul's assistant and we scheduled a time for Paul and my boss to meet.
She sent us Paul's two Pee-Wee scripts.
One was about the Playhouse and one was more like Pee-Wee's Big Adventure.
The Playhouse script read like an LSD trip gone bad. Do they ever go good?
The other script was cute and funny and made me fall even more in love with Pee-Wee.
"If that is even possible!" my therapist said the next day.

The day Paul came in I dressed up in overalls.
I thought Paul would find that endearing.
Paul and my boss met.
The meeting went well.
My boss told Paul I orchestrated the meeting and he shook my hand.
At least I think my boss told him that.
He freakin' better have told him that.

For about a day, my boss felt good about the project.
Then his foreign distributor told him that Pee-Wee has zero international appeal.
My boss, who has made very large budget, high-grossing films in the past, cares very much for pre-selling overseas territories.
I said, "But they have to love Pee-Wee in Japan!"
He said, "Even if they did, Japan is not a big market."
So with that, my boss dropped the subject like a hot potato.
I tried for months afterward to recharge his interest, but to no avail.
A year later I left Hollywood and moved to Austin, Texas
A year after that, Paul brought back the stage show of Pee-Wee's Playhouse and had a successful run.
Now he's making his friggin' movie.

And now my lifelong dream of making the next Pee-Wee Herman movie is not coming true...


I have a fucking huge head.