10:40 am - Mon 6/30/03
Michael Madsen was at the bookstore recently, to do a reading from his latest book of poetry, A Blessing Of The Hounds (If you don't recognize the name, he was "Mr Blonde" in Reservoir Dogs. He was also in Thelma & Louise, Free Willy, and Donnie Brasco).
The reading was Friday at 7:30. He came in, wearing shades and a tough-guy attitude, publicist and entourage in tow. He obviously wanted to project an aura of cool indifference, which of course just made him seem supremely silly (As a result, the people at the bookstore have been goofing on him and his "poetry" for the past two days).
I didn't meet him. I didn't even bother trying to catch a little of his reading when the time came (Which was upstairs, in front of the music area). The closest I got to him was passing him on the stairs at one point, and it was obvious from his demeanor that he didn't want to be approached (Besides, he hasn't done anything that's meant anything to me since Reservoir Dogs, and I guessed–Correctly, it turns out, from reading one of his "poems" afterwards–that he might be a little sensitive about being "Mr Blonde" the rest of his life. But what else was I going to say to him–"I really liked it when you freed Willy"?).
Capping off the general aura of silliness and pretension was the fact that his "poetry" is god-awful. It doesn't really read as "poetry" at all, but rather, very short journal entries by a guy who's not particularly bright or insightful, but wishes he were.
(My "favorite" was one called "Balls", which is–I kid you not--an ode to testicles. I was also partial to one I think called "Starsky and Hutch", which suggests that "Starsky" was "cooler" because "Hutch" was "too emotional". And my friends, if that doesn't change your view of yourself and the world you live in, I don't know what will...).
During the evening, Marie and my coworkers who weren't "on duty" were having a "going away" party for her at a nearby bar/restaurant.
(The ironic part is that Marie doesn't seem to be actually going away; Since her last day, she's been back at the bookstore four or five times. The performer in me doesn't really approve–You don't blow "the big exit" by popping back in over and over–but it's actually kind of sad and sweet; Obviously, she doesn't want to leave.)
Marie kept calling the store, bugging Tim G., the service manager on duty, to make sure we all of us who were working came out afterwards.
Nobody who was working seemed particularly interested in going out–Tim and Pat don't drink, and I'm not much of a drinker myself anymore–but at closing time Marie came to the bookstore with some of my inebriated coworkers, coercing the rest of us to come out (Most of the crew opted out, but Tim and I went along, putting my bike in the back of his truck).
We went to a nearby bar called St Nicks, where Marie was buying rounds for everyone (I had two beers).
Beyond the horrifying/fascinating sight of Marie and John C. doing Tequila shots "the fun way" (licking the salt off each others hands, and sucking the lime wedge from each others mouths), the highlight of this hit-and-miss evening was talking to Lori V for a time; As we talked, it struck me once again that I am seriously attracted to her, more so than anyone else I've met here in LA.
At evening's end, as we made our way out, John C. came up to me and said "Did you see Eliza Dushku?" (For the uninitiated, she was "Faith" on Buffy the Vampire Slayer); She was sitting at a table to the left of the door with a male companion, and as news of the sighting travelled back through our little band of drunken bookstore clerks, we became this conga line of people gawking at the celebrity.
I felt kind of stupid.
(Ms Dushku, for her part, noticed us looking, then went back to her conversation. So again, as with Mr Madsen, I felt the best course of action was to just keep on walking.)
I'm generally just not comfortable with the whole "celebrity" thing. Whatever I do or don't do when seeing a celeb, whether I approach and say something or just walk on by, I always feel awkward about it (Though my last celebrity sighting at the bookstore–Joey Lauren Adams, who played the title role in Chasing Amy–went very well; I waited on her at the register, and she was very gracious when I told her how much I'd enjoyed the movie).
You know what I think my big "issue" with it is? I don't want to be me in that situation; I want to be them.
And speaking of awkward, uncomfortable situations...
A week or so ago, I asked one of my coworkers out–Mandy, who just started working at the store a couple weeks ago.
She's a little too young (27), and a little too pretty for the likes of me (Okay, maybe a lot too pretty. I just don't know anymore), but we seemed to hit it off right at the start. And when she mentioned liking, in rapid succession, Buffy, Six Feet Under, and Walter Hill films (He's the director of The Warriors, 48 Hours, and Southern Comfort, amongst others), I remember thinking to myself, "This is maybe the coolest girl ever...".
(I knew about the "pretty" part right off, but I wasn't sure about her age intially; She's friends with Neal and Lori, so I was hoping that meant she was older than she looked, because Lori's in at least her mid-to-late 30's.)
So...one night at closing time, she asked me if I could meet up with her where she parked, and walk her from there to her house.
What can I say? "Hope springing eternal" like it does, I actually entertained the thought/fantasy that this was an "overture" of some sort, though I was also telling myself, "Don't be an idiot, Jim...".
But I couldn't help myself, couldn't stop myself; I bumbled and stammered and fumbled and yammered, and somehow choked out asking her for a date.
As I told Lauren after the fact, she looked at me like I was a very nice guy...who had just pulled a knife on her.
It was a little depressing.
Okay, it was a lot depressing. But life goes on.
But I'm never going to ask another woman out again. I think, at this point, I've had enough.
I haven't had any commercial auditions since the HBO shoot. And I didn't get the WB thing (However, someone else from JS did. I have to admit, it annoyed me when I read that in JS's latest email newsletter).
It's been disappointing, since I wanted to take advantage of the "momentum" I was feeling, but that's just the nature of things. Besides, if there's going to be any "momentum" from the HBO thing, it's not likely to happen until the commercial actually airs, anyway.
I don't think it's a coincidence that the month I booked the HBO commercial has been the same month I've sent out the fewest headshots so far this year (I've sent out six, when I'm supposed to send out a minimum of 10).
It's hard not to take "the path of least resistance" here. Yes, I would like to do theatre, and I would love to be cast in a movie or tv show, but those things aren't happening (I can't recall the last time I got a response to a headshot I've sent out. And all my theatre experiences so far have been, in large part, disappointing and/or actively unpleasant). But I can't stop looking at these things, exploring those avenues, even if they've been pretty fruitless so far; Commercials may be "my way in", but on the other hand, they may not. I probably shouldn't be putting all my eggs in that basket, even though it's tremendously compelling right now (Who else is offering to pay me to act?)
One thing I can do now, because I have at least something of a "hook", is to start sending headshots out to theatrical agents. I don't know if they're going to be dazzled by it or not, but it seems to me that the number of callbacks I've gotten, the "on avail" for Yahoo, and the HBO thing, all within the space of about 40 auditions, says something that an agent might respond to.
Let's hope so, anyway.
Well, I'm going to lie down for a bit, then hopefully get up refreshed, and ready to do laundry, and get a couple headshots out to agents (I'm telling myself that if I get four or five headshots out to agents today, I can count that as my "headshot quota" for the month.
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