Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Back To The Future

Hollywood, USA. April 1996

I am on top of the world. As I blogged before, I have my insanely cushy job at SONY, working Special Events on the old MGM lot. I am making more money than I had ever made in my whole life. I had access to awesome swag (Mary Rielly nightshirt, anyone?) and I was able to get my long suffering friends into glamorous movie premieres featuring big stars (Peter Weller! Neve Campbell! Ricki Lake!). And yet, all of my wildest dreams coming true didn't make me the least bit happy. If anything, it just made me more sad. And then, after only nine months of glitz and excitement, I was unemployed again, a combination of my own lack of ambition and a boss hopped up on Phen-Fen. What followed was a manic-depressive summer of highs (sex with Mitch) and lows (a string of low paying crap temp jobs), yet a collision-course that sent me careening into the career I have today. Subsequent years of intense alcohol abuse would normally be enough to wipe it all away, but now it comes flooding back like Christina Applegate's memories on Samantha Who? thanks to my good friend Paul Horne's retro blog: The Horneblower.

Holed up for two months in a string of world class spas in Thailand with nothing better to do than dredge up the past and report on the seedy present, Paul has finally put his creativity and vast tech savvy to good use. I highly recommend his current and past blog, although for me, the joy and the heartache are all in the past. Things begin with a bang in the premiere issue with our attendance at the Sharon Stone naked Oscar bid "Last Dance" which Paul describes as "In a nutshell: Sharon Stone/Death Row/Made-for-TV Movie. I could barely hear the film over Derek's snoring, but from the wisp of a plot I could find, you could cut the tension with a gossamer thread. I did think the anguish of the death penalty debate was effectively "fleshed out" when a prime witness--who happened to be a stripper--could only answer questions while gyrating in pasties over Rob Morrow. " It was not however "our movie" (studio speak for a film we had made). I had met Jeff Hare a few weeks earlier. We were both publicists at studios (I at Columbia-TriStar, he at Disney) so we agreed to swap movie premiere invites. He sent us off to "Last Dance" at the Director's Guild and I think I was able to return the favor once before I got shit canned three weeks later. I don't remember sleeping through the movie but pretty much everything else, from Faye Dunaway alphabetizing the candy to Sharon Stone's death stares on our way out, feels completely accurate.

As I leaf through his blog, I can feel the countdown to my demise at SONY. The following week, we are at the premiere of "The Craft," my last movie at the studio, and I was once again talent escorting, this time at the VH-1 Honors. Although as I recall, I got there late or they didn't have an assignment for me or something because I have no recollection of the event outside of waiting behind the Universal Amphitheater for a shuttle bus. See! The alcohol is working! Just so long as I never decide to write a memoir. I click the link to week three and bam!, I am already unemployed.

Paul makes no mention of it but when I see his movie review for Twister "Ooooh... windy. If you can't see it now on a big screen with a big audience and surround sound, then wait for the ride at Universal." I know exactly what week it is. I am fired but don't care because I have tons of money saved up and in severance, and I have just reconnected with Mitch. Our fateful meeting for coffee at The Abbey (remember when they used to serve coffee) turned quickly into five solid hours of sweaty sex in his apartment. I could have stayed all night, but in those pre-Moviefone days, my unemployed ass had agreed to buy everyone's tickets that morning at the Chinese Theater and everyone's Friday night fun at the opening night of Twister was sitting in my shoe on the floor.

However, I don't dwell on what happened to my life for long because I am quickly drawn into Paul's classic, brilliant stories including "You Can't Throw It Away -- It's A Cookie" (scroll down). But he really hit his stride with "Cafe Gal." The Horneblower led to an extremely brief stint as a columnist, writing "Enough About You" for Detour until the magazine folded (though not before his brilliant first column Starbuckers appeared). Then undaunted by the failure of Detour he went and launched his own magazine HERO.

It is fun to look back on it all now. The cutting edge technology of it all. Email newsletters! Cellular phones! My own AOL Keyword! Janeane Garofalo, movie star! I can't regret anything that happened there because it all set in motion the life I have today. Paul is back writing, and the technology has improved quite a bit since then. Now its RSS feeds instead of emails, blogs instead of newsletters. I am still friends with Jeff Hare, who left Disney for Warner Bros., but never did invite me back to another premiere. And I still have my Mary Rielly nightshirt. I kept it all these years and for a reason that didn't even exist back in April 1996.


1 comment:

eric said...

omg. a billion years ago.