I left Madison with a heavy, though happy heart. My time with the Beautiful Boy had been even better than before. We’d talked about everything under the sun, once again, and found that we agreed where it mattered and gave each other a bit of a go when it didn’t. It was bittersweet to set off on my Californian adventure. Knowing we’d meet in Las Vegas in just 10 days helped a lot!
I met Lala on the Marina Del Rey; I was driving a huge ass rental car. I’d wanted something small and nippy but apparently they don’t do small and nippy in LA rental agencies. Driving in the US was a hugely intimidating mission; we drive on the left side of the road in SA! And I didn’t know LA, and I didn’t have a GPS system. With trepidation we started off on our urban escapade.
Now I have to explain that I’m not a celebrity fan. I don’t buy or read tabloids. I follow red carpet sites and watch awards ceremonies for the fashion. I do however devour movies and seem to accumulate useless general knowledge like a thirsty sponge. So I know names and faces, and would be able to spot a famous mug or two. Thus I ask forgiveness for the shameless namedropping to follow.
Being in LA you simply cannot get away from it.
The Hollywood dream.
The players, the rookies, the professionals, the mavericks; they’re all there. Constantly hustling, persistently operating to get in, get a better deal, get further. Your waiter is never just a waiter; he’s a frustrated actor. Your maitre d’ is a scriptwriter, your beauty therapist is a production assistant and your valet attendant is a stuntman. I was almost inspired to revive my teenage dream of becoming a movie star, the air there seems so loaded with magic and possibility. I’m sure though, that if you stay long enough in this delusional Lalaland, you start to recognise that the magic and possibility is actually just smog, faded dreams and endless disappointment in fancy dress.
Regardless of my anti-celebrity attitude, Lala and I experienced an incredibly star studded week. We were staying with my adorable Model friend and her Famous Comedian boyfriend in Venice Beach. The first night there, we were invited to the opening of Robert Graham’s sculpture exhibition (he is Anjelica Huston’s husband) where we met La Anjelica, Owen Wilson, Kyle MacLachlan and the mayor of LA. Owen was very sweet, and tried hard to make comfortable small-talk, saying he’d heard there’s good surf in SA and that he’d have to come check it out. I just nodded goofily and said: “Yeah, you should”. I mean, here is this guy who doesn’t know me from Adam, yet I know exactly who he is and that just the previous week he’d allegedly tried to commit suicide over Kate Hudson! He was there with his mother, who came over all protective when she noticed her boy chatting to us. Did we look like Kate wannabes?
Brooke Shields was in the background, kids draped around her like this season’s must-have It-bag and Kelly Lynch lurked around looking thin, glam and twenty years younger than she should. We were guests of Jeremy Railton, a supremely talented and wonderfully warm-hearted art director and production designer who happens to be a lifelong friend of Lala’s Mom. I’d have to spend a whole post on this guy’s interesting life and amazing career; he’s worked with everyone and done everything! His latest project was designing Cher’s Vegas show. Not bad for a boy from Zimbabwe.
We spent a day on Ocean Front Walk and the beach, explored the delightful shops on Abbot Kinney Rd, watched the taping of a “Notes from the underbelly” episode at Warner Bros studios, had some laughs at the world-famous Comedy Store, met Jeremy Piven over coffee in Santa Monica and lunched at Moonshadows on the Malibu cliffs. Here I had the best meal of my entire life, bar none. A tuna burger so fresh, the combined flavours so perfectly balanced, argh, I have to go back there!
We also spent a night with my ridiculously beautiful Actress friend in her West Hollywood apartment. Actress has had a recurring part in a popular US sitcom and at 25 is still very much in the running to catch a big break. I really hope she does. Model and Actress took us out to the uber-trendy Green Door restaurant/bar/club. The place was stunning and packed with gorgeous people; sadly you’re not allowed to take any pictures. For the record, I wasn’t stalking, just innocently trying to get a photo of us four girls.
The next morning Actress’ friend Bond Girl popped in and yes, she has actually been a minor Bond Girl in a Bond Film. Blew my mind. As we strolled along Hollywood Boulevard, I was asked to quickly play a small part in a student production filming right there. Only in Hollywood, right? We checked out Mann’s Chinese Theatre on the walk of fame and I got a picture of Charlize Theron’s star, the Hollywood sign and one with me and “Johnny Depp” as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Overall, LA was a blast. A crazy, manic, head-spinning trip that still seems like fiction when I think back. Everything happened at the speed of light. We were out and about every day and night, sleeping fitfully for only a couple of hours on Model’s couches while her whole house was being packed up to move! It didn’t help that I had a terrible cold at the time and the driving freaked me out completely. Luckily, by the Friday, I handed the rental monster back at the airport and dear Jeremy swept Model, Actress, Lala and me away to an anti-LA weekend at his ranch in Three Rivers, California.