The paint speckled cordless phone given to my ex-girlfriend by an all too admiring stage manager beeped only twice. “What are you wearing?” a familiar Italian accent demanded.
“Excuse me?” I answered my favorite female friend.
“Oh, it’s just something Ric asked me a second ago and I thought it would surprise you out of whatever stupor you’re probably in.”
I’m an actor. Between roles currently. Actually, you probably wouldn’t recognize me unless you’ve been part of the small, but avid, audience at the Met Theater in Hollywood. Don’t hate me because I’ve been living in the biggest media necropolis of the world – the one that incessantly spews forth twenty-four hours a day on small and large screens both inside and outside of your own living room, bedroom and/or kitchen. People have too many TV’s and it’s mostly their own fault for letting themselves get addicted to them. Okay, the movie industry is equally self-absorbed, sorted and engineered for programming of multi-plexed and illiterate masses, so in general the technology behind all our media has a fierce, usually numbing, often addictive effect on our brains. But when faced with the onslaught of media technology, I believe in viewer responsibility. The entertainment geniuses in L.A. and the ad execs on Madison Avenue breed expectations into their audiences. People just need to take responsibility for their own expectations.
I’m just an actor. A pawn like Bobo. What else can I believe?
Information is not necessarily knowledge, but who knew? Viewer responsibility, man. Viewer responsibility.
If I ever make it big, my scrambled egg thoughts might someday get censored by unseen network moles, but I’ve been lucky enough to do some uncensored work recently and that’s what I think this story in really about.
A month ago I was outside my Curson Avenue apartment. It’s a humble but clean quad-plex in a residential and convenient area off Melrose, near shopping and freeways – in other words, basic L.A. I was working on my truck, as usual. It was early August – a warm, sunny, regular Tuesday without much of a breeze. It was a good day for a casting agent to call because none had in so long.
When the phone did start beeping out there on my not so quiet residential street, I was shocked for a moment, mostly because the sound blended so nicely with some reggae, a passing car and a more bell-oriented phone ringing in someone else’s apartment. Parallel serendipity. A block away, long, beautiful legs were striding towards me with a big, woolly shepherd skipping alongside her. I had just given directions to a one man khaki campaign looking for an apartment to rent. The city, as usual, buzzed around me as I stood almost perfectly still.
“So what are you wearing and what took you so long to answer?” the Raven asked again. “Really.”
“Hollywood standard issue – jeans and a t-shirt,” I laughed.
The Raven was my best friend and also one of the women permanently engraved on my mind – along with Amy, of course, whom I stopped seeing ninety-seven days ago. Amy was my girlfriend for four years and one of the Raven’s best friends for the last three. We met doing stage work, so we’re all moody, poetic and obsessed with our feelings – not unlike all the hyper-media sensitized audiences I just ragged on and we sometimes strive to entertain.
The Raven and I get sincerely confused sometimes and basically seem to enjoy keeping it that way. Chaos can be comforting.
Unfortunately, she has this lawyer boyfriend, Ric, who acts like we’re great buddies every time we see each other and apparently has caught on yet that I loathe him. If he wasn’t out-of-town two weeks a month I’d have to see a lot more of him, or a lot less of her. Either way might alleviate some of my anxieties. But being stuck in the middle is what I do best.
“I’m outside, just enjoying life.”
“I bet,” she scoffed. “I bet there’s a girl, or a beer nearby making you say that.”
“Maybe both.” It was a rare chance to be mysterious with the Raven, at least for a moment. She knew me too well, which often fed a nervous, highly vulnerable feeling deep in my gut. She possessed me like voodoo sometimes and I couldn’t hide from her like she could hide from me.
I should have known things would get weird eventually, Ric, or no Ric.
“How’d you like a job?” she suddenly burst.
“A job?” I asked, picturing the stub of my latest unemployment check after a too short tenure as a research assistant at Fox. “What kind of job? A part?”
The Raven’s real name is Dianne Del’amicio, but I call her the Raven partly because of her thick, glossy black, shoulder length mane. Unlike some people who know her, I think she’s level-headed, yet passionate; gorgeous, yet friendly – especially for an Italian educated teen model-turned actress. Some people, some guys especially, say she’s sort of fat and rather self-centered. I guess we all get mixed reviews, but, to me she always seems to know what she wants, she listens and learns what other people want too. That’s pretty cool because it’s pretty rare.
< tired of typing. more to come>