Last week during a routine business trip to Vegas, I realized pretty fast that the particular trade show we were at was going to bomb worse than a recent M. Night Shyamalan flick. Sunday School the morning after prom had a higher attendance rate than what was present at this particular convention. Gary, my dad, has never been the type to stick around bored at a fruitless venture just to appease some faceless authority figure, so we packed the show up early and decided to head west the very next morning.
Plane ticket exchanged, friends in the area contacted. Three full days in La La Land was just what I needed to cure the Tulsa doldrums I’ve felt as of late. Don’t get me wrong—I love Tulsa, and my friends there are the shit. I’ll elaborate later, but point being, I was ready for an exciting weekend. Based on the wild anecdotes my friends living in El Lay have told me, I was pretty sure that’s what I was going to get.
How things work in Los Angeles…if you’re young and pretty.
After the four hour drive across the Mojave desert, my dad and I got lunch with my friend Chris who had just graduated from USC. Immediately after, he dropped me off at my friend Brooklyn’s apartment in West Hollywood. Brook and I have been friends for several years now. She moved to El Lay about a year ago.
So, new bars, clubs, and lounges are constantly opening, and they all are competing to become the next “it” place. Celebrities bring publicity to the venue, and publicity creates hype. Hype draws in rich people willing to drop a couple thousand dollars on bottle service, because of the prospect of hot girls and celebrities being there. This happens for a few weeks, and next thing you know, paparazzi are camped outside of the place hoping that Paris or Lindsey will accidentally flash their ladybits while wasted trying to get into their town cars. None of this will happen though if someone important is coaxed into going to the said venue and it’s dead.
To ensure that Liam and Miley (or some sleazy rich guy) don’t walk into an empty lounge, venues hire promoters (usually handsome working actors waiting for their big break) to help fill the place up with pretty and tipsy girls before the actual crowd shows up. Promoters organize a group of twelve to fifteen ladies (mostly models and aspiring actresses), take them all out to dinner, park them in a centralized area of the venue around 10:30, provide top-shelf bottle service for the pack, then sit back and let the night unfold. This happens every single night of the week. If you’re a pretty girl and “in” with the promoter crowd, you could literally get dinner, drinks, and VIP access to the newest and hottest clubs every single night of the week if you wanted. The promoters need the girls as much as the girls need them. Nice arrangement, huh?
My friend Brooklyn who models in L.A. is completely stunning and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and promoters all but beg on their hands and knees for her to come out with them. This is pretty much the only reason why anything exciting happened to me this weekend at all. Me, Brook, and my friend Alisa met up with my friends Max and Stu for dinner and planned to meet with the promoter pack before they hit the lounge. The promoter took us to a place called Vignette in West Hollywood that I guess was so new and hip it didn’t even need to have a sign outside. It’s a relatively small venue, but is lined with a catwalk and had a pretty cool DJ playing.
Man, bottle service is awesome. No waiting in line for a drink, no misplacing your credit card, and no creepers brushing up against you while you fumble to stuff your wallet back into your purse. Despite the raging party all around us, I sat on top of a booth most of the night and caught up with Alisa, while the waitress manning our table constantly refilled our glasses with Grey Goose and whatever mixture she had in her hand at that moment. At one point, Brody Jenner and his friends who I didn’t recognize occupied the table directly behind us, but unfortunately they didn’t really do anything noteworthy. Around 1:30, a parade of waitresses waving sparklers in the air brought several bottles of Veuve Clicquot to the tables in our area. One of the promoters gave an entire bottle of the champagne (AT LEAST $500 at this place) to me, Brooklyn, and Alisa to split between us. The rest of that night wasn’t particularly memorable, but let me tell you—the hangover I fought the next day was something that I definitely won’t forget any time soon.
Russell Westbrook and the Bon Jovi midget cover band.
Brooklyn raved all weekend about some place called Beacher’s Madhouse at the bottom of the Roosevelt Hotel. I caught the tail end of the Notre Dame game with my friends Alex and Jack, and ended up hanging out with them later than I planned so Brook and I didn’t get to Beacher’s until after her promoter friend already escorted his army of lithe models inside. While waiting for him to come out and retrieve us, Brook and I decided to just wait in line, on the off chance that we would filter in before the promoter made it outside. And about 10 minutes later, I saw him.
Russell Westbrook very casually strolled out of Beachers, fist bumped all of the bouncers, and began walking past the entrance with some older looking people (maybe his parents?). I quietly gasped and pointed him out to Brooklyn, and glanced around at the girls nearby me in attempts to exchange knowing glances or maybe a subtle high five.
NO ONE IN LINE EVEN NOTICED HIM.
Here I am, stuck like a peasant waiting in line, one of the greatest basketball players in the league right now strolls past us, and not one of the skanky idiots I was surrounded by even looked up from their iPhones. I, on the other hand, was a blushing hyperventilating freak show. Because I was the only person staring at Russell like a crazy person, he pauses directly in front of me and throws me a “Hey what’s up?” Why is no one around me freaking out and seething with jealousy! Russ is talking to me! We are in the presence of greatness! I stammered back some sort of greeting and found out he’s just running upstairs and will be right back. Then I fainted and was rushed to the emergency room. Just kidding.
What actually happened is five minutes later, Derek and Julianne Hough strolled right up to the entrance and all of the skanks surrounding me in line shriek and start snapping Instagram photos of those two clowns. There was a fleeting moment when I considered that maybe they all recognized Russell Westbrook, but just tried to act blasé and cool about it because that’s the L.A. thing to do. Apparently that wasn’t the case. They genuinely just didn’t realize that Russell Westbrook was Russell Westbrook.
I couldn’t be happier when Brook’s promoter friend finally appeared, scooped us out of the line, and told the bouncer to let us in. He told us that some Saudi Arabian prince was picking up the tab for the VIP section he was taking us to. And yes, I realize how ridiculous and contrived that sounds. The prince purchased bottles of probably every kind of expensive liquor that rappers like to rhyme about, plus six or seven bottles of Cristal. That’s what I call wiggity wack my friends.
Brooklyn told me that Beacher’s Madhouse was crazy and that I would love it. In actuality, no verbal description could ever do this place justice. I felt like I was at one of Michael Alig’s club kid parties. The venue was on the smaller side, maybe a maximum of 200 people could fit in this place at once, and set up like a dinner theater. Midgets and strung-out model types in 90’s garb danced and chain smoked cigarettes on tables. Sesame Street mascot characters bobbed around the venue, taking pictures and downing shots with partygoers. Every twenty minutes or so, an “act” would perform onstage. I watched a lady with watermelon sized (and shaped) boobs karate chop a board by slamming one of her boobs on to it Mr. Miyagi style. A midget rapped a Kanye West song, a transvestite sang a Chaka Khan song, and a trio of cute girls did some sort of jazzercise routine. I thought the Max and Barcadia was cool, with the skeeball and life-sized Jenga. This place takes drunken entertainment to a whole new level.
It was right about time when a full midget rock band playing a Bon Jovi cover that I noticed Russ was not only back in the venue, but in our oh-so exclusive roped off portion of Beachers speaking with said Persian prince. He walked up and stoodthisclosetome, probably to get a better view of the stage. Why are none of the models and famewhores I’m surrounded trying to talk to Russell Westbrook?! I introduced myself and mentioned meeting him a time or two at Rok bar before—the perfect ice breaker! Just as I was about to tell him how gorgeous our babies would be, a guitar-playing midget with an impressive mullet suspended in the air by a harness whipped across the room on a zipline. Before I even had time to wipe the champagne off my dress and Russ’s shirt that I had accidentally tossed in the air in fear, the midget flew back across the zipline, discombobulating the scene once again.
It’s not many people who can say that their shot at true love with an NBA star was spoiled by an airborne midget.
I guess after that little uh, scene, Russ had enough of the place and left—but not before saying goodbye to Brooklyn and I. I’d like to act like it was a big deal, except we were the only people in the VIP section aside from the Prince of Persia talking to Russ. I’m still so bewildered by the fact that no one recognized him. Seriously you guys, this tiny exchange left me with enough excitement to last me for months. I was literally trembling like a fool in Russell’s presence. Imagine what will become of me if I ever get to meet Nick Collison. Lord help us all.
Michael Bay’s house.
Brook and I went to use the restroom right after Russell left, and on our way back to our area a very attractive silver fox stopped her to chat. He hung out with us (well, her) a large part of the rest of the night, and invited us to a after party at his “director friend Michael’s who just lives up the road in Bel Air.” The friendly bouncers told us when we were outside earlier that Michael Bay was in the house. I recognized him when I walked by their table, but was still on too much of a high from meeting RussWest to bother staring or making a fool out of myself again. But Brooklyn seemed to enjoy talking to SilverFox, and HELLO it’s a freaking party at Michael Bay’s house, obviously we had to go see if any of his electronics could talk or if anything would spontaneously explode while we were there.
Well, we drive to his mansion and it’s not a party at all. It’s just me, Brook, SilverFox, and Michael Bay. His pony-sized bullmastiff greeted us at the door and SilverFox popped open some more champagne. After about ten minutes of small talk, another one of their friends arrives with the sluttiest looking girl I’ve ever seen on his arm. Seriously, this chick looked like Aubrey O’Day after a weeklong bender. I think you could have caught something permanent just by sitting too close to her. Brooklyn and SilverFox went outside to chat, and I just about had a minor panic attack—I mean, how do you talk to Michael Bay about movies without sounding like a total assclown?
Well, it turned out to be really, really easy. Michael Bay was extremely down to earth and easy to talk to. I’ve read the stories and rumors about him being a misogynistic sleaze that gets girls sleep with him on movie sets in exchange for screen time on Perez Hilton before, but after chatting with the guy for a couple hours, I find this pretty hard to believe. Maybe that just means he thought I was really unattractive. But Michael Bay was probably the most affable person I met in Hollywood that entire weekend. Honestly, you would have no idea that he was the mind behind some of Hollywood’s biggest financial successes because he was just so normal. In a good way!
His friend finally asked him what projects he was working on, and I knew that was my one opportunity to pick his brain a bit about film. I’m a total movie geek, but what could I possibly say or ask one of the most popular directors of our era that didn’t make me sound like an idiot or sycophant? I finally grew a pair and ask him how he felt about that Academy changing the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten. This launched a pretty lengthy conversation about the Oscars and the whole voting process (he is a voting member), which would probably be kind of boring to a casual movie fan, but I will probably remember every single detail of that conversation for rest of my foreseeable life. I’m a cinephile, hear me roar, and I got to discuss the industry with one of the most successful directors of the last two decades.
My life might have peaked just then.
The only annoying thing about the whole night was the shit said by that dumb Aubrey O’Day look-alike Michael’s friend brought over. Every now and then she’d interrupt the conversation to inject some of her asinine whore babble. Here’s a few of her interesting gems I remember:
- I’m so glad you’re getting rid of Shia LaDouche for Transformers 4. No one likes to see movies he’s in. If you like Disney stars, Zac Efron would be awesome!
- Europe is dirty and disgusting and no one speaks English there. You couldn’t pay me to live there, everything is so old and gross and people there are poor.
- Ahhh!!!! I bet you’re so proud of that MTV Movie Award! Can I take a picture with it?
- Russell Westbrook wasn’t at Beacher’s tonight! I would have known if he was, I’m a huge Heat fan.
Maybe I should be thankful that the only other chick in the room was such an unrelenting bag of garbage—it had to have made me look awesome.
Sunday Everyday Funday.
We got back around 5:00 am that morning, and had plans to watch my friends Alex and Jack surf at 10:00. I pretty much fell asleep the minute I got horizontal. This resulted in a really awesome sunburn covering the entire back half of my body. “Crimson and cream” just took on a whole new meaning. It hurts to walk, shower, and lay down in any and all positions. People will point and laugh if they see me in a pair of shorts this week. My guy friends covered their faces in zinc oxide, which I thought was goofy in a completely adorable way. Now, I realize that they weren’t just trying to look cool in the pictures I took of them. They legitimately need to guard their face from the deceptively harsh sun with diaper rash cream.
That night, Brook and I went to visit my friend Magen at some producer’s house in the Hollywood Hills. I would go into detail about the killer view, homemade ice cream, and army of pugs, but even thinking about it exhausts me. Staying out until dawn then waking up a few hours later to go to the beach was pretty extreme for a homebody like me.
Before this weekend, I didn’t totally get the LA thing. Yeah, it’d be awesome to be an actress or a reality star. It’s be so much fun to hang out with BJ Novak and invent jokes for a living. I think it’d be pretty sick to date a celebrity and go to red carpet events. But to give up my disposable income, large apartment, and ability to cross town in under twenty minutes for the slight chance of hitting it big just didn’t seem worth it.
After visiting, I get it. It’s not just about becoming famous. It’s about the excitement, and a completely different way of approaching life. Some people would say my friends are crazy for having college degrees from awesome schools but delivering pizzas or working in retail while auditioning or sending out spec scripts. But you know—every single one of my friends living in LA loves it. I mean, isn’t the point of working hard and making money so you can travel to paradise and do exciting things during your life? Well, if you live in paradise and naturally do exciting things every single day of your life how much happier will more money actually make you? Your marginal utility is already maxed out.
My friends and my life and my job in Tulsa couldn’t get any better, and I sincerely mean that. I do miss general excitement though. Back in college, it was always “who will I meet tonight?” or “what kind of adventure will happen this weekend?” I hang out with the exact same people and go to the exact same places every single weekend in Tulsa. I haven’t met anyone new in Tulsa in literally six months. I miss the “wonder” aspect of college a lot, and I certainly got a giant taste of it this weekend in Los Angeles. It kind of sucks to be reminded of what you’re missing out on.
I’m insanely jealous of my friends who get to live their lives in one of the most exciting cities in the entire world. But I feel pretty lucky that I got a taste of why they all love Los Angeles so much.