Tuesday, February 6, 2018

The Venice Diaries (1991)

First floor apartment on Elkgrove Circle

For two months in spring, 1991, I lived in Los Angeles. That’s it, that’s the longest I have ever lived anywhere that is not in Ohio. I was basically a squatter, sleeping on a couch in Venice. My best friend from college and his best friend from high school had an apartment on a cul-de-sac, and my best friend’s best friend was supposedly moving out soon and I’d take his room but I didn’t even last that long.

In spite of the fact that I never found a job, and in spite of the fact that I never made any new acquaintances, and in spite of the fact that I was only there, as I said, for two months, I managed to keep very busy. Early on I determined that if I was to survive, in a mental-health sense, I would not eat fast food, I would not drink before sunset, and I would not watch any television alone.

Thank goodness, this was before the internet.

Also, shortly after I arrived, a small cohort of Cleveland expats took to driving to the Santa Monica Mountains every single day at 6:30 AM to hike and run in the hills. After, those of us without regular work would get coffee at the Rose and spy on stars and other writers.

This is what I thought worth writing down.

April 5, 1991 Within an hour of moving into Rich and Adam's place I visited an L.A. emergency room after popping the nail off my left big toe in what can only be described as a freak domestic accident.

April 10, 1991 I spotted Christopher Mulkey from "Twin Peaks" at the Rose Cafe!

April 11, 1991 Apparently Chris Mulkey stops in at the Rose every morning.

April 17, 1991 I applied for work at three different places today; two restaurants and a strip mall bookstore.

April 19, 1991 We went to the apartment of some friend of Adam’s to watch the Holyfield vs. Foreman fight.

April 20, 1991 Betsy, Rich and I went to see "American Splendor" at Theatre Theater, starring Dan Castellaneta and Siobhan Fallon. Understudies went on for both Dan Castellaneta and Siobhan Fallon.

April 21, 1991 A couple of us went see "The Object of Desire." We’ve seen three movies this week and they all have that song by Enya.

April 22, 1991 Elvis Costello is going on tour, and we waited in line at Tower Records to get tickets for the show at the Wiltern on May 26th. Betsy convinced me to buy a half-dozen tickets, that we'll be able to convince more people to come with us.

April 23, 1991 I had a dinner date with a friend from high school at some chain Mexican restaurant.

April 25, 1991 I had a mad impulse to return home to visit my ex-girlfriend because I heard she was seeing someone else. I found round-trip tickets to Cleveland in the L.A. Times and bought them with cash from some guy in El Segundo.

April 27, 1991 Rich and I stalked a site where Aidan Quinn and Isabella Rossellini are making a movie. Quinn paced the parking lot, smoking constantly. He’s not very tall. Rossellini stayed in her trailer until it was time for the shoot, and then walked past us very fast.

April 28, 1991 We headed to the Third Street Promenade for a date with that same high school friend and her roommate. We met at a bar that only sells frozen alcoholic beverages, a “squishy” bar. After, we all went back to our apartment for a couple hours of small talk when I finally said, "Ok, it's late. If you're not staying we need to walk you back to your car.” We walked them back to their car.

May 8, 1991 One of Rich’s co-workers attends Santa Monica College and needed assistance with an in-class performance that takes place in a max museum. I stood in one place for 10 minutes, with a mask on my face, dressed as a Canadian Mountie, in a Mountie's hat and a wool Mountie coat, while she ran her hands over my motionless body. I sweat a lot and almost fell over.

May 11, 1991 Rich, Adam and I created a short film on video in which he prepared to ask a woman out on a date, only he really was asking a woman out on a date, someone he’s met at the local video store. Where the film went depended on whether she says yes or no. She said no, so the film ended with Rich taking off all of his clothes while walking down Fourth Street.

May 12, 1991 We discovered the porn flick, "Still the Brat," which is hysterical.

May 13, 1991 Pete works in a record store, and after work he brought over "Mighty Like A Rose" which will be released tomorrow. About four songs in I started to doze off.

May 14, 1991 We’re thinking of starting a newsletter to send to our friends back home called "Notes from L.A." I completed an article called "The Nowhere Generation," my first Gen X manifesto. I showed it to Rich but he says he doesn't see the point.

May 15, 1991 Tomorrow, Rich is supposed to take his final exam to be a server at T.G.I.Friday’s. Apparently, everyone cheats on the exam but he doesn’t think that’s right. Unfortunately, he doesn’t drink and doesn’t know or much care how different alcohols are different, which makes the drinks part of the test impossible.

May 16, 1991 Rich failed his final exam at T.G.I.Friday's.

May 17, 1991 We went out with some friends from Athens who came back to our place and wouldn’t leave. I have totally not gotten used to the time change and always feel like it’s three hours later than it actually is. Of course, I also got up at six o’clock this morning.

May 18, 1991 We went to this place at the beach for framed posters. Rich got Béatrice Dalle, I got Isabella Rossellini.

May 20, 1991 Rich and I moved furniture for Victoria Williams. She is a folk musician who was on Carson a few weeks ago, and Rich had met her when she last passed through Cleveland.

May 23, 1991 I stayed up late to watch “The Moderns” for the first time. I didn’t like it as much as I thought I was going to based on the soundtrack. In the morning I’m flying home to spend the weekend with my ex-girlfriend. I'm going to miss the Elvis show. No one wanted those extra tickets.

June 2, 1991 Back in L.A. Drew a nude portrait of my ex-girlfriend from memory. I think it's really good. Actually, we're dating again.

June 4, 1991 Rich and I are driving back home tomorrow. Tonight, Adam and I met Gary Marshall. He was hosting the final exam films of the Masters class in Film making at USC. Adam and I had a bet as to whether Penny Marshall was his sister or his daughter, and we walked with him to the parking garage asked him about it. I lost the bet.

SNL Oct. 8, 2016

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