my friend and future business partner, celeste, was an assistant to one of the producers on forest whitaker's new movie
, which just finished shooting. celeste got me into the wrap party, which was held last night at the roosevelt hotel. i'm familiar with the roosevelt only because my previous boss bought out all the rooms around the swimming pool for his birthday party weekend and then called me from said party drunk and high to tell me how much he loved me.
so, i was looking forward to seeing this poolside area. also i was pretty excited to be hobnobbing with a-listers, and maybe get a taste of what it feels like to be one of them. the night was warm, palm trees pointed to the stars, we all looked like superstars, the bar was open, gourmet food was passed around, and life was good. and "there's justin timberlake, just over there, sitting at that couch, no joe, that couch over there, chatting with the group of people who came in just behind us. he's dating jessica biel, don't you know? she's in the movie too. that why he's here."
and i thought, how does this happen? where does all this money come from? how is this life possible? how the hell did these people get here? how do i get to do what they do? is there a future in which a party like this is held for a movie that i direct?
and i'm introduced to people and i tell them what i do, and i think i'm almost convincing in my new attempts to not sound apologetic when i say it. and i ask what they do, and they say things like 'i was the second second.' and there's two ways i can respond to something like that: i can either maintain the illusion that i "belong amongst them," nod my head enthusiastically and say "wow! what a great opportunity for you, that's fantastic," or i can be open and honest, and reveal that i'm a complete idiot newbie in this world by admitting that i have no clue what a "second second
i chose option a. it maintained an illusion, sure, but it removed the possibility of having any real conversation, hindered genuine connection, and kept me from learning something new, something that might help me find answers to the myriad questions floating through my mind as i stared over at the beautiful people silhouetted by pool-light. i would pay the karmic price for this transgression later.
i met celeste's friend derek, who starred in the film 'boy culture,' which was directed by allan brocka, who i admire greatly and who's career i hope to emulate. "i should say something," i thought, "i should use my knowledge of his work to try and make some real connection." i couldn't muster the courage. i'm a quiet guy by default. fighting that impulse usually pays off, but it takes considerable effort and i'm physically tired by the end of it.
as the party wound down, it shifted from an exclusive gathering of creatives to an assault of manufactured breasts, loosely draped in synthetic fabric. ah, the other side of hollywood was encroaching, and it was time to leave.
i stood next to a group of tan breasts and legs, all waiting for the valet to pull up with our cars. lexus after lexus, luxury sports car after luxury suv. i had tried on every shirt in my closet before settling on this outfit, and none of it would matter when the most crucial piece of my los angeles wardrobe would reveal everything about me. the valet sheepishly pulled my car in, over to the side, as if already apologizing to the waiting crowd. there was laughter from the boobs, and an exclamation from a guy inside the boob cluster: "who valeted that piece of shit
and that was my moment to step from the crowd and claim little r2d2, as my
piece of shit. justin, my old boss, bought a new car every 2 months, and now i see why. to him, it was as much an accessory as shoes. it had to be current, and it had to look good puling up in front of everyone, post-party. i drove off, thankful to have had a little taste of the future, with an extra helping of humility.