What Vincent Gallo Taught Me About Life

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“Amber. Amber. AMBER. Doesn’t this guy look like Luke? HEY, DUDE. YEAH, YOU. YOU REMIND ME OF OUR FRIEND LUKE. LIKE SAME FACE. EVERYTHING.”

I am twenty years old, still using the fake ID that my high school boyfriend’s best friend stole from the apartment building his dad owned and he worked in, a girl with an upturned pug nose and a short haircut who looks nothing like me, who looks nothing like my cousins or my cousins’ cousins or anyone remotely within my German/Dutch/Aussie/Brit gene pool. Bouncers laugh at me. Bartenders still serve me. I think this is the very definition of a fake ID. Amber, older and wiser and using an ID that’s actually her own, is snickering into a whisky soda. “Yeah, he totally looks like Luke.”

Continue reading on The Style Con.

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Field Trip: “An Open Letter to Jennifer Lawrence’s Head” on The Style Con

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The following is an excerpt from “An Open Letter to Jennifer Lawrence’s Head,” now on The Style Con. 

It started slowly, a snip here, a snip there. Beachy blonde waves crept northward into pseudo-bob territory, gradually, insidiously, sneakily acclimating you to change. “Nothing to see here, people,” it said. “Move along.” And so we did, without question or criticism, distrust or suspicion. Until all of a sudden — BAM! — it’s all Rosemary’s goddamn Baby in this piece!

Jennifer Lawrence, what did you do?!

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Lady Clever Field Trip…

 

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Check out my latest piece on Lady Clever, “Cory Monteith and the Celebrity Twitter Outreach Program.” Excerpt below:

This weekend, Glee star Cory Monteith was found dead in a Canadian hotel room, in one of those too-young, too soon tragedies that has happened to many a celebrity before him. It is, of course, a great loss, as any life cut so abruptly short is. And death, no matter who it befalls, is a grave and serious thing, and that’s why I am routinely confused by when solemn responses to such events – with the outpourings of “my prayers are with your family” and “rest in peace” — are made via social media outlets, specifically by celebrities.

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The Realist’s Guide to Los Angeles: Runyon Canyon

When people move to Los Angeles, they often express joy at the close proximity to so many varied topological options.  You can ski, surf, hike, swim in infinity pools in the Hollywood hills, etc.  They list off these attributes with smiles on their faces and stars in their eyes.  These are the people who are new enough to the city to not have been beaten down by distance and traffic, hazards of an overblown car culture.  Yeah, I’d go surfing if it didn’t take me 45 minutes to travel the 7 miles to Santa Monica.  Yeah, I’d ski all the time if the first decent mountain wasn’t 6 hours away.  I’m not negative, I’m just burnt out.  I grew up here and if I could push my car off a cliff into a beautiful privately owned beach and roll it into a polluted, public owned ocean…trust me, I would.  What I do take advantage of is the hiking as it is conveniently located to my house, it’s cheap, and it’s good for my heart.  At least once a week I make the treacherous, dog shit ridden journey up to the top of my little LA world.

There is much to be aware of before you commit to hiking Runyon.  The following is some advice I have to the newbies.

1.  Heads Up, Seven Up

Never look up for more than a second or so.  Doing otherwise will most certainly result in stepping into the aforementioned dog poo.  I usually make a point to only observe my surroundings and relax at two particular vistas.  I’d like to fully commit to exercise induced euphoria, but I’m too busy concentrating on keeping my shoes clean.  I suggest you do the same.  Save the sightseeing for later.

2.  “Hello” and other Niceties

LA is a big place.  And like other giant, overpopulated cities, people become increasingly protectionist to minimize the likelihood of befriending sociopaths.  Saying “hello” to oncoming hikers is like asking a stranger over for tea time.  How dare you?!  You want me to eat macaroons with you and I don’t even know your name?!  Jesus, man.  Telling someone to “have a good day” is like stripping them of their personal bubble, their private time.  Blood pressure raises and anxiety rides high.  Once you tell one person you like their dog, they think they’re perhaps expected to do the same…to “pass it forward” like that terrible movie with Kevin Spacey.  Can you imagine what that does to someone’s day?  Better to leave well enough alone.

3.  Weird Dog Varietals

This rule is similar to #2.  Engaging in any type of conversation is strictly foreboden, especially if the conversation is about the variety of someone’s strange looking or unique looking mutt.  In particular, if you ever get the chance to hike Runyon around dusk, you will inevitably come across a man walking a dog who looks like a canine burn victim.  It has no hair with the exception of a few sparse strands on his back and its skin is a deep freckled mahogany.  Its tongue pokes out from the left side of its closed mouth.  By far and away, this is the ugliest dog I have ever seen.

One day, a friend’s mother was visiting from out of town and was not briefed on Runyon etiquette.  She brazenly asked what type of dog it was.  Of course the owner was irritated when responding, having been asked this question – I’m assuming – daily.  But to be fair, he’s the one who volunteered to purchase an ugly dog.  I generally believe that asking an owner what type of dog they have after squealing, “Oh my God!  How cute!!!!” is acceptable.  However, I do have a friend that is in possession of one such adorable pooch and apparently it is equally as bothersome.  Better err on the side of caution and avoid uncomfortable interaction altogether.

4.  One…Two…Three!

There are a few places I recommend holding your breath to avoid full on inhalation of toxic feces.  Depending on the wind, I say holding your breath for at least a ten foot radius from any trash can.  This is where the shit that isn’t still on the ground is deposited.  On a blustery day, you’re really just screwed.

5.  We’ll Have a Gay Old Time

To really make the most of your trip, I recommend bringing your gayest best friend.  These are the people who seem to always be having the most intense conversations, invariably littered with “Oh my GAWD”s and “No fucking way”s.  I wish my life was this dramatic.  My only concern is that these twosomes swallow more flies with their mouths perpetually agape.

6.  (Skin) Safety First

Always, always wear sunblock.  The sun’s glaring rays can be pretty intense way up their in the smoggy blue yonder.  And how on earth will you be able to lie about your age if you’ve got premature wrinkles?

I have learned a great many things from my Runyon Canyon excursions, mainly that you have to work hard for any reward in life.  All of the shit you have to put up with – in this case, literally – hopefully ends in a grand payoff.  As I stand looking at the skyline of Los Angeles – the Lego-like rectangles of downtown, the planes skimming the space above and below the cloud line, the marine layer ebbing and flowing from the west, the glittering reflection of the sun off of Hollywood buildings – I think to myself, maybe this city isn’t that bad.  Maybe the people who choose to live here are on to something.  And then I look back down, and continue my hike.

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Can I Buy a Vowel?

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We are sitting in the back room at the Bar Marmont.  Whitney is nervous that this job is going to be something similar to the time where models stood on high plexiglass boxes at a club in Las Vegas trying to close their legs enough to feign modesty and avoid being touched inappropriately.  I tell her that she needn’t worry; this is one of the more civilized places in Los Angeles.  After all, the connecting hotel has been the overdose location of choice for many famed celebrities.  Assuring me further, the show is for Zac Posen, which leaves me to assume it will be of a classier nature.  I anticipate that my dignity will remain intact and I will avoid crying myself to sleep tonight.  These are now the standards by which I measure my jobs.

It will be a small, recession-friendly event: six girls in total modeling all of the Spring/ Summer 2010 show – a collection that is reminiscent of my 1960s Barbie trading cards purchased from the dollar store.  There’s pink, plastic, and gowns I’d like to lay listlessly in next to a pool while nursing a champagne hangover and getting a rubdown from Ken.

The presentation will entail the use of hot pink, numbered cards – something that ordinarily makes me cringe while I grin and bear the humiliation of knowing I am just a walking coat hangar, a mute salesman, a piece of clothing needing to be sold.  But my nightmares of Vanna White pageantry vanish away when our producer offers that we liken it to 1940 Haute Couture.  To aid in our perception of that reality, he kindly orders multiples bottles of champagne after double checking that we are all of age.   These are the moments in which drinking would aid a much needed false sense of empowerment.  I’ve been told PCP is like that.

There’s plenty to laugh about backstage while I sit on the booze trodden floor hoping that hepatitis doesn’t craw up my shorts and into my bloodstream.  One girl looks like she’s trying to light a cigarette lodged in her purchased cleavage.  At one point the aforementioned producer – who I am quite fond of because he looks like David Bowie wearing tight metallic gray pants – mistakes a bottle of hairspray for a refreshing facial moisturizer.  He is unfazed by the potential clogged pores or any social embarrassment, stating that it will better set his bronzer.  His voice trails away, still talking about drag queens.

I get my makeup done by a man wearing a lot of foundation himself.  This makes me nervous because I know my face will befall the same overdone fate; my smile lines and forehead wrinkles left to make prominent marks in the added layer of cakey garbage.  Makeup snow angels.  I don’t have a mirror but I know I will look roughly five years older and just a shade or two more orange by the time he’s done with me.  He has scars peaking through his button up shirt – also covered with foundation.  I want to ask him about it but I figure someone who is concerned enough to try to mask them probably doesn’t want to know that I haven’t been fooled.

First changes begin.  One out of six.  I put on my first dress, which was originally worn by a girl I knew peripherally from trips to New York.  We danced to LCD Soundsystem at my friend’s loft.  She bent in strange ways and I drank that night to alleviate some pent up anxiety.  She wore black converse and torn jeans.  I met her before she was a supermodel.  Now I’m wearing her ready to wear hand-me-downs while she does Chanel in Paris.

The show begins and we mosey through the crowd with our hot pink rectangles of Haute Couture shame, looking as “coquettish” as possible without licking people’s faces or falling over.  At pose point three, I notice Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers occupying the pole space we were told to lean on seductively.  I’m sure he wouldn’t have a problem if I just leaned on him, but I opt to adjust the directive accordingly.

It’s hectic backstage; attempting to run an entire fashion show with six girls when there’d ordinarily be thirty is an interesting experiment.  Dresses are thrown in the corner on top of shipping plastic.  Zac swigs a drink, noting that he’s never seen his dresses treated so badly.  A dress rips.  I put my head through the wrong hole and barely get it back out.  A girl checks to make sure her nipples aren’t entirely visible in a see-thru nude chiffon gown.  The usual.

Four girls, all wearing jewel colored feather coats, flank Zac on all sides for the finale.  Emerald, cobalt, amethyst, canary yellow.  I follow behind with Whitney, laughing as I watch the spectacle moving ahead of me.  It looks tremendously chic and rock and roll and I am actually happy to be a part of it, even if it’s not the real show and I’m not a supermodel.

I change out of my black crepe gown and back into my American Apparel shorts and a gray blazer I bought at Goodwill.  Real life.  I walk over to the liquor store and wait for Tyler to pick me up in his gold Camry.  Sunset Boulevard purrs in front of me and I hear a voice from behind, singing some indiscernible tune.  Anthony Kiedis is walking to his car and the Chateau Marmot hangs behind us.  I’d offer to tell him that “Under the Bridge” was my most frequently sung song in the 2nd grade “Show and Tell” time but he’s moving too fast and it’d probably just make him feel old.

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