Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Imagine being in a place—say, a movie set—with people running around everywhere. They wear walkie-talkies. They say things like, “10-4” and “Copy that”. They stop traffic.

Imagine yourself, sitting there, amidst all this chaotic job-doing, waiting.

With a scarf wrapped around your head like a Latvian refugee, you sit. With bad catering fish fighting digestion in your stomach, you sit. Sipping on your eleventh cup of tea, you sit there, breathing, with nothing better to do than write in your notebook and age.

Welcome to my day.

I did manage to make quite an impression on one of the actors. He is six, of course, but he was the only one who seemed to respond to my eerily life-like monkey face. The lead actress just smiled weakly and looked at my shoes.

I suppose I’ll make myself another cup of tea. God, I wish there was a bathroom here.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Christian Friggin Slater is staying at my hotel. I'm really glad I brought my (original) Kuffs poster with me so he can sign it. I'm a good packer!!

**Please take special note of the tag line. If that's not the making of eternal cinema, what is?

Sunday, October 29, 2006


There is a poster that someone gave my boss. It is a black and white picture of Clark Gable on a movie set. Clark looks very dapper with his pencil mustache and his leading man smirk, and he is leaning back in a cloth-covered chair, drinking a glass of milk. My boss’s friend was attracted to the image as a gift for my boss because he liked the juxtaposition of a glamorous Hollywood golden-age actor with an ordinary American glass of milk. He said he found something of the same glittering naturalness in my boss.

I think of that image now as I sit in a movie trailer in London. The decorating theme of the trailer could be described as “Country Casual”—or “Linoleum Chic”. There is blonde fake wood cabinetry, fancy gold drawer pulls, gray, leaf-motif furniture. We sit here, my famous boss and I, basking in the light of some fluted glass light fixtures, sipping on tea because the coffee on set tastes like sewage, awaiting the second AD to call us to set. It is 10:10 on a Sunday. We’ve been here for over two hours. My boss is wearing makeup and watching some, “aliens are responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis” DVD. (Quote from the DVD: “What about the flying saucers!? What about the UFOs?!”) I’m so glad I’m not having brunch right now, or sleeping.

Speaking of glamour, someone just popped into the trailer to ask my boss how hairy his legs are. My boss had to pull up the leg of his trouser to demonstrate. Oh how I wish I could be a movie star!!!

Last night was dinner and drinking and dancing in celebration of Dan’s 31st birthday. Who’s Dan? He’s a chap, you know? A chappie bloak. A bugger of a bloakish chappy fellow. It was a marvelous evening, replete with:

English piss-taking: “Oh Dan, is that your brother? He looks just like you, but, of course, your nose is bigger”

English bragging: “I’m glad I’ll never amount to anything, because I would hate to be too big to cue”.

And other general merrymaking: “I think that having dreams is overrated. You know what else is overrated? Passion.”

I sat next to a female, Jewish documentary filmmaker. I know, fair readers, let your minds be blown.

We ended the night drunk and dancing in a North London dive bar, empty except for a disco ball, a black light and a DJ with a taste for late 70s dance tracks.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Today I went to the breathtakingly beautiful Rodin exhibit at the Royal Academy of Art, here in London. I walked through gallery after gallery of cast human likenesses so real, I could almost see the hair on their arms, and the shake in their muscles from holding so still. The experience of viewing sculpture is an apt metaphor, I think, for traveling. In travel, though, it is not an artwork, but one’s own self that must be placed on a plinth and walked around, studied for its composition.

I apologize if I seem overly reflective tonight. Tomorrow, I promise, there will be more celebrity high jinks. Until then:


Monday, October 23, 2006


Two major events have occurred since my last update: First, I was offered the opportunity to remain in London, tasting the good life and getting into adventures, for the duration of my boss’s film shoot, and I accepted. Second, my purse was stolen.

About the purse—there was not too much in it, only my wallet, my camera, my calendar, my various notebooks, the tiny voice recorder I use to record standup sets, the novel I’d been reading, and my Blackberry, filled with the names and numbers of celebrities of varying type, quality and renown. It rather lessens the blow, honestly, to imagine Christina Applegate receiving a giggly 3AM phone call from a drunk English hood:

“Tee hee hee. Right. Is that Kelly Bundy then?”

Indeed. The thought of that phone call almost makes the whole purse-thievery seem worth it. Luckily, the one item missing from the bag was my passport, which I found securely tucked away in my hotel room’s ever-depleting mini-bar. Thank god. Imagine the headlines:

“Jewish woman is informed that her daughter must remain in the UK forever and her head explodes.”

The scene of the crime was the Big Chill Bar, a place that was, despite its name, quite a-buzz with drunken white people. I sat on a bench, purse at my feet, engrossed in an intense conversation with my friend Vicki, when some lout ran off with my bag. At least, that’s what I imagined happened when, some time later, I gallantly offered to buy the next round of cider and discovered that my bag had gone missing. It is extraordinary, considering the size and weight of the bag, that the thief was able to make off with it undetected. As soon as I noticed it was gone, I canvassed the bar and the street outside for witnesses:

“Pardon.”--They don’t understand “excuse me” here.

“Pardon. Did you see someone hobbling down the street, groaning under the weight of a 40-pound, bright orange, faux leather, ladies’ purse?”

Amazingly, nobody saw him. It wasn’t until later, back at the hotel, as I comforted myself with a Hillary Duff movie and a $16.00 Toblerone that I realized my blunder.

“Kilo! I should have said, 18.143-Kilo, bright orange, faux leather, ladies’ purse. Then they would have understood! They would have helped me! Damn you, Metric System!!!”

(Please imagine me shaking a half-eaten Toblerone at the ceiling of my coral-plaid hotel room, cheesy pop soundtrack playing in the background.)

Incidentally, the thief left Vicki’s average-sized, barely-filled, English purse untouched. Twenty-four hours later, however, someone smashed the window of her flat and stole her brand new television. Which just goes to show…something, I’m sure.

Petty crime is so 80’s, don’t you think? What’ll they get into next? Graffiti? Angel Dust? England is so cute!

And she moves onto her second pot of tea. And her pen begins to shake.

It was maybe the day after the bag got nicked that my boss offered to keep me at Claridge’s until Thanksgiving (and fly Greg over as well).

After weighing the negatives and positives…:

Negative: I’ll miss my boyfriend and my friends.
Positive: Free room service.

Negative: I’ll miss October in NYC.
Positive: I’ll arrive at my 10th high school reunion with jet lag and a vaguely British accent.

…I decided to stay. Which means many more updates to come, so stay tuned.


I had such fun writing the last update that I feel compelled to carry on today--if you would rather delete before reading, I won't be offended. The story of the wandering jew is an old one, you may feel you've heard it all before. It's like a Shalom Aleichem story, but with more movie actors.

In any case, this morning found me starved and freezing in an over-air conditioned room with terrible acoustics somewhere, I imagine, in London--though it was quite a long ride. The film is a sweet slacker-done-well comedy in which my boss plays a rich American dick head. It is, admittedly, a mostly charmless role, and he is deeply regretting ever having accepted it. No amount of reassurance from me seems to make any difference on this point. Perhaps my reassurances ring hollow, since it is nearly impossible to feel sorry for the guy.

"Boo hoo. I have to live in a posh hotel in London for six weeks and I'm not even making a million dollars."


After the read through I make a straight line for the snack table where I quickly suck down some tea in hopes that the heat of it will diminish my teeth chattering, and the whole milk in it will quiet my stomach. I make small talk with other non-actors, who wonder, as I do, what in the world I am doing there. Then off we go to Primrose Hill (a trendy neighborhood in London) for lunch and rehearsal.

"Lunch," I think. "That's something".

We share a delightful car ride with Simon Pegg, the lead actor. Some may know him from, "Shaun of the Dead". Some may think, "What the hell is 'Shaun of the Dead'?"

We wind up at an upscale Deli for lunch and I begin devouring its offerings with my eyes. Mmm. Beet Salad. What would beet salad feel like in my belly? And just then, I am released. No lunch, no beet salad, nothing. I set out in search of a tube station and end up at a lovely pub for fish stew and a glass of wine.

It's the middle of the day and everyone is drinking...it's a wonder they could get the Olympics.

The stew is very tasty, but the seafood is inedible. There are two prawns in the bowl with heads and eyes and foot-long antennas. How is a person meant to suck out the flesh of an animal that still has a soul? Plus the spoon seems like the wrong instrument for such a challenge. I need a dagger, I think. Or a gun. I eat the broth and the potatoes and the bread. I am still hungry, but at least now I'm a little drunk.

Well, I suppose I should return to my search for the tube. If you are receiving this email, it means I made it back, intact. If not...

And then we descend into absurdity.


Greetings, finally, from London!

I am writing from the hotel bar--standing, alas, due to lack of seats. It is after eleven and I...

"In my hat mosquitos are small. This is the only true cheers I can offer".

"The boat of love became smithereens, falling on the rock of life".

...Pardon. I was interrupted by the musings of an intoxicated Greek art dealer with a rose in his lapel. He insisted on writing in my notebook. He left two blondes at the bar to come over and invite me to dinner.

Worry not, lover. I declined. He does not seem unhappy to be back in the embrace of his blondes.

As I was writing, I set off at 10:45 in search of an open pub and was disappointed. Undaunted, I had a happy wander through the cobblestone alleyways and over-lit thoroughfares of posh after-hours London. This city, I have discovered, is a lot like New York. It is older, of course, and bigger. It has more English people. But otherwise...

My hotel (Claridge's) is so thoroughly Deco, it could be a movie set. It is all black and white and lighting fixtures and 20's decadence. My boss's suite looks like it could have been a room in the Titanic. It is crowded in the bar, as I said, filled with people of varying wealth and beauty. I polish off my cocktail ("The Flapper"--how could I resist?) sucking down the strawberry garnish and I remember that England never had a prohibition.

Rehearsals for my boss's movie begin tomorrow. I have no idea what my day will be like. I'm sure there will be plenty of starch, and taxis, and tea. And dinner with my friend Vicki who is, for those who know her, a wonderful, attentive hostess. She may or may not be carrying a sizable candle for my movie star boss.

Ah, Vick. Never one to heed danger signs.

Someone just bought me another "Flapper". Cheers!