Saturday, September 04, 2010

Last days in L.A.: Celebrity Stories

Griffith Park, originally uploaded by williwieberg.

It's official! I'm moving to Kosovo to teach English. My tickets are booked, I've given away and sold over 200 of my books, shredded old production documents and given my roomie and landlord my 30 days notice. At this point, if I don't move to Kosovo, I'll have to join the homeless guys camped outside the public library. Not that free internet and books aren't tempting.

As I'm packing up, reading through old journals (mostly mortifying), I've come across those rare moments that make for great L.A. stories. Hanging up on Mel Gibson — twice. (This before his recent rants, so there was really no good reason to disconnect him from the head of Sony.) Cat-sitting for Toni Basil. Taking Bono's digits and chatting with him about his flat in Nice.

In one journal from my days at Icon Productions: Today a man called, asked my name. "What would YOU do, Rebecca, if someone put your experience, your life, in a movie?" he asked. A bit confused, I asked him to elaborate (first mistake: engaging the crazy). The movie "Braveheart" used some of his experiences, he clarified. Too curious to hang up, I asked him which scenes specifically were from his life. 'Well, my brain, for one!' he replied. Regaining my speech, I told him I didn't think we could help him, so he asked for Columbia Pictures' number. I advised him to call information, if the people in the white jackets didn't find him and revoke his phone privileges first.

Or the older couple who called from the midwest and demanded a refund of their $9.25 movie money for "Payback," saying it was too violent, and they only went based on their trust of Mel Gibson's history of past roles.

Or Toni Basil (of "Hey Mickey" fame) and her cat-sitting to-do list, reminding me to call nightly with an update on her hairless wonders.

I'll miss L.A. — the neighborhoods I've come to love, the unattainable beauty of the gay men of West Hollywood, the Arclight movie experience, the pre-show picnics at the Hollywood Bowl, the smell of Kings Road coffee roasting, the hikes at Griffith Park, the jacaranda blooming soft purple, the thrifting on Melrose. I can't wait to tell the stories of life in Prishtina, but I know L.A. will always be home.

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