Sunday, September 2, 2007

Girl in La-La Land (Part 2)



I lived in a bubble for most of the year with regards to LA and how awesome it was. Everything was new and exciting, but most importantly, vastly different than the east coast...and different in an awesome way. First, there's the weather...it's amazingly sunny and warm 99% of the time. It never rains and it's never humid. Sunglasses are a permanent fixture on my face...but I look damn cool in them. Second, the attitude out here of people is much different than the east coast. People out here are artistic. They value their happiness and doing what they love over money and material possessions. Success is not measured by what car you drive, what house you own, or how much money you have. It's measured by happiness, by your crafts, by your creativity, by your ideas. There's always a way to make money. Many of us are content to just barely get by, living on the edge, not knowing if we'll make rent each month because we're pursuing what we really love to do and we're not going to compromise that for financial security. Life is just too short. Many of us are multi-faceted using every possible skill we have to get by. Waiting tables is a highly sought after and competitive job and we're always looking for that job that will pay our bills and give us flexibility to pursue our careers. It's a tough thing to find, but we all manage to find it. Third, socially, it's good and bad. It's good because we all do what most people other places would consider irresponsible. Staying out late in the middle of the week is commonplace. Sure, we'll be tired the next day, but it's worth it cause we're living it up and having fun. In less than an hour, you can get to the mountains or the beach. Clubs, 24 hr diners, and bar abound in Hollywood. It's bad socially because most everything is about business. If you can't help someone else with their career, they probably won't waste their time with you. Most people out here are so career-focused, that they don't have any desire to establish long-meaningful relationships. There's a lot of self-centered and fake people out here, but you can always weed them out. I had to get used to not receiving return phone calls, people flaking on me, and people just disappearing from my life with no explanation. As you may have heard, it's all hype out here, it's all networking, and it's all "what you can do for me." It's an odd place to live, because it's easy to get lonely here if you don't have family to fall back on. It's an interesting day when you realize that you don't have an emergency contact person. It's like a college town, everyone leaves for the holidays. But despite those things, you can find those gems, those people who do want stability and meaningful relationships and you hold on them. They become your support system and your family. You have orphan thanksgivings and late night coffee and you support each other. Third, everything out here is about the entertainment industry, so it's awesome to be in the middle of everything. You see through the hype and the marketing. Seeing celebrities is commonplace. Hollywood is not as glamorous as you would think, but driving down those streets past the studios, famous stores, and restaurants makes you really appreciate how awesome it really is.


And now for my favorite Hollywood moments and celebrity sitings!

Celebrity sitings:
1) Adrian Brody- leaving an awesome diner in Hollywood called Swingers
2) Will Wheaton (from Star Trek fame)- ended up talking to him in a game store in Pasadena
3) Macaulay Culkin- at Disneyland
4) Mark Indelicato (Ugly Betty's brother, Justin)- at Disneyland (same day too :)
5) Benjamin Bratt- worked as a stand-in with him on a film called Trucker
6) Michelle Monaghan(MI-3, North Country)- worked with on Trucker
7) Nathan Fillion (Serenity/Firefly fame, look out for him on Desperate Housewives next season!)- worked with on Trucker, spent time playing with his iPhone and talking to him about blue moons
6) Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy, Big Daddy, etc)- worked with on Trucker as her stand-in
7) Teller (from Penn & Teller)- at the Magic Castle in Hollywood, which is a member's-only club for magicians
8) Ryan Phillipe- going to a comedy show next to our theater
10) Breckin Meyer (bunch of stuff, imdb him)- going to the comedy show with Ryan Phillipe
11) David Faustino (Bud from Married with Children)- going to take an acting workshop next to our theater
12) bunch of other people you wouldn't know...but are on TV all the time
13) I see friends on mine in commercials on TV all the time as well

Favorite Hollywood moments:
1) Driving with the windows down through Malibu Canyon and spending the day on the beach
2) Hiking up Runyon Canyon (trail in the hills above Hollywood that celebs go to a lot) and looking out over Hollywood
3) Watching One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at night in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
4) Boardwalk at Venice Beach looking at everyone selling their art and checking out all the tattoo shops
5) Disneyland
6) Riding awesome coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain
7) Watching an original 1946 version of Gone With The Wind in technicolor on 35mm film at a friend's house
8) Late night conversations over food at Canter's Deli
9) Shopping on Melrose Ave
10) Rosewater ice cream at the best shop in town: Mashiti Malone's

Life is awesome out here in La-la land. It truly is a totally different world out here, but it's a world where I am understood and where I belong. I wouldn't trade it for anything and I'm never going to leave.





Jess Raskin was born and raised in Virginia. She made her feature film debut at age 7 in John Water's Cry-Baby as Susie-Q opposite Ricki Lake and Johnny Depp. From there she worked in commercials and theater in the DC area. She attended the College of William & Mary, graduating in 2005 with a double major in Classics and Marketing. After doing the "smart" thing by getting a college degree, it was time to be risky! She packed up her stuff and moved to the City of Angels, 3000 miles away from everyone and everything she'd ever known. She currently lives in NoHo, a few minutes outside Hollywood with her three bunnies. Jess currently is performing in Hollywood in a play called Eavesdropper, which is destined to open in NYC in early 2008!!

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