Headed to a handful of Halloween parties last night, we hit the town dressed in honor of Jess’ favorite TV show.
Jess as Fran “The Nanny” Fine, in vintage Adolfo:
Me as Max Sheffield, with the ugliest tie sold at Housing Works Thrift Shop:
And, a close-up of Jess’ wig, which pretty much deserves separate billing as a third character, especially given the number of people who thought it was real:
[Special thanks to Nina Gold, for coming up with the idea, to Teen Vogue beauty editor Eva Chen, for mid-evening reapplication of gray hair streaking, and to the inimitable Nic Rad and Laura Lane, for braving Katz's at 2:00AM.]
I never forget a face.
I do, however, quickly forget from where I know that face. Which makes me, among other things, terrible at recognizing celebrities. Is that guy a minor star, or my old dry cleaner?
Jess, conversely, is nearly savant-like in her celeb-spotting. (And here, by ‘celeb’, I mean any actor, socialite, author, filmmaker, designer, journalist, editor, or musician, doing pretty much anything of note.) She’s not much impressed by her own ability, claiming she’s simply built up her encyclopedic knowledge by necessity – to excel at her job (consulting on the marketing and strategy side of fashion), she needs to recognize and know about all these people.
But, frankly, to excel at my job, I should really recognize and know about them, too. I just don’t.
I’d try to study up, but I’m pretty sure repeated exposure wouldn’t help. Last week, at a Vanity Fair / USA Network party, I even walked straight past my celebrity crush, Gabrielle Anwar, at least five times without realizing it. Admittedly, I’m really only smitten by the early 90′s, For Love or Money Gabrielle Anwar, rather than her current Burn Notice self. But, still.
The upside of my cluelessness, though, is that I’m wiling to talk with anyone. Even, unwittingly, celebs. Each time she takes me to a fashion party, Jess worries I’ll return from a loop of schmoozing saying, “I just met the nicest woman – I think her name was something like Ann Winters. Funny haircut.” At the Vanity Fair event, much to Jess’ amusement, I struck up a conversation with a lady I helped to flag down the bartender. Apparently, she’s a supermodel. I mainly noticed that she was about twice my height.
Still, even I can occasionally spot someone. Though usually only when I’m, literally, right next to them. That’s what happened at the same party, when I found myself standing next to actor Dule Hill. After seven seasons of West Wing obsession, even I could put the name to the face. And, it turns out, he’s a super nice guy – we’ve traded emails since, and he’s invited Jess and me to the well-reviewed off-Broadway play he’s producing, Extinction.
So, in short, I’m pretty sure I’m missing out on all kinds of other fun upsides the rest of the time by not having a clue who anyone is. Stupidity, it seems, has its price.
Towards the end of any haircut, when the barber pulls out the electric trimmer to shape the line where my hair meets my neck, I always worry that someone will to bump into him, that he’ll for some other reason lurch a bit, and that I’ll be left for the next few months with a bald runway up the back of my head.
Unfounded as that fear might be, it was only magnified today when I headed in to the Three Aces Barber Shop, an old-school place with giant jars of Barbisol and framed pictures of boxing matches. And, more importantly, a place where they trim neck hair not with electric trimmers, but with hot shaving cream and straight-razor.
Turns out, there’s really nothing to exacerbate that sort of phobia like an eighty-year-old with failing eyesight, essential tremor, apparent balance issues, and a freshly honed open blade.
Was reminded today of an excellent, excellent story from a former employee:
He had been out drinking for the evening–perhaps drinking a bit too much–and badly needed to relieve himself. So, in true New York style, he turned onto a quiet street, walked to the side of a building, unzipped, and let loose.
As he peed away, he began to sober up slightly. Just enough, at first, to realize the wall he was peeing on was glass.
Then, just enough more to realize it was the glass wall of a restaurant. On the other side of which was a table for two, where the patrons sat shocked, mouths agape, as he blasted full-stream against the glass, right at face-level.
[Coda: Amazingly, he wasn't ticketed for this. He was, however, ticketed a few months later for drunkenly urinating on the side of a police car. We never learn.]
A month or so back, one of Jess’ friends, an editor at a major beauty magazine, convinced her to sign up for three days of the Blueprint Cleanse.
The two were meant to do the cleanse together. But Jess contracted the late-winter flu, and ended up postponing. Until, apparently, tomorrow.
Earlier this evening, three small, square, zippered bags showed up at our front door. Each stuffed with an ice pack and six plastic containers – like Odwalla bottles without labels, numbered one to six.
The cleanse comes in three levels, and it seems Jess opted for the middle-of-the-road “Foundation Cleanse” – more intense than the “Renovation Cleanse”, though less than the terrifyingly named “Excavation Cleanse”.
Yet, despite that moderation, without her friend’s encouragement, and with the chartreuse reality of the ‘cleansing’ juices in hand, Jess had cold feet.
So, to keep her from tossing out $200 of high-end juice immediately, I agreed to do one of the days of cleanse with her.
According to the Blueprint site, the experience should “give my insides a rest” while I “simultaneously go on about my daily life”. So I should be able to blog about the experience all along the way. Especially if my wifi connection reaches the bathroom.
Cyan’s house at Sundance was, apparently, the world capital for adults contracting childhood diseases. Rob got chickenpox, Wes got ear infections in both ears, and Kristina got a case of strep bad enough to necessitate a cortisone shot to the buttock.
So when I returned from the festival in good health – despite the jetlag, altitude, lack of sleep, heavy drinking, over-caffeination, and non-stop high-stress schedule of meetings and screenings – it was with at least some small sense of schadenfreude.
It was probably well deserved, then, when a few days after making it to New York I came down with a severe winter cold that I’ve not been able to shake since, though that I did manage to share with Jess.
To make matters even more “exciting”, last Wednesday, a woman knocked on Cyan’s office door, and asked if she could show the space later that afternoon.
“Show the space?” we asked. “To whom?”
To potential tenants, it turns out. Because, though our sublet contract continued through to the end of the year, the master lease for the space ended on Sunday, something we hadn’t been previously told. We spent the second half of last week packing all of Cyan’s possessions in boxes, packing those boxes into a Uhaul, and then unloading it all into a giant Manhattan Mini-Storage shed.
And, at the same time, business has been cranking full-speed ahead. We’ve been trading documents on several films that fit our new TASER co-production deal with Wells Fargo, and have put in distribution offers on a few high-profile films we enjoyed at Sundance and that we’d love to theatrically release.
I’m still full of snot, still running around trying to find Cyan new office space, still meeting with producers and sales reps and agents and film financiers all day long, and still trying to wedge the rest of my work into the few remaining slots of open time.
But, on the plus side, life certainly isn’t boring.
My brother David wanted me to meet a loose acquaintance of his, who runs a billion-dollar real estate investment trust, and who he thought might be interested in some of the financial things we’re up to at Cyan.
Problem was, the only time he knew the guy would be free to chat during his pass through New York City would be at a McCain fundraiser this past Tuesday night.
Fortunately, David’s girlfriend’s good friend is a deputy director of fundraising for the McCain campaign, and got us in to the event free, exempting me from the moral calculus of whether it might be acceptable to donate money to a candidate you fervently hope won’t win, just because it might yield some personal avaricious gain.
But, it turns out, she didn’t just get us in, she got us in with VIP-room passes that implied we’d each donated $25,000 to the event. Which is how, despite my good San Francisco uber-liberal roots, despite my current political leanings which could best be called either free-market socialist or tax-and-spend libertarian, I ended up the night before the Presidential debate sandwiched between Sarah and Todd Palin and Cindy and John McCain for a photo I’m in equal parts fervently hoping I can find a copy of and that nobody ever finds a copy of.
Life is never dull.
Thursday morning, Jess and I head down to rural Maryland for the wedding of one of my good high school friends.
He’s apparently more Scottish than I’d previously realized, as the groomsmen – myself included – will be wearing kilts.
Today, a woman at the kilt rental shop (who knew?) warned that I needed to wear underwear under my kilt.
Oh, I assured her, I will.
No, really, she insisted. Sure it’s traditional for a man to wear nothing underneath, but if you aren’t use to it, she continued, the rough wool routinely causes penile hives.
Which is why I’ll now be layering on at least two or three of my thickest pairs.