Saturday, June 01, 2013


So my wondrously selfless friend Ellen, having just finished spearheading the Share show, Hollywood's annual display of caring while in fabulous gowns, generously came to pick me up at the dentist, which had been a truly surprising show of generosity(NO BILL!!! Can you imagine? it's almost worth losing a tooth to find out such a thing could happen, and on 2 COASTS!) and took me to a Hollywood tradition so old I recognized almost everybody: the Movie Star Museum on Highland Boulevard, in the old Max Factor building.   That there are not daily tour buses from Minnesota and other places currently being ravaged by tornados is a wonder to me, as there is contained therein the parade of memories that made little children like I was once fans of the movies: all the effects, cosmetics, jewels (Marilyn's) cars(The Rat Pack's, Sinatra, Martin, Sammy in pure, or probably impure gold) Oz (little Judy) and youth that would blossom into unbelievable beauty and no higher consciousness(Elizabeth.) Greatness, or at least what seemed greatness, from an era so long vanished that nothing remains of it including movies that have a plot that makes sense or characters you care about, is herein encapsulated in breathtaking form, such as an elevator so huge that it was able to transport what seemed whole battlefields onto another floor.  Dazzling.
    And in its way, joyful, because you can truly imagine what it was like when there was mystery around this crap, and the paparazzi weren't waiting outside everywhere to tell the world what was going on with Brad and Angelina, so she had to share her mortification and sorrow before they eked it out of some employee and exposed it.  (Before I moved into my new apartment, i was staying in a hotel opposite her doctor's office, and the cannibals were already there at eight in the morning after her brave revelation.)Yes, it was a world of whispers then, calibrated on a machine that looks like a torture instrument, measuring with needles all the vicissitudes of the human face and skull so the camera, and Max, could make it look perfect.  Many stars with their original noses, the best of them Lucille Ball's.  A room for Blondes, with all their photos, Brunettes, and Brownettes(who knew?) and downstairs Hannibal Lechter's cell probably constructed so well that we didn't have the courage to chance it for fear we would be eaten. (And next door, if you're weak, Mel's Diner.  I can't understand why everyone from Cincinnati isn't coming.)
     This transition, NY to LA(AGAIN?) has been more difficult than i would have considered likely or probable, considering how much I have moved and how often traveled. But change becomes more challenging, as the Quakers say, as you grow and grow older(Me?!!) and the belly blows thrown at you by a universe that apparently can't get enough of waiting to see how you will handle disappointment are   
relentless in their velocity.  But there are people I love who, even in their diminishing number, seem to expect me to prevail, so I will as long as I can.  And the happy surprise that comes from an unexpected source, the dentist(and twice, on either coast) sort of balances the betrayal that comes from those you would assume were in your biblical corner-(Never Assume.)  Plus the good news that the tornados are someplace else, and there hasn't been an earthquake here recently, yet.  To be alive, as the heroine of my musical which may one day open, might say, is to have the possibility of winning.  So we'll see. 
        Ah, but after the museum we lunched on the roof of the Peninsula, as elegant an outpost as my former hideout has proved tacky, filled with honeymooning sheiks from Dubai whose wedding feasts hosted a thousand, and waiters whose family history may have included royals.  And the sun is shining but the air is not too hot, as I understand it is now in New York, so I was right to leave.  And as long as I don't have The New York Times on my doorstep, I can be happy with the world and proud of my country. Ignorance may not be bliss, but to look out the window beside my desk at bougainvillea is certainly a balm for the soul.  And we do have one, you know, though it may not be featured as the destination of a tour bus.