Sunday, August 24, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation: Pop Culture Edition...

I never thought I would long for the days of school, but the past few months was the first summer season I had a steady job that required me to show up (to an office, no less!) day in and day out even though the sun shone brightly outside our windows (though have to guess; I am not one of the chosen few who have a cubicle with a view of anything but more cubicles) and the numbers on the thermometer soared to triple digits. For the first time, my weekends were treated as real weekends—the only days I could attend events, hang out with friends, and relax on the beach or on my couch, in front of my new HD TV (welcome to 2008… a few months late).

Kicking off the season at the end of May was my trip back to NYC for what was supposed to be the last performance of RENT on the Broadway stage. Starring Tamyra Gray and OBC-member Rodney Hicks, long before I actually hopped the pink-yet-lavender plane of Virgin America, I was informed that the play’s run was extended, and the show I was seeing was not anywhere near its last. I went anyway because the hotel was non-refundable, and I honestly thought I would be moving during that week in September when the new last show was taking place (I will not discuss my brief time in escrow in this essay because the way things turned out is still upsetting to me). That weekend was also the Sex and the City movie release, and I caught an early showing of that in Times Square, which was just plain festive because of the “bigness” (no pun intended) of it all. Dave Annable (Brothers & Sisters) was on my flight home.

Once I returned from NY, I jumped full-force into trying to find a condo or townhouse to buy. I gave up many sacred Saturday afternoons when I could have been lying in the sand, staring at the crisp, slicing ocean waves to instead swelter in ninety-plus heat as I (and my real estate agent, Vicky, also co-owner of Hollywood Knights) drove around the valley. I pretty much had to resign myself to the fact that this would never be the view out of my bedroom window, but I didn’t realize that it wouldn’t be my view on said Saturday afternoons; finding a “perfect” property in my price range has been damn near impossible!

The end of June brought my first production in a long time with the pilot shoot for Conventioneers, a Comedy Central pitch. Starring some amazing improv comedians, Conventioneers is a spin on dried humor like The Office and follows the behind-the-scenes happenings at a convention center through the lives of its employees. Every week, a different convention is in town, offering some prime opportunities for product placement, advertising, and tie-ins, but in the pilot we kept it simple and displayed a job fair… though admittedly some of those jobs were quite wacky. Being on set for even just this two day, “small” shoot slapped me in the face with just how much I do miss being in production-- if just for the chance to work in a creative environment with other artists who all have the same goal and are actually passionate about what they do. I had a professor in college who once said that “if you wake up every morning going: “Oh shit, I have to go to work today,” then the job is probably not worth doing.” That was always my personal philosophy, but this summer I really realized just how easy it is to forget those simple words because I like having a roof over my head (even if I’m not too fond of this roof right about now) and food on my plate.

When I first started this website almost a year ago, I did so with the intention of turning the entries into chapters in a book of personal (and therefore my first foray into non-fiction) essays. “My Life, Made Possible By Pop Culture” was supposed to be the title to my very Sloane Crosley/Augusten Burroughs/Chelsea Handler-esque memoir. Very early on, though, I got side tracked by trying to sound more professional—more like a journalist—with the hope that it would become an online portfolio of my writing (reviews and all) and garner me a respectable writing position at a reputable magazine (*cough, Entertainment Weekly, cough*). Months later, I was really nowhere closer to that when I started, and seeing as how my second novel is not being scooped up by a publishing house anytime soon, I revisited the essay book idea. I wrote about seventy-five pages this summer (not all usable, I admit) before getting stuck. Somehow along the way I had crafted the tales to not merely be about how all things pop culture influenced my life growing up but much more specifically how they (and by they, I mean mostly things I saw on television) influenced my dating life. And I seem to have tapped out at seventy-five pages. At least I started, though, and now I have an assignment to carry me through the fall.

July brought two big events to my doorstep… well, close enough. Comic Con San Diego was only a two-day fiesta for me (again, sadly because I do have a day job now), but considering I was only heading down there for another glimpse at Jensen Ackles, it actually worked out quite nicely. His autograph signing was on Saturday afternoon, and his Q&A panel for Supernatural was on Sunday morning. It was definitely an intense, stressful, hot two days—and I still prefer the smaller events, at which I can actually get face-time with the celebrities in attendance-- but well worth it as a general experience, and I do plan to go back next year now that I have the benefit of having some knowledge at how the whole thing works.

Closing out the month, Mariah Carey performed a mini-concert at Hollywood & Highland, in part for her appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live show, but in part for Samsung and AT&T’s annual Summer Krush Groove concert series. She sang six of her hits from her last two albums, including the never-before-done-live (and my personal favorite) “Side Effects,” to which I sang and rocked along, even incorporating my own verse over Young Jeezy’s, for the first time not caring what those around me thought.

August may not be over yet, but things already seem to be winding down. I attended a Pros Vs Celebs volleyball team for charity, mainly to get one last look at a bunch of Passions actors since as of earlier in the month, the show is officially over, and I have become obsessed with the flair application on facebook.com, HGTV (namely House Hunters), the second season of Showtime’s Dexter, and “I’m Not Here To Make Friends,” which is a podcast that recaps reality television. JC Penney has been running their Breakfast Club back-to-school commercials for weeks now, so I know these days are coming to a fast end, but since the majority of them have not been nearly as lazy, hazy, or carefree as I would have liked, this is the first time that the end of summer does not sadden me. Honestly, my routine does not look like it will change much just because the days are shrinking; the weather is barely cooling! Nonetheless, though, the time does fly… when you’re out of someone’s life!

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