Friday, August 27, 2010

Sketch Comedy: Oregon Trail

CHASE approaches the group.

Hey, guys, I got $500 and a wagon- who wants to head west with me and get super rich discovering gold?

Are you a banker or a farmer?


Coolio- I’m in.

You don’t have a lot of money, Chase.

Yeah, but I can fix shit when it breaks.

Let me grab my purse.

Me too!

You have a purse?


I’m in too.


(as Gimley from Lord of the Rings)
And My Axe!

The ensemble moves, as a unit, facing stage right, and takes a step.

Allright, here we go!

They take another step.

Shit- it’s a river.

(shouting in disagreement)
Ford it! Ferry it! Pay an Indian!

We have to ford, guys- I don’t want to spend the money on the ferry.

Cheap bastard.

I told you guys not to go Carpenter.

(spins away and off-stage)

James drowned and died.

God dammit, Chase!

Why couldn’t he swim?

Look, a bear!

Shoot it!

Chase mimes loading a gun, aiming, and firing several times.

What is your problem, Chase?

I only have 300 bullets! I don’t wanna miss, and those squirrels are too fast!

It only takes one- gimmie.

She grabs the “shotgun” and fires! Direct hit!


It’s upside down, that’s funny!

I’ll get it.

Mike struggles but he cannot lift the “bear.”

Yeah, guys, sorry, but we can only take back 80 pounds.

You are the dumbest trailmaster ever, Chase Padgett. Gehhh!

Puking, Summer runs off stage.

Summer got Dysentary and died.

(from offstage)

Let’s keep going.

Should we trade some stuff, and fix our wagon?

I’ll fix your wagon.

“Crickets Chirping” SFX as everyone stares hatefully at Chase.

OK, let’s keep going.

Chase, Jaime, Katie, Charles and Mike attempt another few group steps. Mike lags behind.

You coming?

Yeah, I don’t wanna play anymore. People keep dying, and there’s really no rhyme or reason to it.

Mike got dystentary and died.

Don’t fucking jinx me, Charles!

C’mon, Mike, we’re almost to the cool part.

The Rio Grande! It’s beautiful!

So green!

Look, there’s little rocks in it!

Yeah, be careful, don’t hit ‘em!

Mike grudgingly joins the group, and they move left and right and forward, one step at a time, across the stage.

Be careful! Look out! Don’t touch the edge, Chase- let me do it!

After a tense moment, the group makes it to the other side of the stage.

Yes! We did it!

Awesome! Yeah! Woo!

So, where’s the gold?

Um... gold?

Yeah, you said there’d be gold when we got here.

Well, no, see- the whole point is to “get here,” you know?

(freaking out)
Wait- we- we came three thousand miles- we- lost Summer- and that black guy-

Confused looks.

and now- there’s NO GOLD?!?

Wait wait wait- maybe this whole game was a metaphor- maybe it’s about the journey, and not the destination...

That’s the stupidest shit I ever heard.

But it's Aerosmith!

Aerosmith sucks- C’mon, guys- my mom bought me the Nintendo Power Glove.

Awesome! Let’s go! Zelda! Yeah!

(to Chase)
You’re not coming, Carpenter.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

LA Stories- $10,000

"How much does it cost to move to LA?"
The answer to that is "More than $10,000."
I don't know HOW much more, but I can chronicle exactly what we spent our money on, and you can extrapolate from there, and determine how much you think you'll need for YOUR Epic Adventure.
So, without furthur ado, I humbly submit my Financial Guide to Completely Blowing $10,000...

Way back in Spring of 2009, My husband Jay found a web site where we entered how much we had to move (estimated boxes, items of furniture, and distance,) and a moving company called us within a DAY with a bid to move us for only $1,200! Way too good to be true- and it was! But since we had to get 2 cars out there AND we wanted to ride together, a van seemed like the way to go. We wanted to have our Manifest Destiny adventure in a car so we could pull over and see the sights and explore our way across Rt. 66- this was a phenomenal luxury, and the one thing I'll never regret- driving together across America was an amazing journey, and you can read about it in my Manifest Destiny Journals that mark the beginning of my FB "notes."

We wanted to hire a moving van so we wouldn't have to worry. My Dad arranged to drive my car out for me once we'd settled, since he's a former pilot and can fly back for free, and wanted to drive 66 with his new wife as well. My Mom volunteered to keep our 2 cats for us until she could take them with her when she'd fly out to visit in September. This meant a trip free of yowling, miserable cats, sneaking pets in and out of "no pet" motels, and a happier stay with Jay's Aunt and Uncle, who let us live with them in Long Beach until we found an apartment. They are not cat people, but they are generous beyond belief and invited us to crash in the guest bedroom of their gorgeous condo for 5 weeks while we dealt with finding an apartment in LA.

Speaking of the generosity of others, I should also mention that if you're very lucky, a few Guardian Angels will help you along the way. Hopefully, you'll have some awesome people in your life who love you too. You'll find that love and support go a long, long, long way when you're in a new environment.

Since the bid on the moving truck was so great, we took the bait and hired the movers, who tacked on an additional $1,000 to their estimate after everything was loaded in the truck. They showed up 7 hours late, which made us miss my own farewell dinner after my Fringe play. Instead of the 5 guys they promised, two showed up. Only one spoke english- barely. A Florida downpour delayed them even furthur, and they wound us shoving paperwork in our hands saying sign, sign, while our stuff was getting soaked in the rain. We felt really uneasy. We felt trapped- but we felt like we had no choice- our stuff was either getting rained on or already on the truck, and it was 1:30 in the morning. We were exhausted. We signed. Big mistake. I came down with some sort of bizarre stomach flu and spent much of the next day barfing. I think my stomach knew we'd been cornholed.

The plan was for the Moving Company to store our stuff in a storage unit in Burbank until we found an apartment, then unload it for us when we found our new place.

Somehow, our stuff wound up being stored in Louisianna- or maybe Texas. They never did give us a straight answer, and stopped returning our calls when it was apparent that we were pissed.

Once we got to Long Beach, we'd drive the terrifying commute to LA and look for apartments, and I'd cry a lot. Apartment hunting is difficult- you have to drive around and call every posted "For Rent" sign you see, and make plans with the owner to see the unit. But hours go by in between viewings, and no one in LA will let you use their bathroom. So you sit, uncomfortably, looking at listings in a random McDonald's with WiFi, hoping that the few bucks you're spending to use their internet qualifies you to be a peeing customer. Plus, that stomach virus? Yeah, it kind of lingered, so anything I ate was a guaranteed horror-story in about 20 minutes. Being stuck in LA traffic with a belly full of rapidly-deteriorating Carl's Jr. is assuredly a lower level of Hell.

The apartments we found within our price range ($700-$900/month) were abysmal. Dark, squallid, depressing holes of depravity on shitty little streets full of barred windows and tipped over grocery carts. I would go inside, look at the hideous mouldering bathroom, the tiny windowless bedroom, and a kitchen the size of a shower stall. The owners would tell us, "oh, you'll have to buy a stove. And a refridgerator." The one window in the place inevitable featured a magnificent vista of a cinderblock wall. Each and every one we visited made me physically ill. I could clearly imagine myself living there, growing severely depressed, and hanging myself, but I doubted any of the structural support would be able to handle my dead weight. Yellowed, tumerous walls closed in on me at every turn. And I cried. I cried at McDonald's. I cried at the Chevron where we bought gas so I could pee. Pretty much anywhere I went to leak liquid, I leaked liquid. Also, since we had no jobs lined up, people were incredibly reluctant to let us rent, despite our offer to put down deposits and first AND last month's rent. They knew we weren't going to find jobs for a while. They were pretty smart.

We finally took a friend's suggestion and looked into the "Artiste Apartments" collection of apartment buildings. They're all over LA, and initially catered specifically ti Industry folk. Now, pretty much anyone can live there. Even people without jobs. We found a building with a unit we LOVED, on Cherokee Avenue, just off Hollywood Blvd. The Walk of Fame. The Walk of Stars. The Boulevard of Broken Dreams. We figured it was the LA equivalent to living inside the Statue of Liberty. An iconic address, a historic neighborhood steeped in movie magic and lore. It was $1,300 a month, (more than we paid in Orlando for our 3-bedroom luxury condo) but it was the LA-version of HUGE. It was bright and airy inside, and it felt happy. I couldn't envision myself swinging from any closets- but I could imagine myself typing, looking out a window. A good sign. Jay loved it too- even the building had charm. Built in the 20's as a hotel, it had survived 90 years without Earthquake damage. I felt safe from Earthquakes there. We put down our first month's rent as a deposit and waited for a unit to open up.

It was going to be another 3 weeks, but Jay's Aunt and Uncle were so kind and let us stay in their super-comfortable, clean guest bedroom. They live in a million-dollar condominium, so it was going to be an adjustment once we moved to Hollywood, but we were ready. Our next task was to track down our movers, who were still dodging our calls. Finally, we used a fake name to get our contact back on the phone. Our stuff would arrive in COMPTON within a week. (Compton is not a nice part of the world, and you DON'T want stuff stored there overnight because it won't be there the next day.)

They'd agreed to place our things in a smaller truck so it would fit down our tiny street, but suddenly, that was no longer part of the deal. I had finally scored paying work for the first time on "Iron Man II," so Jaime and his friend Jenn were going to have to go put our life into a U-Haul while I was at work. If I cancelled my first day at Central Casting, there was a chance they'd blacklist me and we couldn't risk it. So Jaime and Jenn went alone to Compton to get our things, and it's a damn good thing I wasn't there to see the carnage: everything we owned was in shambles- entire boxes had ripped open, cubes were crushed into spheres, legs were snapped off of furniture, anything glass had shattered, anything wooden was scratched or gouged beyond repair. A brand new unopened IKEA entertainment center we'd packed was strewn about the storage unit. Our TV dangled at a precarious 44-degree angle. Jay and Jenn took photos of the disaster scene, then loaded it while the moving representative (who did not work for the company, he was just there to "supervise,") WATCHED. To make matters worse, they wouldn't release our stuff to us unless we gave them, you guessed it, another $1,000. The "Supervisor" suggested Jay and Jenn give him a tip of a couple hundred bucks, since he'd had to spend a few hours of his day watching Jay and Jenn loading a truck. They declined.

Once Jay and Jenn arrived at our new apartment, our friend Carlos met up with them, and helped unload. Another friend, Keith, also pitched in. More photos were taken as we realized the extent of the damage, and when Jay and I began unpacking, we realized that LOTS of stuff was missing. One of a kind, irreplacable stuff. Like a crystal elephant bank we'd been given by Jay's parents as an engagement gift. And my pega-mouse. A step-ladder. Whoever rifled through our stuff had been sloppy because I found my rare limited edition X-Men comic (well, at least part of the cover of it- it was mangled and torn) "repacked" in with our automotive supplies. 60% of our dishes, which had been packed by Ericka, who packs things professionally for traveling theatre companies, were shattered.

So our move cost us $3,400 to use this moving van company.
I'd say don't use them, but they get sued so often they have a different name every week. All I can suggest is please be more cautious then we were. Way, way more cautious.

We'd saved up $10,000.
We were out $3,400.
For those of you keeping score, that left us with $6,600.

We'd left my 11-year-old mattress at home, which meant we had to buy a new mattress, which was $1,000, including delivery.
This left us with $5,600.

In LA, most places do NOT come with a fridge- surprise! I have no idea where they GO, but they're not in any apartments when you get there. Somewhere, perhaps the La Brea Tar Pits, millions of refridgerators lie in wait of they day they are discovered by Anthropologists of the Future. These Scientists will deduce what I already know: Los Angelinos are dicks, and take their fridge away just so you can't have one.
If you Craig's list it you can get one in "decent" condition for $500.
We were fortunate to have a friend in Jenn, who is loaning us her brand-new fridge. It's clean and large and cold and we love it.
We still had $5,600.

Most places we could afford did not come with Central Air, so plan on spending at least $100 for a window box unit. Or two. You'll want two. Plan on spending $200.

We bought one unit, but again, Jenn saved the day (actually the whole Summer!) and loaned us a second unit for our bedroom window. This has been a gift that keeps on giving, because during the day, the one in our living room keeps the desert heat of the city from killing us in our apartment. It's loud and imperfect, but it's soooo cold and a joy to have. At night, the one in our bedroom acts with dual-purpose: keeping us cool and creating white noise to drown out the sounds of the raving lunatics on the streets. Our windows are ground level, so we hear EVERYTHING on our street without these as sound buffers. Every arrest, every argument, every Schizophrenic freak out, every Ambulance Siren, every wailing drunk, every chatty whore, every whining Tranny. Everything.

We moved into a 1-bedroom 1-bathroom place in the heart of Hollywood. This costs us a Deposit of $1,300 and then our first month's rent was (and is) $1,300.
Because we live in Hollywood, there is NO parking. If you want to give yourself a panic attack and try to parallel park on an incline while people are zooming around you into incoming traffic while you're backing up a hill, be my guest- if you're lucky enough to find a spot. Or, you can circle, like we did, for up to 45 minutes at a time before giving in and using the city parking garage adjacent to our building. This costs $10, whether you're in there 5 minutes or 12 hours. If you're parked for 12 hours AND 5 minutes, bam- another $10.
Because of the really high rate of vehicular theft and GTA in our neighborhood, (one car is broken into or stolen every single night within a mile of our apartment,) it's a numbers game. It's not a matter of IF we get broken into, it's WHEN. And if you leave ANYTHING in your car it's an open invitation for a busted window. This has happened to countless friends of mine out here. Even the suction mount of a GPS implies that the GPS unit might be hidden in the car, so strip it, buddy. Or pay an insurance deductible for a new window. Every week.
I parked on Franklin Street, near my street, once, and someone decided to drag their car key alllll along the side of every car on the street. Bastards.
Long story short, it got too disturbing to have to tiptoe past sleeping homeless people to get inside our cars. It's cold at night in LA, and it would be in their best interests to try and break a window- if they score something they can sell, awesome for them. If they get caught, they spend the night in jail where they can have a shower, a meal, and free butt-sex.
Plus, parking over shattered tempered glass was unsettleing- the person parked there right before you was robbed. So, we pay a monthly fee of $100 per car to park in the garage unlimited. This makes our monthly rent $1500 for a 1BD/1BTH.
For those of you keeping score,
$5,500 minus $1,300 minus $1,300 minus $200 for parking =

Now, if you don't become a California citizen and start paying state taxes, and getting your car emissions checks, you are taking a risk. If you're pulled over for any reason (tail light's out, you're black, etc.) then they can fine you $500 for flying under their radar. AND you have to get your car smog-checked, which is $60. Unless your car is older, and needs a new catalytic converter, which is also outrageously expensive. That times two for me and Jay... yikes.

Groceries are cheap at Trader Joes and Target and expensive at Ralph's and Albertson's. You have to go to all four to get everything you need for a household.
We spent about $300 on cleaning supplies and restocking all our food.

This brings our total to: $2,400

You might get free cable, water and power with your building, but you'll also get a monthly gas bill in the cold months.. It's around 7 to 15 bucks each month.

Sign up with Central Casting so you can do background work! This costs $25 per person, but you can start work right away if you speak fluent Farsi, are old with your own poodle, a size 4 with your own stenograph machine, or have a ferrari from 1982-1987.
It's so hard to get work because so little is being made in LA, but if you call the lines at just the right time, you can get on a crowd scene or a "passerby" and be OK. Here's how the pay rate for that goes:

Extra work nets you $8/hr, if you're not in SAG. You come home with $80/day after a long day and taxes. And you don't have to pay to eat that day.

If you ARE in SAG, congratulations! (You will never work.) If you do get lucky and score a day, which will be rare, you'll get $140 or so.

Jay decided to join a Calling Service, which calls him instead of him calling an automated help line. This service charges $60 per month. Jay thinks he'll need new headshots before he goes soliciting any agents. Those will be expensive too.

So, subtract $25, $25, and $60, and that leaves us with:

I did a ton of volunteering, and worked three internships at the same time for free for three months, trying to make ANY connections which would lead to a paying job. They only lead to other non-paying jobs, because they knew I was a chump.

Occasionally, my friend Launa would hire me on (and pay me!) as a personal assistant, and a little bit of cash would float our way. This is what we used for rent, which could only be paid in cash.
I worked Halloween Horror Nights and Grinchmas while Jay took a job as a living statue in New York to try and help make ends meet. We'd been in town 6 months- we couldn't run out of money yet!

I took a job I knew I'd loathe (pornceptioning) because we needed the money. We also needed the insurance benefits, badly. So I sucked it up (metaphorically) for as long as I could, then after my insurance kicked in it was time to go. I thought I might have to travel home for some peak summer hours just to make enough money to pay rent for an empty apartment in LA. Jay was traveling as a Production Assistant, and the pay isn't terrific but it's getting us by while I'm temping and picking up the odd job around town, cleaning spiderwebs out of shoes, mopping up semen, etc.

Other penny-pinching methods come in to play, too, if you get creative- visiting Planned Parenthood (a free clinic) for your lady-part needs is scary, but helpful. Food stamps are also an exciting, morale-destroying way of saving on the grocery budget. Eating bunless hot dogs- and nothing but bunless hot dogs- for a few days will surely make you smile next time you go to balance the ol' pocketbook. Fruit and meat are luxuries of the past. Forget them- you can get everything you need from a generic supplement vitamin! I've saved dozens of dollars by not shaving my legs when Jay's out of town! In fact, spending an entire day in bed, with the curtains drawn and the air conditioner mercifully blocking out the world, not eating or bathing for days on end has been a really economical way of life!

We'd LIVED off our remaining credit cards, which vanished FAST. I used my card to fly to and from Florida so I could stay current at Universal in case we flame out here and have no choice but to move back. I had to fly home to meet their attendance requirements, and keep a job waiting for me just in case.

Despite the fact that we'd scratched just enough work up to barely pay our rent in cash and buy food, we have been unable to create any savings. Plus, shit happens:
You will break an axle. You will be attacked by hostile natives. You will get dysentary and die. But for real- You'll get sick and have to go to the doctor. I did. ($100.) I also popped a tire on LA's swiss-cheese pot-hole streets. ($140.) My cat got really, really sick and it cost us $2,300 to save his life.
At a certain point, your credit card companies will catch on that your debt-to-income ratio has changed, and they will reduce your credit limit to practically nothing without warning. This happened to us last week.

This brings our Grand Total tooooo:
$290 remaining.

So, after parking passes ($200) and groceries, there goes the last of our "savings" and the last of our credit.
We're both working, and we made rent again this time, but it's slow-going to find temp work, and Jay's traveling show wraps at the end of this month.

It's been a year and two months.
And that, friends, is $10,000 worth of Los Angeles.

LA Stories- Porn Again Virgin, Pt. 2: "UniPorn"

The next day, I drove way up into the Hollywood hills for the second (and last) day of the shoot. I'd learned the night before that it would be a Day of Squirting, so I ate a light breakfast and hoped I wouldn't see it again. Nick was gone that day, so any clean-up duty was going to fall on my shoulders if Reese wasn't around. I said a sticky prayer and went in.

The home was gorgeous, and overlooked LA in an ironic, mocking fashion that said to me, "Hey, congrats- you're finally inside a House on The Hills. Now go get a mop, there's jizz on the floor."

If I thought I'd seen "squirting" the night before, I was in for a surprise- and so was the crew! After the previous nights puddling, we were ready for about a cup of liquid to splash out of the Talent's vagina- I can honestly say no one was prepared for what happened next:

Garry held one camera while the Camera Guy held the other. I held cables and stood next to the Camera Guy. A really nice pair of Porn Stars were on a couch outside by the pool, and the girl seemed to be enjoying herself. "Oh God, I'm gonna come- here it comes!"
Yeah, yeah- we'd seen it before- we were wrong:
A hot, thick, ropy jet of fluid shot out like a fire hose from between the girl's legs, streaming 8 feet across the patio and dousing the sliding glass door, which, mercifully, was closed.
The liquid exploded everywhere- I leaped backwards out of the way, Matrix-style, leaving the poor Camera Man to catch the brunt of it.
"WHOA!" shouted the stunned Director.
"Oh, did I get you?" asked Firehose.
"No," said the Camera Man, wiping the side of his face with his shirt. "You got me."
"Whuh..." I stammered, intelligently.

Garry was thrilled- you'd think he'd discovered porn for the first time. He urged everyone to keep going, and wore a kid-on-Christmas grin for the rest of the day.
I thought for sure that after that display, we were safe, but we were completely stunned when she did it again- and AGAIN! It was like on the Discovery Channel when they show how giant squids work- it was freakish and really, really strangely impressive!
"Where is all that coming from?!?" we asked.
Firehose just smiled- she was having a lot of fun shocking us.

By now, I'd learned to hide completely behind the camera man, and I'd covered my hair with a bandana. I put my sunglasses on, like protective goggles, and pulled my mouth and nose under my shirt. I was NOT about to take it in the face- I'm not that kind of girl.

We wrapped that scene, and Reese mercifully cleaned up the couch.
Then we re-arranged the heavy furniture in the living room for another scene with another couple. I'd completely thrown my back out the week before working for free on a horror movie, and all this furniture moving was killing me. Crouching all day wasn't helping, but it did yield a discovery:

I found a new-looking pink thong under a couch with some dust-bunnies... We were not the first porn crew to use this location.

Garry wanted to do special "Squirting" production stills, so he had Reese teach me how to prepare a water douche for the girls.
I've never used, touched, or even SEEN a douche in my life.
We used to have boxes of them laying around the Porn Office, but I never opened them because a) they weren't mine and b) ew, gross.
They look kind of like sinus-rinse squeeze bottles.

Reese showed me how to un-screw the rubbery top and pour out the vinegary fluid inside, then replace it with slightly warm water.
He tested the temperature of the sink water by holding his wrist under the faucet's stream, like a mom checking a milk-bottle's temperature for her infant.
Reese, again, is pretty cool. Here is a fun story about how nice Reese is to these girls, as told to me by Reese:

"So this girl was on her period, but she really needed the money so she still takes the scene. To make sure the guy's dick doesn't show any blood on it, she takes little make-up sponges and shoves them up inside her. So they do the scene and everything's fine, right, except afterwards, she's taking forever in the bathroom. I ask her what's wrong and she says that she can't get the last sponge out. She says she's gonna have to go to the gyno to get it removed, and that it'll cost her all the money she made working that day. (This company, though run by awesome people, is notorious for paying the lowest rates in town.) So I don't want her to cry, so I offer to take it out for her. She sits down on the toilet, and I reach in, knowing it's all bloody in there, but I can't show any disgust on my face because I don't wanna hurt her feelings, and I fish out the sponge for her, and she was really happy."

That's how nice Reese can be.
Reese is also the guy who offered me $150 to masturbate on a toilet for one of his "Security Cam POV" scenes. Even though he assured me that my face would be blurred, I politely declined.

Reese is trying to make a name for himself, and although he's well-endowed, he hasn't taken off as a porn star. He has directed a few POV scenes, which involve him paying a girl $150-$200 to perform oral sex on him while he holds a video camera. I always knew when he had a shoot coming up because he'd change his lunch habits. Usually, Reese likes to eat burgers, but the day prior to a shoot, he'll eat healthy foods so his fluids will taste better. I find this very considerate, but when I ask him why his rates are so low, he tells me, "hey, if one girl won't do it for that low, there's another girl who hasn't worked in 3 weeks who's sitting on her couch and she needs the money. I pay that low because I can."
Reese is a contradiction.

But, nevertheless, I prepare this water-douche for the next girl, and watch as she squeezes the water in her vagina, then spectacularly sneezes it out in a glittery rainbow prism display of skill and prowess. They snap several pictures of this- then it's time for sex again.

We started filming the second scene of the day, and, if the first girl had impressed us, this next girl was by no means a let-down.
They started their performance on the couch, and then, like a sprinkler, she spasmed and shook and hosed pretty much everything in the room. I was protected, but the cables I had to hold were now sticky. Ugh.
When the Talent took a break to grab some water, I grabbed my gloves. I pretty much looked like one of the Sand People from Star Wars at this point, but I didn't care. $6/hour is NOT enough for me to handle bodily fluids.

Sprinkler took the water I brought her and drank the entire bottle without stopping to breathe- I was impressed. She told me that the secret was to breathe through the nose while drinking.
This is an old technique taught in Marching Band, called "circular breathing." I could never do it. Now I'm kind of glad.

When they were ready, we resumed filming and she performed fellatio on her costar. This was the grossest thing ever, because Sprinkler may have been breathing the whole time, but her throat, esophagus, and stomach made the most wretched noises I've ever heard.
Her organs were gagging and convulsing, and the sound seemed magnified as it came out of her marvelous nose and throat.
As her co-star moaned in pleasure, Sprinkler gagged and made little pre-vomiting noises.
I have a sympathetic stomach- if I'm around someone who is vomiting, I will vomit. I can't help it; it's just how it is- so when I heard her body making those sounds, my stomach spasmed and began to duplicate what hers was doing. For the next hour, I begged and pleaded with my breakfast to stay put. I tried so hard to think of anything else, but the hardwood floors and bare walls echoed the sounds. I was in hell.
And my cables were getting Sprinkled on.
Finally, she gushed for a final time, and we set up for the final shot of the day.
And guess who the lucky Star was?

If you read part 1 of this blog and you guessed Angel, you're right! Yayyy!
Angel spent hours in make-up- she gets hair extensions placed for every scene she does. Head hair, not pubes. Porn Stars don't have pubes. It's like a rule. In fact, only one girl, Sprinkler, had a small thin landing strip, which prompted Reese to greet her with the phrase, "Hey, Fuzzy!"

While we waited for Angel, I asked the camera man what the deal was with Sprinkler's sound effects. He shrugged and said that some guys were into it, because that sound reminds them of how it feels when a girl's throat tightens around the tip of their penis.

I made a mental note to give my husband a huge hug when I saw him next, for not being that type of guy.

I was trying to be prepared ahead of time, so I took the last douche from the box and filled it with water.
Since we weren't given a lunch break (or lunch) that day, I stole off to the craft table (which I'd set up) as soon as my stomach was settled. My back was killing me. As I stretched, I saw that Angel was hovering around, staring at herself in a mirror.
"Hey, you," she said, talking to me but staring at herself.
"Hello," I said.
"Gimmie some gum."
Uhhhh... I forsook my sandwich and ransacked the supplies for gum, eventually finding her stash. I handed the pack to her, and she turned her head away from me while she snatched it out of my hand. I wanted to be prepared to go home that night, so I started packing up the food. There was an empty trash can, so I threw away the last water-douche.

Soon, it was time to film, but at the last minute, Angel decided that she wanted to douche herself. Probably because she doesn't want another incident like the Great Yeast-Infection Scene of 2010. But for whatever reason, this only occurs to her right then. Like it's a surprise that she's going to be using her vagina that day.
There's a mad scramble, during which I have to confess that not only did I un-douchify the last douche, but I'd thrown it away. I showed Reese the totally clean and otherwise empty trash bag I'd thrown it away in, and asked him if he wanted to offer that to Angel.

He was horror-stricken at the idea, telling me, "you wouldn't put something inside you that someone else has been handling, would you?"
I look back into the living room where the male Porn Star is jerking off in preparation.

I was halfway down the mountain in my car on a madcap race to buy a douche when I got called back on my cellphone- it's Reese. "Never mind," Reese said. "Angel changed her mind."

I get back and Reese is trying to hit on Angel to lift her mood:
"I mean, do you bleach your anus? Because it looks like you've never pooped!"
She rolls her eyes at him. No dice.

We start filming. Angel performs oral for about 10 minutes until Garry notices that she's still got the gum in her mouth.
Angel is the kind of girl who says "Gummies!" and then spits her gum out into a PA's hand. I am NOT that PA. She fully expected to spit her gum into my hand and looked insulted when I put my gloves on and walked a trash can over to her.
We resume filming, and finally, finally, it's time for the Fip and then the Pop.
But the Pop doesn't come. Something about Angel's vagina does this to people- we wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and then FINALLY he does his thing and we can go home.

Reese handles the couch.

While I'm helping clean-up, the freshly-showered male porn star comes out to say goodnight and thank us. He's a nice guy too. In fact, everyone but Angel was an absolute gem.
"So what's with all the gloves?" he asks me. "Do you work for OSHA or something?"
I really didn't know how to answer...
"I guess I'm shy around fluids," I say. "You know, squeamish?"
He laughs. "Like you've never touched another person's fluids before!"
At this point, Reese and Garry (who know about my relationship with Jay) pipe in.
"Oh, Jaime's special," Garry says. "She's only been with one person."
"What!" The porn star is shocked.
"Yeah," says Reese. "That's pretty rare in this industry."
"Wow," says the Porn Star to me. "You're like a Unicorn!"
I take it as a compliment. I AM like a Unicorn, dammit!
...Or, since I've only worked one porn set, a "Uniporn."

It's finally the end of the night- my back is on fire while I'm rearranging furniture and Garry comes up to thank me for my hard work. He mentions that he's putting an extra $50 in my check because I did a great job and he knows yesterday was a long day. I love Garry.

The furniture is reset, the sticky cables are wrapped, and I'm ready to go. I wait while Reese writes my check and insinuates that he's the one who talked Garry into bumping my check up a little. At this point, I know what he's up to.
"So, we might shoot bonus footage with Angel tomorrow- do you want to come back and work?"
"Aw, thanks for the offer, but my back is really jacked up- I'd suffer through it, but at what, $8 an hour I'd rather see if I can get some extra work since it pays better."
"That's OK," Reese says. "I completely understand- there's some girl on her couch right now who'll do it for $100."

I bade him goodnight and drove off as fast as I could.

LA Stories- Porn Again Virgin, Pt. 1

You don't work 6 months in the Porn Industry without making some friends. And, like any other office, I wound up chatting with my co-workers and learning from them exactly what it's like to do their jobs. I never had a chance to PA on an actual porn set because I was always riding a desk while others were riding bareback, but I was always very, very curious...

Not "Bi-Curious." Just regular curious.

And so the day came when I no longer worked as a Pornceptionist, and I was free to take the job when a friend of a friend recommended me as a PA for an upcoming shoot.

Here are the reasons I did it:
1) It was a movie for Adam & Eve, a very reputable and "safe" company to work for.
2) I knew the Director from my work, and I consider him to be the Garry Marshall of Porn. He's a gentleman, and very respectful and polite. I knew he'd treat everyone (including me) very well.
3) I wanted to write this blog.
4) There was a second more experienced PA on the set, and I was promised by the Director's Assistant that I would ONLY be dealing with "clean" stuff, like craft services and bringing people water.
5) It was just a straight-up intercourse movie- no nasty stuff, no anal, no fetish weirdness.
6) Sadly, I really, really needed the money. $100/day for 2 days equals, well, $200.

I'd rather regret doing something than wonder for the rest of my life "What If," so... here we go- the story of my first (and last) weekend of Porn!

I woke up early on the first day, and met the crew at a soundstage. Most of that day we'd be shooting a film comprised of "fantasy" sequences in which a person is interviewed about a harrowing experience during which they were saved (and F'd) by a sexy female. I set up the kitchen and met the rest of the crew:
The Director, who we'll call "Garry"
The Director's Assistant, who we'll call "Reese"
and The Other PA, who we'll call "Nick."

Reese had impressed upon me the paramount importance of "looking busy" that day, as Adam & Eve Corporate Executives were visiting the set, and they wanted to make sure Director Garry was using everything his budget had called for. Two PA's on a small shoot is potentially highly unnecessary, but Reese suspected that the Execs would be thrilled that a female was on the set doing something other than blowing people.

So, clad in a Triple-XL Adam & Eve t-shirt, I set up Reese's box of breakfast goodies for the cast of 4 and crew of 6 and 4 Execs. The spread was nicer than any student film I'd ever worked on, and I was already impressed.

The Talent started to arrive, and to my surprise, everyone was friendly, upbeat and made a point to say hello to me. I'd learned from experience not to speak until spoken to, and these people talked to me like I was a human being. This is a rare occurrence for a PA. Or maybe they were just confused because I was a girl.

Since the camera guy had everything ready, and the grip was all set, there wasn't a lot for me or Nick to do, so we mostly walked with purpose from one end of the soundstage to the other, looking busy as requested. I set up a bed to be "the bed," smoothing out wrinkles on a sheet I knew would be a biohazard within the hour.

After 4 hours in makeup, the Talent was ready, so I assumed the position behind the camera man and gathered the wires so they wouldn't tangle as his dolly moved along the track.
Yes, they set up a dolly track. I'm telling you- good stuff!
Garry grabbed a second camera, Nick took ahold of those cables, and here is how it worked:

The Talent got mostly undressed and posed in various positions for still photographs. These were set up with gorgeous lighting and are to be used for the images a consumer would see on the DVD box cover. The Talent, in accordance with the direction of the photographer and Garry's checklist, is photographed stripping each other, then performing oral sex, then penetration. Then, to simulate what it would look like if the male had ejaculated on the female, they plan out which position they Talent will be in during the "Pop," (climax scene) and the female Talent receives a hearty dousing of Cetaphil lotion on her chest, abdomen, buttocks, back, or face. Yes, Cetaphil. The same product I use to remove my makeup from Grinchmas.
Cetaphil: it's non-comedogenic, and it looks like jizz!
Adam & Eve doesn't cater to a raunchy crowd, so this time Reese poured fake jism on our Talent's breasts. Photos were taken, then she's wiped off with baby wipes and it's on to actual sex!

The Talent began to have sex, and the Camera Man shot angles of their genitals while Garry shot angles of their faces and torsos. That way, an editor can create two entirely different scenes- one Soft Core and one Hard Core.

Garry would talk every so often and tell the Talent "give me 30 more seconds of that then transition," or, "We're going for another 2 minutes of this then the pop, OK?"

The actors would speak the language of porn to one another, then, like total professionals, move gracefully into whatever Garry had asked.

I was unaware of this, but, in most porn, when you "see" a guy ejaculate while his penis is inside the woman, it is faked. It's called a "FIP," which stands for "Fake Internal Pop." He fakes an orgasm, then the Talent arranges themselves how they were for the photos, and it's up to the Male Talent to fulfill his contract.

Porn Actors arrange a fee ahead of time, and each actor agrees to a certain number of minutes in each position. It's pre-decided what they will and won't do on a per-scene basis. How many scenes they want to perform in a day is up to them, but when the Director expects an Actor to ejaculate, that's their job. These guys were pros, and even though they'd been ploughing away at their co-star for the better part of an hour, they pulled out, tugged on themselves until they were ready, then told Garry, "Gimmie 45 seconds and I'm there."
Total accuracy- I was amazed.

The first pair I watched were adorable- Garry had to cut for a moment to make an adjustment with the film equipment, and they actors (who had never worked together before) were having so much fun they just kept going at it! These were two people who'd been very friendly and cordial with me, and here they were, naked and having sex with 10 other people in the room. It was fun to watch them- they had a great chemistry (obviously) and were really enjoying each other. They liked positions that Adam & Eve didn't want in the movie, so in between takes they'd roll around like two wrestling puppies. Both were extremely athletic and sweating- nay, frothing- like crazy. Reese was great about toweling them off in between takes. He's all about the cuntinuity.

These two were animalistic, and giving off so much heat that the lights seemed cool by comparison. I'd taken vitamins that morning, and when the room heated up and all I could smell was sex and fluids, I suddenly became incredibly nauseous. I held onto those cables for dear life, but my vision irised in and I wondered if they'd keep going while I threw up. Miraculously, I held it in, but I couldn't look directly at them or I'd feel sick.

Reese kept his word, and I didn't have to do anything nasty- I had to bring a plastic bin containing lubricants and baby wipes towards the Talent, but the Girl said she never used lube, and Nick handed them the baby wipes on an as-needed basis. At the end, all I had to do was drag over a small trash can for the Talent to discard their wipes after they'd cleaned themselves off.

After that scene, Nick and I were asked to bundle up the sweaty, cum-covered bedclothes and put them in a bag. Wide-eyed and fearful, we rock-paper-scissored to decide who would bundle and who would hold the bag open. I lost, but I'd brought heavy-duty gloves and shoved the comforter and sheets in the bag with the tenderness with which one would plunge a toilet.

The next scene was about female soldiers in the gulf war. I debated pointing out that the green camouflage set may have been inaccurate, but decided to keep my mouth shut. In fact, I wanted as little from that set in my mouth as possible.

Two girls performed the next scene- one who'd been very cordial, and one who I could sense was a bit of a Diva. Let's call her "Angel," for irony. Angel had ignored me, which was fine, but she had an attitude for sure. I heard this story about her from another Porn PA:

"Angel came in and started the scene, but started complaining that her vagina was hurting. Turns out she had a full-blown yeast infection, but came in to work anyway. Well, the yeast started to show during the scene- the guy'd pull his dick out and you'd see this white gook on it, right, so Angel goes to douche and then uses some sort of numbing cream on her vagina.
She comes back and starts the scene again, but doesn't bother to tell the poor guy, right? So his dick goes completely numb and he can't do the Pop and he's thinking it's his fault until she finally tells him. The guy couldn't feel a thing so Reese had to go in and stunt-cock."

Yes, stunt-cock is a real thing. Reese lives to Stunt-cock. But back to the scene.

The girls do okay. It was supposed to be a hot girl-on-girl fantasy scene, but after the electric partnership if the first duo, it was fairly obvious these girls had no chemistry. I blame Angel. She'd stop in the middle of filming and complain about her neck positioning, or the cot was uncomfortable, or where's her water?
Where was her water?
Oh- that was my job.
Angel had "special" Fiji water just for her, labeled with her name on it and hidden away in the back of the refrigerator. I literally ran to go get it, and then realized that it might smear her make-up if she drinks it from the bottle. There were no straws on set, so I ran to my car and gor one of my personal, very special straws. It's from my favorite Boba Tea place in Orlando, and I keep it in my car because it reminds me of home. I ran this special straw and the special water back to set and held it out for Angel.
I hold it out for her. She ignores me, and I stand there with the drink in my hand, arm extended like an idiot.
"I brought you a straw, too" I say, as a prompt for her to take it.
She makes a "Ffffh" sound with her lips, and takes the drink and straw from my hand without looking at me.
The girls resume filming, and then it's on to a scene involving dialogue! Noooo!
I'd once pitched a script to Garry, who told me that whereas it was a great concept, it was a little too "cerebral" for his demographic.
After watching this poor girl stumble over line after line, they took a break. Garry, who'd spent the last hour feeding the girl four or five words at a time, leaned over and murmured to me:
"See what I meant about cerebral dialogue?"
I heart Garry.
While they toiled away on the paragraph, I was sent to pick up Director's Chairs for Garry, Angel, and one of the visiting Execs.
I returned while they were lunching, and set up the chairs in front of the monitor at the Video Village. Nick approached me and we talked about what time we might expect to leave that evening- he was really upset and wanted to leave early because his Aunt, who had practically raised him, was very sick. We were talking about that in the empty soundstage when Garry suddenly burst through the door with Angel.
"Oh, Jaime- would you mind moving to your left a little?"
Garry showed Angel her chair- the chair I'd been resting my hand on...
I knew Garry didn't care, but Angel had seen my touching her chair.
She hated me from that moment forward.
After lunch, it was time for Angel's scene with a Male Pornstar who proclaims himself a "Squirting Instructor," and could make any woman "Squirt." I was then informed that we'd wrapped the first movie and were now about to shoot a second, different movie. About squirting. Oh God.

After lunch, (which I'd fetched, set up and cleaned,) Angel posed for her photos.
I was standing near the set and noticed that she was getting really snippy with the photographer. Reese pulled me aside and said, "Angel's getting touchy, so can you give her some space?" I did, gladly- I looked busy, elsewhere.
We'd begun at 8AM, and I realized that since Jay wasn't home, there was no one to feed my cats. It was now 10PM. While Angel was being touched up in makeup, I asked Reese what time he thought we'd wrap.
"Oh, within 2 hours, easy."
That was impossible, and since I knew Nick was there and we were useless at the moment, I asked Reese if he'd mind if I drove the 6 miles to my house and fed my cats. He promised we'd be shooting any minute and out the door by midnight.
Reese wanted us to stay put. So we did, and, two and a half hours later, we resumed filming.

First, Angel was interviewed about what an awesome squirter she is. When Garry asked her what it felt like the first time it happened, she said, (and this is awesome) "I dunno. I mean, I know it's not urine, or whatever, but it just comes out and it smells like dog pee."
That was the end of the interview.

Nick had to go home at that point- he got a phone call which let him know that his Aunt had died- he was going to be gone the next day as well. I felt awful for him, and very, very sorry for myself- this meant that I would have to deal with gross stuff.

Angel and The Squirting Instructor (who is charming and funny and curved like a cartoon sausage) finally began their scene- he was impressive, and laid to rest any doubts I had about female pornstars faking orgasms during filming.
Angel might not have felt 100% of every "Oh God oh GOD!!!," but the Squirt Instructor was brilliant and for the final "money shot," Angel produced a small puddle in his hands.

I've never been so happy to see something so gross in my entire life. A few more photos needed to be taken, and Garry asked if I would mind grabbing a towel and drying off the couch they'd been porning on- panic-stricken, I looked at Reese, who heroically jumped in and said, "I'll do it." Whew, I thought- good. Reese had kept his word, and I was spared from the grossness. I was (and am) very grateful for him. There aren't a lot of men in this business who would remember or keep a promise to a PA... Yay for Reese.

Garry happily announced that we were wrapped, and then asked if I would please mop up the floor. Reese was nowhere to be seen... So, knowing that this blog lay in the future, and because Garry asked so nicely, right then and there, I performed the best swallowing scene of the day: I swallowed my pride. Gloved and nauseous, I mopped up the porn juice from the soundstage floor. I thought about my parents. I thought about my college degree. I thought about my MENSA membership, and my general goals in life. I tried to think about absolutely anything other than what I was actually doing...

Angel was right about one thing: Fiji water or not, it DID smell like dog pee.
We finally got everything packed in Reese's truck, and I headed home at 2:30AM.
At $100/day, I'd just spent the grossest work day of my life making $6/hour.
Funny- I'd seen three couples have sex, but I felt totally fucked.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

L.A. Stories- LAir Quality

I visited LA as a teenager, and even then, I could sense that there was a distinct and palpable energy in the air out here. It's an electric quality unlike any other, and I wanted to be a part of it. It felt like a massive collective consciousness- the living, breathing pulse of a city populated by Creatives. I breathed it in, and I knew it was powerful- and I wanted to harness it.

From that instant on, I knew my destiny: to live in LA and be a writer. I'd decided I wanted to write long ago, and, at the age of 14, fixated on the medium of Television. I think it's important to make the world a better place, and my way of contributing would be to make people happy by making them laugh, or distracting them from their troubles with something amusing. I firmly believe in a Ripple Effect- make one person happy, and they'll spread some joy to others, and they'll create more happiness, etc. I thought that writing comedy for TV would magnify my Ripple Effect and I could contribute to the happiness of lots and lots of people. I wrote an essay along those lines and was awarded a college scholarship, so, reinforced, I continued on my path.

I took my free ride to college, and, with another clever essay, was one of 30 applicants (out of thousands) to be accepted into the Film School. I thrived in the writing classes, and believed that this was further evidence that I was on the right path.
Jaime, horribly depressed and beyond broke, stares at her cats.
What the hell was I thinking?!?

The cats don't answer. They don't have to. Fact is, I know exactly what I was thinking. I remember tearfully proclaiming to my husband that I'd die if we didn't move to LA, because, "I wasn't fulfilling my creative potential, and I'm an artist, and I'll die artistically and my body would surely follow suit." I swore up and down that I could never be at the right place at the right time in Orlando, and to meet with opportunity, I needed to be in LA.
"I just need a chance," I promised. "Just you wait- the air out there is magic- it's charged with energy- once I'm there I'll meet the right people, and... and..."
I must've made a good argument, because after 8 years of living a secure, stable, post-collegiate life, we finally made the leap to LA.

It wasn't a horrible decision- my parent's divorce, the drastic reductions in hours at our jobs as performers, and the general economy guaranteed us that 2009 was going to be a tough year. "Why the hell not," we figured. "If we're going to struggle, let's make it count."

There's that Sheryll Crow line, "No one said it would be easy. But no one said it'd be this hard." Yeah. That about sums it up. We arrived in the city during the worst economic crisis in 35 years. We extra'd. I did three months at three unpaid internships. I worked as a Pornceptionist, and answered phones for the porn industry for 6 months. I did Personal Assistant work. I cleaned spiderwebs out of someone's boots. I scooped mosquito larvae out of a fountain. I mopped up sex fluids. Yes, I'm not kidding. I mopped up jism on a porn set. Why? Because I needed the money. Sorry, Mom.

My husband, The Actor, has attended two auditions since our arrival last year, both for student films. He hasn't had a chance to try beyond that, because he's so busy trying to score paying work instead. He's done Grip work, PA work, Electrical work- more physical labor than any year-long contract at a Theme Park could've prepared him for. He's taking it in stride- and his new muscles are gorgeous. But he's not exactly fulfilling his dream, either. He didn't write an essay for college, but if he had, it wouldn'tve included "I want to wrap cables for 16 hours so my wife can quit her porn job and quit crying every morning when her alarm clock goes off."

I discovered, recently, that I'd been right about the air being special out here- but it's not a positive charge. Scientists have proven that a negatively charged ion produces more of an effect on the human body than a positively charged one. It's what we "feel" during a thunderstorm, or a prison gang-bang. Never seen a prison gang-bang? Call me, I'm sure my porn company has a whole series dedicated to them. My generous employers and co-workers gifted me with so many porn DVD's, they are literally propping up our furniture.

But back to Science:

In a laboratory experiment, Scientists pumped positive ions into a test group set up as a party. Nothing happened. Then they pumped in negative ions, and the party started to liven up. One can assume that LA, though all smiles and soap on the surface, is incredibly negative.
All those broken hearts and shattered dreams produce energy. Human Chemical Energy. And it has to go somewhere, so it floats around the atmosphere, creating the electric charge I felt even all those years ago.

Geographically, LA is surrounded by mountains, which only exist to make the weather stupid. The thick layer of smog which hangs like a death shroud over the city prevents any energy from dissipating naturally, and so, like a malevolent ghost, the negative energy lingers, then malingers, bonding to your lungs, entering your bloodstream, and becoming part of you. Possession. The lies and disappointments of 3 million souls is molecularly bonded with yours. Mazel!

The air is bad out here. What I sensed before was the Energy, and like a kid with a fork poking at a tempting socket, I wanted to be part of something, and I had no idea how painfully destructive it would be. The chemical ghosts of every unsold script, every failed audition, every unfulfilled longing- I breathe it in every second of every day. Now that I'm intimately familiar with LA's unique brand of pain and loneliness, I can taste it all too well.

Ready for more science?

Sharks have special sensors along their bodies that allow them to detect electrical impulses given out by living things. Sharks can also "smell," or sense, blood from 2 miles away.

This LA air is comprised of blood. There's blood in this water. And it scares me.

LA is happy town for Sharks, but I am not a Shark, and I don't ever want to be one. So I spend my days in this bloody, murderous electric air hungry and afraid. I could come out from my hiding place, but the Predators smell weakness 2 miles away. I wear a year of failure like a mouldering open wound on my face.

2 nights ago, I was typing my screenplay, which meant no TV or music was on to muffle the noises of Hollywood. The moon was full and I sat at my desk and listened to the 2nd arrest of the evening outside my barred window. I counted three bottles hurled at the brick walls of my apartment building. Shattered glass mingled with the dog shit and bum urine on the sidewalk I use every day. Several fights broke out along my street, and I heard two drunk women arguing until one cried. And cried. And sat outside my window in the broken glass and shit and urine and cried. One layer of brick away, just on the other side of the wall, I cried with her, for her, for myself. I knew that our anguish would rise up beyond us and join with the growing tempest of negativity, then settle back to earth to re-enter and poison our bodies.

I need a cleansing. I need a cure. I need an acid-proof rain coat. I need a plane ticket. I need to get out of my own head. I need to write the last 10 pages. I need a job.

I don't know what I need. But I know with every breath I take, it's gonna get harder to find it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

L.A. Stories- Common Whores Sense

In the world of Porn, paychecks come out on Wednesdays. Usually. Unless the company can't pay the perfomers, in which case the "talent" (a dubious distinction) drives all the way out to Chatsworth, only to be turned away empty handed and pissed off. Or pissed on, depending on the genre they participate in.

Our performers engage in a variety of "skill sets." When they come in to be photographed for a "go-see," they fill out a form stating what they're willing to do on camera and the types of scenes they're interested in performing. Here is the information we ask:

Legal Name

Stage Name

Date of Birth

Agent's Contact Info

How Many Scenes Performed

Weight/Height/Shoe Size

Breasts- enhanced or natural?

Ethnic Background


Tattoos/Scars/Piercings? Where?

Please circle what you will do on camera- Boy/Girl, Girl/Girl, Toys, Boy/Girl/Boy, Anal, ATM, Anal Toys, Double Anal, Double Vaginal, Double Penetration, Cum Swallow, Internal Cum Shot, Facials, Bukkake, Gang Bang, Squirting, Rough Sex, Interracial Scenes, or "Everything."

Please circle any other talents you have- Dancing, Singing, Play Musical Instrument

(Then they sign a contract stating that we can use their go-see photos for any reason, at any time, for any purpose, and never pay them anything. We're awesome like that.)

Each girl has this on her "permanent file," so we know what she'll do and what she won't do.

Often, an agent will bring in a herd of "ladies" and have them fill out paperwork. Many of these girls are from Eastern Europe, or South America, and don't speak English. I remember one Latin beauty asking her sleazeball agent, "What... bukkake?"
He answered with a jerk off motion close to her had. "Many guys. Come. Your face."
"Ohhh," she answered, eyes wide with confusion.

When they ask me what "ATM" stands for, I tell them that if they have to ask they probably shouldn't circle it.

A lot of girls circle that they'll perform Interracial Scenes, but only if they're paid a significant extra amount of money. Like they don't want to disappoint their parents or something. This happens frequently with our Asian performers, and I have to point out that a scene involving any actors who aren't also Asian is technically "Interracial."
"No," they explain, "White dudes ain't interracial."
"Ohhh," I say.
"I just don't wanna do no Black dudes."
"Ohhh," I say, checking my facebook.

...Last Wednesday was a great day- we could actually pay people for the jobs they did- hand, rim, blow- all kinds of jobs! Around 3PM, a pair of breasts walked in, followed by a giant pair of lips and a girl.

She told me her stage name and asked me if she had a check available, and sure enough, she did! Usually, the girls just smile, wave thanks and bounce out the door, but this girl frowned as she signed for her check.

"The amount's not right," she said.


I called our payroll lady, and was told to tell the girl to take it up with Jose Vega, the director. Apparently, Vega handles all the contracts and vouchers. Since each girl's daily rate is determined by the amount of skills she displays on the video, there is no one "standard" rate. Oral sex pays $150. Just intercourse nets the girl another $50. If she performs a "solo," (a masturbation scene,) that's another $50. Same with a verbal interview or peeing on camera. If a girl engages in anal sex, the price goes up a lot more. She can get $300 total if she does Anal. Special talents like "DP," (double penetration) or gang bangs earn a girl an additional $100 on top of that. Each performer negotiates ahead of time with the director, and signs a contract stating what she will and will not do on camera that day.

I encouraged the girl to take it up with Vega, who, sadly, is a notorious spaz and kind of flakey. Cocaine's a hell of a thing.

"Make sure you stay on him- I know you worked hard for that money," I said.
"You don't know the half of it!" she said. "Do you know what he did to me???"
Um, nooo?

She explained. These are her exact words:

"It was my first Anal scene, right? ANAL. No crazy shit, right? Ok, so I'm riding Manny Gaspacho, and Vega tells the other guy to DP me! Without even warning me first! Anal's anal, but DP? Oh HELL no- he's gonna pay me extra for that. You don't just DP someone without asking first!"

"God damn right you don't," I agree. "Get your money honey!"

We high five in girl-power solidarity. You do NOT DP someone without asking first. Everyone knows this.

She leaves and I bathe in hand sanitizer.

It's a Wednesday in Chatsworth.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

L.A. Stories- The President's Man

I met him at a nightclub. He was standing against a wall, dancing oddly, and alone. He caught my eye because it's not every night you can go to a hip-hop club and see a middle-aged Asian man in a 3-piece suit and tie, complete with tacky rhinestone American flag lapel pin. To ice his Stereotype cake, he was also sporting a bulky Nikon camera dangling from a thick neckstrap.

He'd been checking out my group of friends, and I was highly entertained when Tiffany, an amazing dancer in short-shorts and heels, decided to go dance with the curious Chinaman.
They made a really odd couple- she's a girl who exudes style and energy and sex appeal and spunk. Him, well... not so much. He jerked around awkwardly while she glided around him like silky smooth nutella on a dumpling. Not a good combination, but hilarious to watch.

After a moment, when she'd had enough fun and he was about to lose his audience, he turned his camera on. I thought he wanted to photograph Tiffany, and I walked over to provide her an out, but instead, he flips the camera around and shows us both photos of him... standing next to Obama.
Okay... this just went from really amusing to bizarre.

Desperate to prove his credentials, he shows us frame after frame of him standing next to or near both Barack and Michelle Obama, wearing the same awful suit and awful lapel pin.
We then asked the question you don't often hear at a nightclub:
"So how do you know the President?"

It wasn't a good environment for a conversation- the music was too loud to discern his answer, but we were burning with curiosity- we'd discovered something truly rare and strange- we just didn't know what to do with it!

I couldn't understand his explanation- his English wasn't fluent and the music was deafening- but I did hear him clearly ask "what do we do?"
Tiff's a dancer, I'm a writer. We told him as much.
"Oh," he says. "I need a writer! What kind of writing?"
Blogs. Sketch Comedy. Stand-up. How do I begin to explain...
"Funny stuff," I say. "Comedy."
His eyes light up. "I need comedy writer! Here!"
He hands me an embossed business card with a gold seal on it, identifying him as "Dr. Hong Feom Lee,"* and he's the President of a College-I've-Never-Heard-O

He indicates over the Jay-Z song that I should write my email down on the back of an extra card of his.
Tiffany jabs me with an elbow and arches an eyebrow, which is the International signal for:
"Do it- he knows the President!"
So I do- I want to know how this strange middle-aged Chinese club guy got to hang with Barack, and I wondered what possible use he could have for me.

We part ways and lose him in the crowd. It's not hard because he's 4 feet tall. At the end of the night, Tiffany makes me promise to email him and find out what his story is.
It turns out I didn't have to- at 9AM the next morning, there's an email from the good Doctor.
"Hello, it was a pleasure to meet you last night. I would like your help inserting comedy into my speeches. I would like to meet with you. You are cordially invited to my office to discuss this. Sincerely, Dr. Hong Feom Lee, President, College-You've-Never-Heard-Of."

Hmm. I sent him an email back, responding that it was nice to meet him too, and that I'd be happy to send him some samples to see if he liked my particular style.

A few hours later, I received an email from him, with slightly worse English:
"Hello, yes, please bring your samples to my office. I will like to read them. You can take ESL and Acting at my college. Sincerely, Dr. Hong Feom Lee, President, College-You've-Never-Heard-of."

Hmm. I sent him some samples- a few blogs, a couple of sketches, a portion from a live show I wrote, and part of a screenplay. It was a lot of material, but I wanted to give him a good idea of what I can offer. I sent out the email and then googled the College-I've-Never-Heard-Of. It is a dingy, cracked office building which caters to literally fresh-off-the-boat Asian immigrants looking to learn English. It offers "assimilation" courses, and yes, even acting. In English. Dr. Lee is indeed the President, and is shown in several photographs pointing to things as a crowd of bored Chinese people look on.
The website boasts that the "College" offers a 'snack room for eating,' and vending machines. Two are shown in the photographs, as proof.

By the time I was done looking at the website, (I'd spent maybe three minutes) I already had a response from Dr. Hong Feom Lee, President, College-With-Snack-Machines:
"I like your wringting very much! Please meet with me! Sincerely, Dr. Hong Feom Lee, President, Huge Rip-Off-Scam-For-People-Trying-To-Learn-English."

Frankly, I was a little surprised that he'd read all my wringting so quickly... The samples I'd sent him should've taken longer than 3 minutes, but, when a man makes up his mind about something...

"Dear Dr. Lee," I sent:
"I'm so glad you enjoyed the samples I sent. Feel free to email me a portion of a sample speech and I will add to it and send it back to you. If you're happy with the results, we can discuss rates for a complete re-write of a speech. I look forward to working with you- however, I travel often and will be unable to meet with you in person. I'll be happy to work with you any time online."

And I never heard from him again.


To this day, no one knows when or where The President's Man will appear. He's gone, now- he's in the wind. But beware, ladies- one day, when you least expect it, some Asian dude in a bad suit may scam on you at a nightclub- he may show you confusing, vaguely impressive photos- but don't be fooled... This man is not interested in your wringting. He's The President's Man- and he's only interested in one thing: giving you ESL and acting classes.

L.A. Stories- My Kitchen Interview with a Pop Star

You all know who she is. You know her songs, and you know her name. She was an International mega star, and, after a brief stint in the tabloids, is now all over TV. Here is the story of how I wound up chatting with her in her kitchen at 11:30pm...

Some of my guardian angels at my former internships still look out for me, and occasionally send me job leads. I received a notice at 1PM that a celebrity and her Producer husband were looking for a personal assistant to manage their affairs and travel with them to England for a few months. Must love kids, must be accessible at random hours when they call from Europe, etc. A positive, "can-do" attitude is a must.

Hey, I thought. I've got a can-do attitude! That's me!

I sent them a personalized cover letter challenging them to call me at 5AM, or whatever insane time they wanted. I told them that I love to travel and have spent time in England before. I explained that I'd worked as a theme park performer and had a history of entertaining children, and that anyone who willingly dresses up as a tapdancing starfish is pretty much guaranteed to have a "can-do" attitude.

A man called me a few hours later, told me that Pop Star and Producer loved my cover letter, and asked me if I'd be willing to meet with the couple and discuss the job further. He said they needed someone right away. They were only interviewing 6 people, but could I please come that night after they were done filming. At 11:30pm. That same night.

Sure! No problem! Weird times? Can-do attitude!

At 11:20, Jay and I pull up to the classic "gate." Jay rolls his window down, and the silver intercom speaker next to him says "Can I help you?"
We identify ourselves, and, like Open Sesame, the massive gate glides silently open, disappearing into the manicured hedges.
We drive up a long driveway and see a gorgeous house- huge windows, oversized luxury door, ivy growing on the walls... this is the guest house.
The ACTUAL house is breathtaking. Everything I'd want to quickly get used to and take for granted.
Suddenly, a giant comes out of the front door- Security. He explains that they're interviewing another candidate- could I wait in the car?
No problem. Can-do!!! See??? CAN-DO!!!

After a few minutes, a confused-looking frumpish girl walks out, and the Giant waves me in.
I walk into their house, (which is amazing, by the way) and there they are- the same people whose photos I'd been googling earlier. Standing in sweat pants in their dazzlingly bright kitchen.
She looks beautiful, but tired. He looks frustrated and annoyed.

I've learned from meeting enough crazy rich people not to try to shake their hand unless they offer it first. He did, she didn't. She looked up to smile briefly and say hello, then became intently focused on her blackberry phone.

"You're married?" begins the Producer. "You don't want this job."
I guess the Giant told them my husband drove me...
Producer explains that their last two Assistants left because their spouses gave them ultimatums after the crazy hours started to affect their marriage.

Producer asks me what my husband will say when I tell him I'm going to England for 4 months.
I said, "He'll probably say I'm getting even at him for going to New York for 4 months."
I explain that we're used to separating for the Greater Good- that we love each other but we're very focused on our careers right now, and we understand the occasional need to... no one is listening.

Pop Star is totally engrossed in her blackberry at this point. She's pressing buttons on the phone, and her massive canary yellow diamond flashes laser-like sparkles into my retinas.

Producer asks me how long I've been married, then sighs when I tell him the answer.

Producer looks at my resume and asks me what I'm doing working for porn. It does not SAY porn on my resume, but he recognized the company's name, which tells me that he's probably OK with porn.
I explain that I got hired through a friend of a friend, and that I was grateful because it provided me with health insurance.

He asks how much I make each week, and how much he'd need to pay me for paying for COBRA.
He's also never heard of COBRA, and starts to look more tired as the Giant chimes in to explain it to him.
I tell him I'd just be thrilled to have a job that wouldn't make my mom cry.
Pop Star looks up and says, "Oh, your mom might cry over this one, too..."

We talk briefly about my resume, and he warns me that their Assistant will not have an easy job.
I tell him about bailing out mosquito-infested larvae-water from my boss's fountain, and scraping spider webs from her Doc Martins.

He's about to ask me something else when Pop Star thrusts her phone an inch away from his nose. The small LCD screen illuminates the bags under his eyes- this man is tired.
"Look at this," she says. "Number 10."
He says nothing, but she is unfazed.
"Number 10," she insists again. "'Cause they think I'm fuckin' amazing!"

She resumes her position, hunched over her phone, leaning against the marble countertops. A supernova of light radiates from her ring.

Producer sighs. "So, we're making calls tonight or tomorrow. Thanks for coming by so late."

They both shake my hand and wish me a good night.

I went home and dreamed about cross-Atlantic flights and running up marble staircases with tea for Pop Star and her friends. Changing Dior Diapers and running errands with limitless credit cards. In my dreams, the inexplicable numerous rabbits that live near London-Heathrow Airport gathered to congratulate me- I was on my way!

The next day, my phone didn't ring, and I wasn't surprised. The Dream Rabbits were wrong- Producer and Pop Star's minds were made up before I walked in. And, as much fun as the fun parts would've been, something in my gut tells me I may have dodged a bullet. I'm OK with this. And, in the fleeting instant it takes for the light from a canary yellow diamond to dazzle your eye, I got to imagine what it would be like to be part of that world.

L.A. Stories- My Morning Oysters

When your friends move out to L.A., they'll all brag to you about the weather. "Oh, sure, it's hot," they'll say, condescendingly, "But it's a dry heat!" Smug bastards.
In Florida, we're well aware of the evils of humidity. We've all sweated through our clothes, and melted off a facefull of makeup while waiting to sign in for an audition. Slogging to work through a parking lot paved in what feels like molten butter has it's drawbacks, for sure. However, I would much prefer this easily remedied and anticipated yearly challenge than the side effects of this "dry heat:"
1) You hair loses its shine and falls out.
2) Your pets shed like there's no tomorrow.
3) Your skin is constantly dry. AAAAANNNND, (drum roll please)

When we first moved out, we thought that it might be a residual effect from our long journey through the desert. Then, we blamed in on slow acclimation. Now, we just accept it as part of Life in Los Angeles: Morning Oysters.
Allow me to explain.
Every morning, when I wake up, the first thing I have to do is pluck a "thing" from my nose.
It's a large, thin flake- about the size of a nickle and the consistency of a fish scale, and usually gold or green in color. Often, it's got crystalized dried blood mixed in, forming an effect not unlike Tiffany Glass.
This pliable flake is found adhered to my septum each morning, and it's always on the nostril that isn't smooshed against a pillow. It can appear in either nostril, but this phenomenon prefers the delicate ecosystem of the nostril with the highest altitude. It's always there in the mornings. Always. Like the sun. Or the homeless maniac in our parking garage.
Since our apartment has bars on the windows, and deadbolts on the doors, I can't blame any magic mucous fairy for placing this in my body. I have to be making it myself.
Because I must unwittingly spend my subconscious hours crafting something so special, I am reminded of how oysters make pearls. I think if somehow, I forgot for a series of mornings, to remove this little gem, one day I would sneeze and something the equivalent of amber would pop out and land on the hardwood floor with a rattle and thud. There'd even be DNA inside!
It's gross, for sure. The flake makes a clicking, suction noise when I dislodge it from my septum, and it's large enough that I have to DO something about it. It's not like a benign sneeze one can politely ignore- this, I have to place in a kleenex and throw away. (I don't collect them.)
In the early days, when I still had a sense of wonder about morning oysters, I'd wake up, sense the flake's presence, and go to the bathroom to try and see it. It's so substantial in size and mass that when I'd throw it away, I could hear it hitting the trash can liner bag.
There's a line about Hollywood in the song "Long December," by The Counting Crows...
'It's all a lot of oysters, but no pearls.'
Until my little A.M. creations become precious gemstones, I can only agree.
So enjoy your hot wet summer, Florida. You don't know how good your nose has it.

L.A. Stories- The Rise, Fall, and Refractory Period of a Porn Empire

Yesterday, I found out how my pornographic film production and distribution company got its start. It involves porn! And drugs! And prison! And betrayal and intrigue! Here, in lurid detail, is the story...

A long time ago, in the Silicone Valley, (Chatsworth, CA) a clever Business Man hooked up with a creative porn Director. The Business Man, who we'll call "Mike," was very excited to market the Director's innovative (and incredibly inexpensively produced) new "P.O.V." style of porn. POV stands for "point-of-view," and the movies became very popular because they allowed viewers to imagine that the onscreen action was happening to them- they never saw a male porn star's face, and they weren't distracted by the unnecessary frivolous additions of lighting, music, plot lines or dialogue.

Mike the Business Man made a fortune, and he and the Director cranked out one or two movies every week! They hired editors, assistants, drivers, personal trainers, additional directors, and eventually bought a huge building with a massive warehouse attached to it, and hired people to ship their shitty movies all over the country.

Mike was a true entrepreneur, and also very generous. Sure, he drove his Bentlys and Ferraris around, but one year, he bought his employees houses. Just for fun! To maximize his profit, he also began selling drugs, and, through hard work and dedication, eventually became one of the 5 biggest drug dealers in all of California!

One day, Mike got taken down in a massive drug bust, and was sent to jail for 10 years! His half-brother, "Ike," volunteered to run the business for him while he was incarcerated. Ike had been working in the warehouse, and was well-liked, so Mike agreed, and Ike moved into his half-brother's giant corner office.

Shortly after they combined forces, a douchebag who sleeps with celebrities telephoned Ike and offered to sell him some footage of the time he'd sex with a famous hotel heiress. Ike had hit the jackpot! After paying the heiress just $400,000 for the rights to the video, the douchebag, the heiress and the Porn Company all became household names! Soon, C and D-List "celebrities" from all over were contacting the company, offering to sell them sex tapes.

With these movies selling really well, there was less of a need for the other shitty porn. Many of the directors became restless and angry, feeling that they were not being paid enough. Several left to form their own companies. leaving just the really weird ones with the original company.

One director, who stayed, would put a spiked training collar around an "actress's" neck, then film her as he'd drag her down the carpeted hallways until her knees were bloodied and raw from rugburns. He'd then drag her into the men's bathroom, still pointing his camera at her, and have her perform oral sex on him while he sat on a toilet and pooped. He'd then pay the girl $200 cash and call it a day.

The ten years passed, and Mike was released from jail, ready to rule his porn empire with his brother. However, prison'll change a man, and shortly after Mike's return, Ike accused Mike of "moving product" from the warehouse at night. A fistfight ensued. Mike, hardened from life in prison, was much better at fighting and punched Ike, knocking him out.

When he awoke, Ike was pissed and wanted to press charges against his half-brother. However, as this would've been Mike's Third Strike, he'd have to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Instead of pressing charges, Mike let Ike buy him out of the company, and the two parted ways. Mike took the remaining directors with him, and formed a separate company and left his half-brother to run what was left of the company on his own. The two still bitterly hate each other.

Ike was a nice guy, but not much of a business man. Without Mike's guidance, the company stopped making money. To make matters worse, the internet became a source of free porn, so people stopped buying DVDs unless they had A-List names on them- and the company had run out of A-List names.

When the money dried up, most of the remaining employees scattered, leaving a massive empty building to house the 8-person company. When the company failed to get the rights to the "Kid Rock/Scott Stapp Groupie Blow Job On A Bus" movie, it signified the beginning of the end. Kid Rock's shyness about his inability to maintain an erection due to a medical condition known in the Industry as "coke dick" spelled certain doom for the company. To make ends meet, Ike allowed other porn companies to operate out of the building, and tried to get a pay-per-spank web site up and running, but it was too little too late.

The company is back to shitty POV porn, but they can no longer even afford locations for these low-budget films. Instead, they shoot on their own desks in their own offices.
The remaining director here wants so badly to shoot movies for the company, but they won't approve any sort of budget for him to hire quality people to work on the set for either side of the camera. Most of the people (including the actresses) he uses are friends he made in Rehab.

Reduced to the one disgruntled remaining director and no production funds, Ike, experiencing marital troubles, moved his two giant bear-dogs and his "19-year-old" girlfriend into his corner office in Chatsworth, and refuses to answer his phone.

I spend most of my work day dodging calls from Collections for Ike. Mercedes Benz, Verizon, Dell- they all want their money. It's become a joke between me and the calling centers- we all know what's going on. The worst, though, is when I have to dodge calls from people who've worked as crew or talent on a movie. They'll call or stop by, expecting their $150 check for the day's work, and I have to tell them that "it's not available." When they finally do get paid, they go immediately to the bank to cash it, then call me from the bank, furious because the bank tells them our company's account has "insufficient funds."

To say the least.

One of the people who runs his own distribution company from our building will answer his phone, but if he realizes it's Collections, he'll lie and tell them they have the wrong person. He'll do this multiple times, without telling me what's he's up to. So the Collections Guy will then redial me and insist that I'm a retard and I'm repeatedly connecting them to the wrong extension.

Another company within the building, also hurting from the internet YouPorn boom, knew I was looking for extra cash and offered me $150 to masturbate on a toilet for a "security cam" POV movie. Naturally, I was flattered, but I had to decline- I know what happens on those toilets. I've worked here for four months now and I still refuse to even sit down on them. I'll hover, thanks.

We've stopped accepting new "talent," as well, so when the girls show up in their fishnet minidresses with their vaginas hanging out, I sadly have to turn them away... We used to photograph and interview them, maintaining a database of available skanks, but no more. Instead, dejected and waffle-patterened from their mesh, they must pack up their labia and hit up the next company.

There is hope on the horizon- sooner or later, another douchebag will show up at the door with footage of Tiger Woods or Jesse James having sex with them- but until then, I will answer the phone in a vague, nondescript manner and transfer all calls from Collections (about 40 a day) directly to voicemail.

L.A. Stories- Look, Don't Touch (and other facts of LAife)

Today, on the road, someone drove over a branch of kumquats and sent them exploding across the 1-70 in a burst of projectile fruit. It was colorful and citrusy- the kind of fruit-splosion a vitamin-C-deficient Michael Bay would arrange.
However, this is not the most amazing debris I've seen on an L.A. commute:
Last week, I was on the 101 when I noticed that the road was... shimmering. Not just a sheen, or even a Charlie Sheen- there were distinct dazzling points of vibrant red and silver light, appearing with more and more frequency.
Since only the night before, I'd been writing commercials for an eye disease clinic, I panicked and ran through my list of cataract and glaucoma symptoms. I did the cartoon-patented double-fisted eye rub. I blinked really hard- no change. In fact, the sparkles had increased in number- I was driving through a maelstrom of radiance.
Time stopped for a moment- "this is what it's like to live in a glitter snow-globe..."
Gradually, over the next 1/2 mile, the sparkles dissipated, leaving stunned drivers to wonder and marvel at the miracle on the 101. I still don't know what it was- although I think it must've had something to do with Universal Studios Hollywood- I've worked enough parades to recognize Mylar confetti when I see it, but the sheer amount was breathtaking.
The reason this is important (other than the fact that it's awesome,) is that it's pretty much the only free thing I've received since moving to Los Angeles. Anything else that's sparkly or fun about this city has cost me- dearly.
Parking my car on the street cost me a keyying.
Jay's job in NY cost me my hair.
Horror Nights cost me my jeans.
Grinchmas cost me the skin on my face.
My health insurance was taken away.
Hell, we'd been stolen from before we unpacked what was left of our mangled furniture.

Most of the LA experience reminds me of the time my parents took me to England, and we went to see the famous Crown Jewels. There they were, an arm's length away, behind Lucite cases, laser security and tasseled, velvet-clad guards: crowns, scepters, little important-looking sphere-thingees- amazing treasures to behold. These glimmering royal accessories were so physically close to me, and yet a universe away. Look, Don't Touch- these are tools of a trade I'll never be part of. This is for a life I'll never have access to. I can look, but I can never be part of what these shining trophies represent.

And that's exactly how LA is.

Drive down Sunset Boulevard, and gaze into the windows at the Cavalli store. Take a peek down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills at the shoppers in their Prada heels with their billion-dollar bags. Look into the ivy-shrouded windows at the mansions in the hills, and you'll feel it: a profound sense of disconnection. Here is a life you'll never be part of. Look, Don't Touch.

The most singular example that stands out in my mind is the vista from Mulholland Drive. Peering down at the twinkling lights of the city below should serve as some source of inspiration- but instead, it is a condensed view of everything I can't be part of. Downtown LA might as well be covered in a giant Lucite case with laser alarms- it's a life you have to be born into, and at times it seems like I've got a better chance at becoming English Royalty than Hollywood Royalty.

This ache is felt most intensely when the glitter-life is swirling around me, but it sneaks up at other times, too. I miss not worrying about money so much- dinner and a movie used to be no problem. Now, the price is just too high. I find myself getting angry over nickle-and-dime stuff that never would've bothered me before. I get feral about food, especially...

I once paid a friend in groceries to take me to the airport- he took all my perishable food from my fridge before dropping me off at LAX. I adore this friend, and yet, as he loaded MY milk and MY chicken into his trunk, some caveman part of me longed to lunge at him- I wanted to pounce on him like a wildcat and take my food back. It's MINE! MY FOOD!

There was a point over the holidays when I walked past two guys grilling a steak in the courtyard of my apartment building. I strode past, tall and uncaring, unlocked my door, walked inside, turned around, locked my door, then broke down and wept like a baby in my hallway.
I wanted a steak too.

It wasn't fair- They get steak and shoes and mansions and jobs in the industry. Why is there a Lucite barrier between me and everything my heart has ever beat for?
Welcome to LA.
Look, Don't Touch.

That is why free roadside sparkles are so special- everyone can enjoy them.