It’s The Pictures That Got Small

It is always 1980 on Sunset Boulevard.

We just had dinner at The Rainbow, a tiny little dive wedged between The Key Club and The Roxy. Like CBGBs in New York, The Rainbow is famed for 80s-era hair metal debauchery. I overheard someone say, “Can you imagine how much of Motely Crue’s DNA is in this place?”. Bleach blonde, multiply-pierced, fully made up men still populate the red vinyl booths. Women who still get their fashion cues from Tawny Kitaen still troll the bar where the barteneder is a cross between Norma Desmond, Elvira, and that Star Trek race with a really high, really bumpy foreheads. Then there’s me, clearly the visitor in the dusty museum, more Weezer than Warrant in my striped Ben Sherman shirt, suede jacket, Pro Keds and thick glasses.

On the way out, I saw Shelby Lynn sliding into her royal blue Audi TT. A Glenn Ballard look-a-like ran over, “Shelby! Shelby!” She was all like “Oh my God!” But in her entire 90 second conversation with him, she never took the phone from her ear.

Where the f*ck am I?

I had to remind myself all day, “You’re in L.A. You’re in L.A. Your in L.A.”

My car came at 5 a.m. I was at JFK at 6. I nodding off to sleep in seat 36B next to the largest woman on the whole plane by 7. Six fitful hours later, I was at LAX. I went to bed in my Upper West Side apartment, and woke up 3600 miles away from home.

I used to volunteer to come to L.A. I used to relish this assignment. I love the ocean, and the mountains, and heck, I’ll admit it, the movie business. But tonight, checking into Le Montrose Hotel (kind of a bargain basement Mondrian), I sighed when the clerk said, “We have you for eight nights, Mr. Wagner.” Eight nights.

Sitting around the bar at The Rainbow earlier, Shaheem, Robert and I reminded each other that a whole bunch of people would kill for this kind of job. Robert still calls his best friend from second grade when he interviews, say, Ozzy Osbourne. Sha brought his best friend to meet Big Daddy Kane. I called my parents as I walked out of Warner Bros. offices after interviwing Michael Stipe. Still, I’d trade ya’ this for a frozen pizza and a beer at home.

But pay no mind to me. I’m tired and just a little bit cranky. My body thinks it’s 3:00 a.m. And I’m full from dinner. But I love the sweet, floral smell of this town. I love the cool air. I love that I’m not wearing a hat or gloves. I love that my job finds me at Sundance one weekend, the Grammy Awards the next.

If only Tawny Kitaen were here with me. Or at least Shelby Lynn. At least then I wouldn’t feel so lonely. And I’d definately sleep in tomorrow morning.

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