Week of March 25, 2012

Today is the 40th anniversary of the day my Dad died. Six months earlier I had  left home for graduate school and he drove me north pulling a trailer full of stuff for my first apartment. I treasure that last special time we had together.

You must make it a point to see BULLY the documentary everyone is buzzing about.  And if you have a pre-teen or teen in your world, take them. That’s the only failure around the doc.  It’s been rated R so the target audience can’t get in to see it without an adult.  Please, be that adult for them.

JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME wasn’t really my thing although I had no issue with the quality of the movie.  I just didn’t care. Cute, even charming but ultimately uninteresting.

Did you watch DANCING WITH THE STARS?  Fabulous cast this season.  I truly enjoy this hour of escape.  I’ll be tuning in every Monday I can.

Tom had some very therapeutic acupuncture last week.  He came home and said he feels 100% pain free.  It didn’t last long but it was sweet while it did.  It has continued to aid in the relief of his pain.  He just has to be a full time custodian of his pain management.  And you know, that is exhausting in and of itself.

In a couple of weeks I’m going to meet my sisters in St. Louis for a road trip.  Since I’ll be in the area I offered to come in a day early to do a Master Class at my alma mater, St. Louis University.  I’m also doing one at Florissant Valley Community College as they requested it in 2009 when I was unavailable.

To prepare I’ve been tweaking my handouts and personal notes.  I’m also waiting for the outcome of the SAG-AFTRA Union merger. We find get the results on March 31.  I’m praying every day that becomes a reality. If we merge I’ll have to talk about what that may mean for our future.

I got my new comedy demo done. Yay!  Will be working on my drama demo this week.  Once that is wrapped up I’ll get them posted on various sites, hopefully this one plus the biz ones, and get copies to my agents, and a copy for my Master Class work.  Then I’m good for another three or four years.

Had two auditions last week.  It’s been a slow pilot season.  Truth is there isn’t much call for my type in the series lead category.  At least not this season.  Hopefully I’ll get some calls for the guest cast of the pilots.

Did not make it down to La Jolla last week for a Heifer International event.  Just couldn’t afford the 7 hour drive, attend and drive commitment. 

Say, have you seen the new ABC drama MISSING?  So good.  I’m a fan of Ashley Judd and she is the star.  Big bonus that it is shot in Rome, my favorite city in Italy.  The Paris locale doesn’t hurt either.

While ABC pulled REVENGE temporarily, they’ve plugged a rerun of MISSING in that coveted spot.  So I managed to see the pilot on Wednesday and the second episode on Thursday (8 PM PST) during their normal time slot. Try to catch it and see if you don’t think it has feature film qualities about it.

Friday turned out to be a big day.  Our housekeeper came per usual and whipped the place into shape, the repair company showed to fixed our dead refrigerator, I got to the gym while Tom got to the flower mart for the party that evening.

The beer, wine, and ice arrived at 3, with some of the Heifer volunteers arriving at 4:30.  I started cooking about 4 and got everything on their table by 5:30.  First guests came about 5 (early) and most came about 5:45.  Our CEO Pierre Ferrari came then as well as our Director of Philanthropy.

About 32 came to what proven to be a very dynamic and stimulating evening.  Pierre spoke about the Heifer mission and took questions for about 30 minutes.  It could not have been a more exciting evening.

To top it off our pal, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas arrived unexpectedly to present Pierre with a Certificate of Commendation from the City for the extraordinary work of Heifer International. Wow!  I just loved it. Please check out the photos under my Friends/Party link.

Saturday kicked off with the fabulous tour of  Art in Historic Places which was hosted by the amazing CCH Pounder.  Mary Pat joined me at 11 AM to visit artists lofts and work spaces.  Many of the artists were on hand to talk about their work which was so stimulating.

We also took a wonderful tour of the Williams Andrew Clarke Memorial Library.  I’ve lived in this area of town for 24 years and have never seen this gorgeous place.  You must make it a priority when ever you are in LA.  The tour is free but reservations are required. [email protected]

Afterwards I dropped MP at her car and zipped over to the beautifully designed Medici Villas near downtown LA.

Heifer was putting on their first ever Spring into Action Day for volunteers.

The gathering was held in a lush lounge area with full audio/visual and kitchen. They had a nice crowd to listen to a DVD welcome from Pierre (who had returned to Headquarters Saturday morning). 

Frances, head of Volunteer Development spoke about the various opportunities at Heifer and introduced the three volunteer area co-ordinators.

I have signed up to work on Major Donor Development and other Leadership Council members are heading area volunteer efforts. Still others have joined a Speakers Bureau to get the word out about Heifer. 

In a couple of weeks I will be asking you to consider making a donation to Heifer International as part of my effort to raise funds for them during April, their Passing on the Gift month.  I’ll explain everything then but you could go on their site now to get more information about their mission. www.heifer.org                            

The day wasn’t over as I had to get home, change and head out with Tom to our fancy meal with our pals.  Oh my, what an evening that was.

Remember last year when the Girls and their spouses went to the Virginia Avenue Project  Gala as Mary Pat is on their board and she invited us?  Well we all pitched in and won an auction item to have the renown chef Mark Mollica cater a lavish meal with each course paired with a wine. Mark and his brother Anthony own the amazing La Vecchia Cucina in Santa Monica, CA. www.lavecchia.com We had a trio of appetizers followed by the most amazing five course meal known to man.  Each course was paired with the perfect wine.  I’ve always been a non drinker preferring to save my sugar consumption for chocolate but not this evening. I could not forgo such a magical experience of tasting extraordinary food along with perfectly paired wines.  It was truly unforgettable.

Before the creme brulee of Tahitian vanilla bean topped with mixed berries was served we had an interlude of music by Mike Shapiro on piano and his base player who did various Thelonious Monk rifts. Enchanting.

We’re already talking about winning it again next year.

Last Friday and Saturday was quite a combo of activity.  So much so that this Sunday, I made it to Mass to be in Eucharistic Minister and then promptly came home to do almost nothing.  We had planned on two screenings but Tom was completely out of it ast that dinner lasted 6 hours!!

He has been in bed the whole day while I’ve casually read the paper, continued to return party serving trays to the basement and managed to get all our food from the basement frig back into the now functioning kitchen fridge.

Tuesday we’ll attend out church’s Penance Service in the evening.  It’s a good way to stay focused on Lent and really prepare for Easter.

I finally finished reading HALF THE SKY, Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. I recommend it unreservedly.  It will change who you are and how you view the world.

Thanks to pal Bernie (wink) I got a copy of a book he recommended called WHY CATHOLICS ARE RIGHT.  Provocative title, eh?  I’m just cracking it open and hope to finish it by Easter.

On Wednesday I’ll be meeting with my friend Jill who is the director of the St. Francis Center, a homeless outreach program in LA.  She wants to run some fund-raising ideas by me for a second set of eyes and ears.

With any luck nothing will get in the way of our going to see SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER on Thursday morning.  Tom will then tutor in the afternoon and we will get together again in the evening to see WAITING FOR GODOT at the Taper.  It got a rave review in our Sunday LA Times.

That evening I will also be TiVo-ing my episode of THE MENTALIST which airs on CBS at 10 PM PST. 

Friday morning I’ll be back in the video studio to put together my new drama demo.  We’ve slated 3 hours to get it done plus all the loose ends.  Paul Norton, the best in the biz, had been capturing my work on video for me for about 25 years.  He has more stuff of mine than anyone else, besides me of course. We need to slosh through those archives and tidy up some.

I have committed to baking some goodies for an area Garden Group who are trying to raise funds for their community garden.  I figure I could crank out a couple of dozen cupcakes that evening for a good cause.

Saturday I may get up at the crack of dawn and go discount shopping at the once a month warehouse clothing sale in Commerce, CA.  It’s not a definite but I may go for an hour.

That evening Tom  and I will see MIRROR, MIRROR.

Big birthday wishes to my sister Cecilia and her daughter Celia.  Two of my favorites!

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Week of March 18, 2012

Kicked off the week with a commercial call on Monday. Nada the rest of the week.

Continued the purging by going through our DVD library and pulling about 100 movies to recycle at AMPAS, along with a encrypted DVD player they sent each member a few years ago.  It was meant to battle the piracy problem but it quickly proved to be worthless and too expensive. We never even opened the box.  LOVE having the reclaimed space.

Did see the NT Live screening of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS which was fabulous.

So too was Culture Class’s AMERICAN NIGHT: The Ballad of Juan Jose. Terrific show.  Delighted we finally saw this troupe’s work since they’ve been doing their satires since the 1980s.

Our neighbors Suzie & Don had a marvelous St. Patrick’s Day party on Saturday.  We had such a great time.  Suzie is a stellar cook so you know there will be major good eats.  She did not disappoint.  And her friends have been coming to the house as long as we have so many we have known more than 20 years.  Tom lasted 2 ½ hours which is stellar for him.  He found a small group of guests who were into Science Fiction as much as he is.  They jabbered the entire time.

The other big news of the week is that our frig stopped working.  At least the bottom portion stopped. Such a drag.  The repairman said they’d have to order parts and would call first with the price of parts and service.  Hopefully that call will come on Monday and the frig can be back in order to accommodate a party we are giving on Friday.

Yep we’ve agreed to host Heifer Internationals’ CEO Pierre Ferrari.  It’s basically a meet and greet and learning more about the Heifer mission.

Pierre is a remarkable man, genuine, brilliant, accessible and approachable.  I am genuinely excited to have our friends meet him.  What an ambassador for the cause.

Sunday after I lector at the 10:30 I’ll see the much praised documentary BULLY.  That evening it’s JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME with MP.

Tuesday I’m set to edit new acting demos.  This time I am doing one for drama and one for comedy.  They are used so differently now.  Basically all the work goes online for casting and producers to view.  I did my last one in 2008 so it’s time to get my newer stuff out there.

If I haven o conflicts on Wednesday, I’ll drive down to La Jolla to attend a cocktail party for Heifer and Pierre.  Our Leadership Council member Ashley is hosting it with her husband.

They are very involved in supporting a Heifer project in Mexico so I think her guests will be there to learn about that effort.

Saturday I’m having a big day in that Mary Pat and I are going to an Arts in West Adams: Pattern, Decoration & Diversity tour.  It will be a lot of modern art set in historic homes.  CCH Punder is the Honorary Chair. Mary Pat goes for modern art and I go for old homes so it’s a good fit.

By 2 PM I’ll be at the Heifer Spring into Action Day, an public event to bring more attention to Heifer’s work and to interest more people in volunteering.

Come join us from 2 to 4 PM at Pierro Apartments, 616 St. Paul Avenue, Los Angeles, 90017.
Call 818-548-6437 for more information.

That evening Tom and I meet with our group for an extravagant 10 course dinner with wine pairings.

This is the auction item Mary Pat won at the Virginia Avenue Project, whose board she sits on. She asked each of us to pay a portion so she was free to bid til she won.  Now we all reap the benefits.

Although I am not a drinker I can’t turn down this opportunity to learn something about wine.  So I’ll enjoy 10 sips throughout the evening.

Big Happy Birthday wishes to my sister-in-law, Sue! And to her grandson my great nephew Cayden who turns 4!

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Week of March 11, 2012

Oh my, such an uneventful week.  Thank goodness we had a house guest.  Terry Kilburn, a friend of 40 years, came for a delicious three days of wonderful conversation, food, laughter and excursions.  We really hated to see him leave.  Fortunately we will have dinner with him next Tuesday before he heads to Portland.

Only one commercial call the whole week.  Had to turn down another commercial call as I already have a Discover Card airing which would make it a conflict for another credit card.

I filled the week with chores I immensely enjoy: cleaning out drawers, rearranging shelves, purging my closet.  Got stuff over to Goodwill and mailed to my sister Elaine.  We even went through the dreaded “electronics” bin and ended up donating it all.  Just love having the reclaimed space.

I also completed the annual task of compiling support documentation for the Mills Act which is a tax relief program for those of us living in historical homes.  Each year we have to re-qualify. The idea is to prove that you have spent money to maintain the historical integrity of your home.  The government then gives you a break on your home taxes. It’s nice, but the break never covers the amount one spends to maintain a historical home.  You have to love the act of maintaining a landmark.  And we do.

We also had “Flat Stanley” visiting us this week.  For those of you who do not know what that is, the character is based on a children’s book about a little boy who is given a bulletin board and hangs it above his headboard.

One night it falls on him while he is sleeping and flattens him.  His parents then decide to put him in an envelope and send him on vacation in another city.

Our great nephew, first grader John, sent us his Flat Stanley.  So we were to show him around the city and take pictures of his vacation.  Then write it up and send it back to the school so the teacher can share all the adventures Stanley has had.

Stanley had a very busy week.  He had a facial, went swimming, went on 2 auditions, to AAA, worked out with me, met Terry and had dinner with us, went to Mass and used the microphone in the ambo, had a pancake breakfast and met some of our church friends, made cheesecakes with Tom for our block club meeting where he got his membership card, attended an Academy screening and got photographed with Oscar and very best of all, made a new friend, Flat Stella, who lives in our neighborhood.  They like reading books together.

So you see, the week wasn’t altogether dull.

And then there was the ROCK.  On Friday night, actually early on Saturday, I’d say about 12:30 AM, I joined others at our neighborhood intersection and watched the ROCK being hauled through town to the LA County Art Museum.  This was the last leg of an 11 day trip to cover 105 miles. It is a 340 ton granite megalith that will be the center of a huge exhibit called Levitated Mass which will open in May at the museum. Once it is displayed people will be able to walk underneath it.

The size of the rock was nothing compared to seeing how they had to transport it.  They built equipment specifically for the job.  In addition to the rack that carried it, a huge truck pulled it while another huge truck pushed it.  Absolutely amazing.  Check out my photos on the Parties link.

And we did go to the St Paddy’s Day party at church.  I very wisely volunteered to keep myself busy during all that eating.  Anything sweet and gooey gets my attention but not if I’m moving.

The entertainment by the Ploughboys was fabulous.  Tom was sidelined due to his pain so Mary Pat, a true Irish lass, joined me for the evening. We had a delightful time.

Did you remember to turn your clocks a head one hour?  You bet I did as I am scheduled to see 3 movies on Sunday. We’re going to an 8:30 Mass so we can see THE LORAX at 10:30 AM.  Then it’s lunch and back at the theater by 2 to see THIS MEANS WAR.

In the evening Mary Pat and I will catch SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN which is getting good notices.

Monday evening I am doing my last SurveyLA speech at the MacArthur Park Neighborhood Council.  I’ll be happy to complete that task.  This may be my last official duty of my three year commitment to the Office of Historic Resources in the Department of City Planning.

If you have a moment take a look at two wonderful websites  www.SurveyLA.org and www.MyHistoricLA.org.  There are so much interesting information about LA and it’s history.  Join the conversation.

Dinner on Tuesday with Terry and friends, as mentioned above.

I’ll remember my Dad on Wednesday, March 14, his birthday.  He died March 24, 1972 at the age of 65.  Love you Dad.

Mary Pat is set to join us for dinner on Thursday before we all head out to see COMEDY OF ERRORS from the National Theater Live program.  Hope it happens this time.

Saturday we have tickets of CULTURE CLASH at the Kirk Douglas Theater.  We’re never seen them and they have been doing great work for years.  It’s time we got on board.

That evening I’m meeting my pal Carol Ann for dinner before heading over to see a screening of FRIENDS WITH KIDS.

With any luck I’ll have some auditions to report on next week.

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Week of March 4, 2012

Well it was a fairly uneventful week. Had a couple of auditions. Did all I planned to do except the NT Live viewing of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.  I put the wrong date in my iPad.  We showed up and they were having a private screening.  Got home and our computers had stopped working. Tom then spent, I’m not kidding, four and half hours on the phone with HP and Time Warner via India getting if all worked out.  Needless to say, he went directly to bed and stayed there for one day.  Just can’t crawl around on the floor for hours and not pay for it. 

I did get my notice that the AMPAS screenings are starting up.  They always do right after The Oscars. So on Saturday I  BEING FLYNN. A good film but difficult to watch at times.  It’s a painful relationship to witness.

Sunday after Mass Tom and I will see SAFE HOUSE that is if he is feeling better.  He may have to be in bed another day.

I got word over the weekend that my friend Anne has been in the hospital 60+ days for a virulent leg infection. She’s had several surgeries and is now in an extended care facility for physical therapy.  I’ve joined her Caring Bridge network and have signed up to visit with her Monday morning.  Please keep her in your prayers.

My old pal Terry Kilburn will be driving in from Arizona on Monday, late afternoon.  He’s been visiting friends for about a week and is now headed West. I’ve planned for him and Tom to sere the exhibits at the Fashion Institute and The Annenberg.

Terry was the Artistic Director at the Meadow Brook Theater for many years.  I worked their six seasons and besides running the place, he often directed and designed the costumes.  In his senior years he has devoted hours and hours and hours to his great passion, painting.  We’re proud to have more than one original Terrence Kilburn in our home.

We’re hosting the monthly block club meeting at our home on Tuesday.  I think I am going to serve Chinese dumplings, fruit, cheese & crackers and make molten lava cakes.  That ought to cover it.

Terry is off to stay with Mary Pat on Thursday.  We’ll meet up with him again the week after next when all his LA pals meet for a farewell dinner.

We’re going to a St Paddy’s Day Party at our church on Saturday.  We missed it last year and everyone said it was the best time ever.  Not one for corned beef and cabbage, I understand the entertainment and dancing is top notch.  I guess I’ll be the judge of that.

Happy Birthday dear Nick.

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