Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kickass Celebrity Personal Jet Sighting.

John Travolta’s 707.
LAX Airport, Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

If The Studio Apartment Is A Rockin’, This Blog May Be Finished.

If you ever have occasion to experience an earthquake and not die – and your luck is bound to run out, sooner or later – do yourself a favor, and enjoy the ride.

Yesterday’s quake was actually pretty tame. No one died. Little damage occurred. But it was pretty cool. Nothing brings together the SoCal community like a good, old-fashioned tremor. Immediately I was on the blower seeing if friends were okay and how much they'd felt it.

I was home when it happened, and it felt like being on a boat hitting some rough waves. My dog, who had been napping outside, got spooked, so I ran outside in the middle of it to pet him and help him feel safe. Pit Bulls are tough enough to handle just about anything, except acts of God (and acts of Michael Vick.)

Petey and I are on the ground floor, so we had it better than most. The guys I really felt for were some construction workers across the street, who were up the third floor of the frame of a house. The higher up you go, the more you feel it. Those guys had a good scare.

Truth be told, I’d been looking forward to days like this when I moved to L.A. I'd always been excited to experience this town’s cool factor: sunshine, beaches, celebrities. But I also looked forward to the quirks: O.J. cases, Schwarzenegger as governor and seismic episodes.

I don’t have earthquake insurance. But let’s face it– when your most valuable possession is a copy of Kangaroo Jack on VHS, your money is better spent elsewhere.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Just Let Your Soul Glo.

My friend John is renting a pricey house here in L.A. for the summer.

Apparently, the money will go toward replenishing his landlord’s Jheri curl relaxer supply.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Okay, I Get It– It’s Time To Go Back.

What I learned this past week:
  • There’s a serious shortage of white socks in the city. Especially among older gents who walk in the park in shorts, shoes and wife-beaters
  • There’s no possible way the speeding ticket my mother got last year was legit. She never goes more than 45 mph
  • Katrina was an Elderdown pillow compared to whatever hit the men’s locker room at Bally Fitness in Port Chester, NY. Yikes
  • Humidity + my hair = hilarious
  • Sleeping in my parents' old bed = disturbing
  • If you take on the neighborhood kids at wiffle ball, they will trash talk the hell out of you with old-man taunts
  • Me not classy. Of all the top-notch restaurants in New York, I chose to dine with my mom at Mariano Rivera’s New York Grill (actually, the man’s cut fastball is rivaled only by his tasty rib eye)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day 8: Bring The Kids. And The Kevlar.

The suburb of NYC in which I grew up, believe it or not, is a beach town. Albeit a beach strewn with discarded syringes nestled by a tide that’s more oil slick than saltwater.

The beach is adjacent to Playland, an 80-year-old amusement park that as a kid was a thrill to have within biking distance. That was until the New York transit system began offering our sketchy neighbors from the Bronx a cheap bus ride to the park. Which was about the same time our bikes began disappearing from our garages.

The boardwalk here was the filming location for the movie Big, in which the young Tom Hanks character is granted his wish by Zoltar the Magnificent.

On the left is the rickety, wooden Dragon Coaster, and surviving a ride served as some sort of passage into manhood. It was also the roller coaster Glenn Close creepily enjoyed with Michael Douglas’ daughter in Fatal Attraction.

Oh, and George Washington once slept in one of the homes in my town, but his doing so didn’t gross anything at the box office, so I won’t delve any further.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 7: The Cure For The Common Claustrophobia.

My little brother: not living in a studio apartment.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 6: 12 Hundred Monkeys.

I mentioned, after I met Crystal the Monkey, that I have a total obsession with monkeys. Including a collection of antique monkey chachkies in my old bedroom in New York.

This pic represents just the tip of the dementia.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Day 5: It Smells Like... Victory.

I was so excited to make my last trip to the Stadium that I set my Flowbee to “HOT”.

My friend Ted, who I’ve known since I was six, met me at the game. And the Yankees won, which was dope.

There are some who believe the Yanks shouldn’t be moving into a new ballpark, but I must say that after 85 years, it’s time. For all the precious, historic moments, the place is crampt, dingy and it flat-out smells like ass.

The new stadium, being built across the street, looks to be the sort of ballpark that wants to be fed almas caviar, bathed with Evian and buffed with a silk rag dipped in rare Camellia seed oil. This time next year, I’ll check it out and post a chichi entry about it.

Until then, stayed tuned for more assorted bodily function humor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 4: Psst… Rabbi Weinberger – That Was NOT Cool.

This lovely walk down memory lane has unearthed one of the more ignominious moments of my life: five seconds after I was circumcised.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 3: Kickass… Oh, Wait.

Thought I saw Yankee manager Joe Girardi, but then I realized: everyone here looks like Yankee manager Joe Girardi.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 2: Do You Have A No-Shooting Section?

Does it get any better than chicken parm the size of Rush Limbaugh’s head, at a little Italian place in the neighborhood where I was born in the Bronx?

Yes it does, when there are two TVs in the joint featuring the Yankee game, and the Yanks are up 6-1.

Mangiare, esso e squisito.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Day 1: Sir Richard Branson is Zeus.

I flew to New York on Virgin America. Is it my new favorite airline? Are Oprah's diamond earrings real?

If I had to choose my favorite VA feature (besides the funky, purple interior lighting), it would have to be the seatback entertainment center. Is it well equipped? Like a Chippendales show.

Not only is it loaded with live DISH TV, pay-per-view movies and TV shows (including my favorite, “30 Rock”), it has Google Maps. It has 12 free video games. It has instant messaging for friends sitting apart on the plane. Soon it’ll have Internet service. Good Lord, the thing does everything but diaper the dog and write your kid’s term papers.

The cost of my flight on this airborne slice of Heaven was a mere 300 bucks– half of what the jive airlines were asking.

Side note to parents: whatever you deny your kids is guaranteed to become their adult obsession. If I’m away from some form of television for more than five minutes, I get the DTs.

Welcome Back, Blogger.

I’m heading back to New York for a week.

You could say that I’m going there to bond with my mother. Or to return to my roots and expand my dramatic range.

Or you could say that I’m going back to see the Yankees play at the Stadium one last time before they knock it down. And you’d be a lot more accurate.

One thing I won’t be vacationing from is this blog. It’ll be nice to anguish over it from a different time zone.

So join me for now, Inside The Actor’s Mom’s Suburban House.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Shirt Hits The Fans.

Very good comments posted about t-shirts The Generics should sell to their fans.

Apparently they beat us to it.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


My friend, Jim Gleason, an actor who's had roles on shows such as "Curb Your Enthusiam," also plays guitar for a band called The Generics. He has a gig this Saturday night at The Cat Club at 11:45.

Come for the music. Stay for the t-shirts.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flippin’ The Script.

“Do one thing every day that scares you,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. Perhaps she meant skydiving. Or fighting city hall. Though in Ellie’s case, it may have just meant attempting to sleep with a man for a change.

Either way, it’s a great thought, and when I read it, my mind began racing. I had just attended a special screening of Garden State, followed by a Q&A session by the writer/director/star of the film, Zach Braff. A struggling actress asked Zach what one piece of advice he could give. “Write your own film,” he responded.

Zach’s theory made plenty of sense; why be just one of 100 actors who shows up for every audition, when you can write yourself a great, tailored role?

The problem was that I didn’t think I had any interesting stories to tell. But with Eleanor’s quote resonating, I set a daily goal, refusing to go to sleep each night until I came up with a movie premise.

Some came easy. I was following my friend Jamie in her car when she was cut off by an armored truck, and that sparked the idea that went on to become my produced featurette. Many nights, however, I was up until 2 and 3 a.m. wracking my noggin.

465 days, and 465 ideas later, I finally gave myself a well-deserved break.

One of the premises, by the way, involved Eleanor’s quote. I wrote a short-film about a guy that becomes addicted to scaring himself.

Gotta hand it that Roosevelt chick– she sure could motivate.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Full House.

I may have lost my mind to wine coolers and Mötley Crüe in the 90s, but I’d like to think I’m still capable of recognizing talent.

This clip of Hugh Laurie auditioning for the lead in “House, MD” shows some extraordinary acting skills. Mainly because Hugh brings so much life to the character even as he commits a mortal auditioning sin: going down to his script while the other person is talking.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Big Greek Actor Friend.

Saturday night I saw a play starring my friend, John Kapelos.

John has appeared in upwards of 150 TV shows and movies. One of those movies was a featurette in which I wrote and co-starred. That was how we met, and we became fast friends.

John’s most well-known role is Carl the Janitor in The Breakfast Club. He was also Dino, the guy in Weird Science who asks Kelly LeBrock “What’s a beautiful woman like you doing with a malaca like this?”

His career is so prolific, that once, as John and I took five in a house in which we were shooting, he flipped through channels on a TV, and I wondered what the chances were of us stumbling upon something he’d been in. The answer was 100%– there he was in a Hallmark made-for-TV movie.

Though he mostly plays the heavy in films– he was the guy in Internal Affairs who asked Richard Gere to kill his wife– John is actually a sweetheart with an improv comic background. Whenever I see him, he always gives me the finger before giving me a hug.

In one of the scenes in my film, John’s character attacks his wife, grabbing her by the throat and pushing her up against a door frame. John did take after take with so much conviction, that as I stood watching it with my friend Rob, who was visiting the set, we felt compelled to kick his ass. That was until the director yelled cut, and each time John immediately clowned around to remind the crew he wasn’t that bad guy.

The actress who played his wife in that scene later told me that after all the beatings, she didn’t have one bruise. John attributed that to his vast theater background, and its requisite stage-combat training.

The play John is currently starring in is called In Heat, and its run has been extended into August. If you see it, feel free to give him the finger for me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Kickass Hottie Actress Sighting Of The Month.

Carla Gugino, next to me on La Brea, Thursday night.
She made a hybrid sexy.

Friday, July 11, 2008

An Update.

I haven’t posted recently about what I’ve been up to acting-wise. Partially because the summer is even slower than normal as my union threatens to strike. And partially because I had realtor plastic flags to diss.

My new commercial agent has come through gangbusters. They send me out regularly and really work with me to help my career blossom. Laura the Agent has earned herself a Burke Williams gift certificate this Christmas.

Speaking of commercials, this week I had a callback for Carmax, and that is a very good thing. My acting teacher/mentor Stuart truly believes that a callback is as good as being given the role, because in the eyes of casting directors I’m an actor who delivers what their clients need. I earned myself a celebratory slice of Beach Pizza.

I’m still hitting the casting workshops four times a week, and really feeling good about my work. I’m in a tricky catch right now, as I have the talent but not the resumé, and credits give an actor that extra oomph. I’ll get there.

I see actors get burned out every day. New faces in workshops supplant those who’ve had an ass-full of rejection. Not me. I love the game.

Have a great weekend. Just seven days ‘til The Dark Knight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Special Guest Blogger: Alan Alda.

One of my favorite passages from his latest book:

“For most of my life, between my father’s celebrity and my own, I’ve been able to observe what happens to people on both sides of the line separating celebrities from the rest of the world.

My first exposure to fame was on Hollywood Boulevard when I was eight years old, and I didn’t like it. It was about midnight; we’d just seen a movie. I was walking with my parents when a girl about 16 came up behind us. She punched my father in the back and screamed, ‘You son of a bitch!’ and then she ran off down the street. My parents saw that I was shaken by this and they tried to help me understand it. They explained that some people don’t know how to react to people they’d seen on the screen, and that I shouldn’t let it make me afraid. But it seemed to me that being afraid of a person like that to me was a good idea.

I knew my life had changed one day when I was sitting in a seat on the aisle, waiting for a Broadway play to start. Someone came over with a piece of paper for me to sign. Then someone else, and then another. Within a few minutes there was a line of people stretching up the aisle to the back of the theater. I was signing fast, trying to be accommodating, but wishing the lights would dim so that everyone would go back to their seats, and I could back to being a member of the audience. It was getting to be 15 minutes past curtain time. Finally, an usher came up to me apologetically. ‘Do you mind if we start the play now?’ she asked. ‘God yes, please!’ I said. ‘You’re waiting for me? I’m waiting for you.’ I’d been thinking the stage manager would start the play on time, but now I couldn’t rely on people to behave in expected ways.

On ‘Scientific Frontiers’, we did a story on the leaning tower of Piza. As we walked inside the tower, the custodian was telling me that it was still tipping over a little every year, and unless they could fix it, it wouldn’t just tip over– the pressure on the middle of the structure would make it explode. We passed a sign that read ‘No one permitted beyond this point’, and I asked if people were allowed to climb the tower. He said, ‘Oh no, not anymore. But in your case we made an exception.’

Once in a torrential rain, a cop was turning people away from a bridge that was about to be swept down the river. But when he saw my face he waved me through. Fortunately I didn’t go.

Why are we so disoriented by the sight of a famous person? We’ve seen these famous people on a screen in a darkened room, which is a dreamlike state. Is that why when this person steps out of our dreams and into reality that we become disoriented?”

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Follow This Man.

I have lots of goals in life: get kicked out a casino for winning too much. Have my fists registered with the county. Snap one of Larry King’s suspenders and turn him into dust.

A short-term goal, call it a mid-year resolution, is to become more of a leader. There’s no doubt that my acting skills became off the charts better when I developed some sort of a swagger recently. But I still have far to go. And the bar has been set by a guy named Cory Booker.

Yesterday, I read an article about Cory in Esquire. A former tight end for Stanford, he’s now the mayor of Newark. And he’s bound and determined to clean up the the most dangerous city in the northeast with his own two hands.

Click below and take 20 minutes to read about this guy. And let’s hear it for leaders who actually lead:

The Battle of Newark, Starring Cory Booker

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Star Gazing.

Celebrity sightings are just plain fun. I have my fair share. And when I don’t, my minions are out and about and reporting theirs back to me. Here are a few recent ones. Sorry, no pics:

LOCATION: Jeff’s son’s school, dropping off her kid
NOTE: Looks just like she does on film; doesn’t smile as much.

CELEBRITY: Alec Baldwin and Stephen Baldwin
NOTE: After the rare double-Baldwin sighting (each in separate places), Jenn contemplated entering rehab to catch a glimpse of the very elusive Daniel Baldwin. She then thought better of it.

READER: My mom
CELEBRITY: Jordan Charney
LOCATION: Westchester County, NY
NOTE: My mom, a real estate broker, showed him a house. He recurs as a judge on “Law and Order”, but my friends know him best as the college dean in Ghostbusters, who lets Bill Murray’s character know “You’re a poor scientist, Dr. Venkman.”

CELEBRITY: My hero, George Clooney
LOCATION: on a flight from Charlotte, NC to NY
NOTE: Super nice guy. Went out of his way to say hello to everyone sitting near him before he sat down.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You Will Be Mine. Oh Yes, You Will Be Mine.

I have found my ultimate motivation. The possession that will drive me to be the most successful actor I can be. And nothing will get in my way in trying to acquire it (shout-out, Santa!)

My friend John has hooked his SUV up with the accessory to end all accessories: TracVision. So wherever he drives, 200 DIRECTV channels ride shotgun.

John took me out for a spin, and while we drove around watching SportsCenter, I almost had to pop a fistful of beta blockers. The geniuses behind CrackVision, er, TracVision, deserve a Nobel Prize. Or at least a comped lap dance.

Until now, I thought no toy would ever edge out my Evel Knievel electronic toothbrush. Love you, Evel. May you rest in peace. But pardon me while I make a right on red during "The Price Is Right" Showcase Showdown.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

When Is The Black Man Finally Gonna Get A Fair Shake In The Fight Game?

So asks Jerry Ferro, played by Adam Carolla in the best movie you didn’t see in 2008: The Hammer.

Each year, one excellent, low-budget film doesn't get its due. I blogged about 2007’s The T.V. Set. This year, Adam Carolla wrote and starred in a gem.

Adam plays a former boxer turned down-and-out construction worker who decides at age 40 to get back into the fight game. The movie is funny, touching and romantic. An underrated sports flick reminiscent of Breaking Away.

It’s out on DVD. Rent it and let me know.

Friday, July 4, 2008

My Realtor, ‘Tis of Thee.

It’s good to know that if my patriotism ever wanes, Jennifer and Dave Caskey have my back. Even in a made-in-China, wood-and-plastic kinda way.

Happy 4th.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Good Side.

Bitching about the Angeles Forest to that degree prompted me to retract a smidge and give it some positive cred.

I mentioned that one of the shoots I participated in up there was actually a very good film– a black and white period piece, written and directed by a guy named Pritchett Cotten. Pritchett uses the above still shot of me from the film on his website’s home page.

I think it’s a gorgeous shot. And it made me realize: life has a funny way of taking your most earnest pledges and folding them into funny hats for you to wear.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Run. Run ‘Til Flames Shoot Out Of Your Ass.

Some things in life are inexplicable. Chocolate chip bagels. Registered independents. The old guy at my gym who huffs oxygen from one of those wheely tanks while he works out.

But maybe most perplexing of all is that adjacent to the paradise that is Los Angeles is the Angeles National Forest. Or, as I prefer, the Devil’s Anus.

I’ve shot two movies up there. One experience was such a well written-and-shot film that it was worth it. The other one... well, as I trekked up the windy main road to the shoot, a Ninja rider sped past me and pancaked into a large rock around the bend. He got off lucky.

Cell phones stop working about 100 yards from the base of this mountainous s-hole. So whatever happens to you in the ANF, literally no one will hear you scream.

There’s snow on the ground year-round up there. Now, I have this on good authority – snow has its advantages. It’s pretty. It’s fun to build things with, such as a snowman, an igloo and the very popular, um, enormous pile of snow. If the power goes out you can take items out of your fridge and stick them in drifts outside your door. Let’s say you have a deceased pet but the ground is too hard to dig a grave. Problem solved.

But while it’s one thing to visit the land of ice and snow, it’s a whole other thing to live there. Which makes it all the more confounding that people actually do. Log cabin-dwelling types who think that plaid jackets are evening wear, and a box of wine is Chateau Lafite.

Michael Caine says he chooses films based on their shooting locations. Warm climates only. The man is Albert friggin’ Einstein in my book.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

See Dave Run.

Tonight, my friend David Goryl, a really great actor, will be acting like a lunatic on the TV show “Wipeout”.

The game show features 24 contestants competing on the world’s largest extreme obstacle course, including the peculiarly-named “Dirty Balls”. Winner takes home 50 large.

If you happen to be home, catch it on ABC at 8 p.m. And pray Dave had the good sense to wear his cup.