Monday, May 30, 2011

Memories Of A Memorial Day Weekend.

Funny thing about LA: people don’t feel the need to get away for three-day weekends. In fact, I had a casting workshop Saturday. Aspiration takes no vacation… Saw The Tree of Life, and I can say for sure Brad Pitt is a lock for an Oscar nomination. I can also say Brad will never again appear in the same movie as dinosaurs. (I’m not kidding)… I had an unexpected residual check from “The Tonight Show” in my mailbox, and turned right around and bought a TV for my bedroom. It was the transactional equivalent of an Escher painting… I once promised I’d sell my soul if my Maryland Terps won an NCAA lacrosse championship, but they unfortunately lost in the finals yesterday. Until next year, Devil.

Once Again, Real Casting Notices I’ve Seen This Week.

  • Male leg amputee. Must be comfortable with amputation being a focus of the sketch.
  • If you love your puppet or stuffed animal... a little too much... and have been criticized because of it, we want to hear from YOU!!! If you can't leave the house without it or can't talk to other people without talking through the stuffed animal or puppet, we want to hear from YOU!! Thanks!!
  • Be a judge on “America's Bottom Model.”
  • Looking for a woman who will walk in with her friends and order food. She will be asked to eat naked. She will take the question the wrong way and strip off her clothes.
  • Please be gay or be able to convincingly pass as a gay male. We want you to be a bit more on the feminine side. Flamboyant is fine too. Will have lines so please be comfortable with lines. Will also need to be comfortable taking off your shirt. THERE IS NO NUDITY AT ALL AFTERALL WE ARE A CHURCH but you will need to start unbuttoning your shirt in part of the scene and WILL ALSO NEED TO BE COMFORTABLE hugging another guy to IMPLY a sexual situation.
  • Must be a hot sexy man who in order to live the high life seeks money and expensive gifts from rich/wealthy or powerful women. Equivalent to a gigolo or boytoy. Must have class.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

He’ll Be Missed.

Lately, it seemed as if Jeff Conaway had been forgotten in a hot car by his supposed friends Judd Hirsch and Tony Danza.

The acting gigs had dried up, except for whatever craziness he embellished on reality shows. (Because there is no “reality” in reality shows – it’s all contrived. Right? Right.)

But back in the day, Jeff Conaway was a damn good actor, and every woman’s crush. He hit it out of the park weekly on “Taxi,” and I choose to remember him that way. And you’ll see what I mean when you watch the above episode, in which Jeff’s character impersonates/becomes a more suave version of Danny DeVito’s character Louie, and takes Louie's place at his high school reunion when he's too ashamed to attend.

Jeff followed Danny around the entire week they shot this, nailing his persona, and wound up severely hurting his groin while rehearsing the dance scene. But Jeff was a trooper, and powered through the taping in pain, managing to do splits and lots more. Check it out.

Friday, May 27, 2011

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

• (ABOVE) Why put that thing in the water when you can just tow it around town and babes will follow you home?

• Did the Rapture include Ralphs Supermarket running out of cheese samples? Because that just happened.

• Day four of my neighbors’ wet clothes still sitting in the washing machine. #OurLongNationalNightmareContinues

• Women who say their cat is "just like a dog!" #PurgingFriendsOnFacebook

• Damn, I’m gonna miss American Idol. #MyAccountHasBeenHacked

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cakes And Pies I Have Recently Witnessed And/Or Chowed.

TYPE: Neopolitan.
OCCASION: My friend Bru’s birthday at Talesai in Studio City.
NOTES: Outstanding. Neopolitan ice cream, now in cake form. Bru’s wife brought it to this Thai restaurant for his birthday dinner, and as we got up to go to a movie, we gave the leftover cake to the owners. They were grateful, but I have a strong suspicion they wound up selling a few slices of it.

TYPE: $100 apple pie.
OCCASION: Post art-show dessert at Al Gelatto in Beverly Hills.
NOTES: Didn’t eat this – just gazed at its glory like it was the Grand effin’ Canyon. Many migrant worker hands picked many bushels of apples to create this monstrosity. Much respect.

TYPE: Top-shelf goodness from Becker's Bakery, Manhattan Beach.
OCCASION: My friend Al’s birthday.
NOTES: The pic on the cake is Al, taken about 30 lbs. ago, after he’d just finished his wrestling career at Syracuse. He told me that underneath all his present blubber, that body still exists.

TYPE: Sheet cake.
OCCASION: My niece’s birthday.
NOTES: Due to my complete aversion to kids movies, I had no idea who Jessie was. I did, however, friend the chick hired to play Jessie at the party on Facebook.

Support My Friend.

My favorite part of books is movies.

And tomorrow night, a big movie is opening, starring one of my favorite fellow actors: Crystal, who plays the drug-dealing monkey in The Hangover Part II. Let’s all get out there and support her, even though she hardly needs it – the film is going to have a huge weekend. And it feels good that I'm connected to someone who's a part of it.

Oh, and by the way, a friend of mine from grad school, Scot Armstrong, wrote the film… but whatever… Crystal!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Belated Birthday Gift.

I’ve come to find that if you don’t involve yourself in government as an individual, corporate America is happy to make the rules for you.

And I came to this conclusion after watching the documentary Street Fight, about my favorite politician of all time: Cory Booker.

Cory will become your favorite as well, and part of your gift to me. You see, it’s tradition that on my birthday, I ask that you watch 25 movies that I think are great but have been somewhat overlooked. That way good films will get more of the attention they deserve, and beget more good films. And I'll get cast in them and write happy blog entries about them and the circle of life will continue:
  1. The Bridge
  2. Bringing Out the Dead
  3. City of God
  4. Devil in a Blue Dress
  5. Exit Through The Gift Shop
  6. Heavy
  7. The King of Kong
  8. The Last Days of Disco
  9. The Lookout
  10. Machete
  11. The Myth of Fingerprints
  12. North Country
  13. The Other Guys
  14. Paper Clips
  15. Pushing Tin
  16. Rabbit Hole
  17. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired
  18. Slasher
  19. Smoke
  20. Solitary Man
  21. Street Fight
  22. Sunshine Cleaning
  23. The Town
  24. The Visitor
  25. Zero Effect

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Day, In Footwear.

5:30 a.m.: I hit the gym. There is but one objective when you work out this early: don’t drop the weights on your throat.

9 a.m.: I arrive at my writing assignment. I’ve since been given a new one – different location, but the same small talk while people microwave their lunches. Apparently, Lean Cuisine has three delicious new ways to snack.

11 a.m.: I leave for an audition. It was for the Mr. Coffee commercial, and I wound up booking the role. Speaking of lunch, I challenge anyone to top my skill at eating a sandwich while steering with my knees.

1 p.m.: Second audition, this time for a commercial for Las Vegas. You practically need the hammer of Thor to remain focused in a room full of bikini chicks, but I did, and I got a callback.

2 p.m.: back to work. With the 120 miles I drove that day, I could’ve been in Philly back east.

7:30 p.m.: casting workshop. After I performed my scene, the casting director told me he was a “big fan,” and I asked him if he could put it in writing so I could hang it on my fridge. Maybe because I knew the next day, after four hours of sleep, I was going to do this all over again. I’m a hitter.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

This Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

  • I warn you, Arrowhead Water Co. - it won’t be the first time I take an axe to a vending machine.
  • My staunch bachelor friend Bru suddenly got married. Good to know he’ll have a human shield when Seal Team Six arrives.
  • New favorite band name: Com Truise. Sorry, Dead Kennedys.
  • Babysitting my niece and nephew has brought out a paternal need to knock up their heavyset nanny. #SchwarzeneggerStyle.
  • How do you make the heavily-pierced chick behind the counter at Valentino’s Pizza blush? Tell her she has a hickey.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Get Your Butt To LA, Part 4: Back To School.

First, a disclaimer: take any and all acting advice from me with a grain of salt. I’m no Paul Giamatti. I’m no Pauly Shore, for that matter, either.

But I’m often asked by aspiring actors what to expect if they move LA, and I think I can at least help you get settled in here. That much I know.

Here’s what I’ve covered so far: 1) Get yourself an apartment. 2) Get yourself a job. 3) Get yourself a pair.

And here’s 4: take classes. Lots of them. Don’t be stubborn about this. Even if you went to Juliard, you’ll find that acting in Los Angeles, a TV and movie town, presents a whole new ballgame. Even Denzel still works with a coach.

The tricky part is that there are all kinds of methods and hundreds of teachers. So expect a trial period. You’ll find the one that works for you. Make that two. Or three. Learn how to audition, break down scenes, improv. Take several at a time. And make one of your teachers my friend Jim Gleason. He’ll change your life.

So there you go. The biggest thing I can recommend about acting is that you never stop learning. Oh, and I can recommend something about life in general: get sleeve tattoos. No one has those.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I’m Going In.

I’d like to propose a ban on the use of the joke “It was terrible!” when handing an empty plate to a waitress. Got that, dads?

Speaking of which, for the next two days I’ll be losing my mojo, as I babysit my niece and nephew while my brother and his wife go out of town.

My nephew has progressed to wearing diapers only at night, which significantly lowers the odds of a repeat of “The Incident.”

I’ll take any and all advice. And I’m bringing over a Costco-size bottle of Benadryl, just in case.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.

I love actors. They’re talented and smart and supportive. They put themselves out there daily, with rare success. To rag on them feels like berating preschoolers for poor spelling. Usually.

As I sat in a crowded waiting room for a recent callback for a commercial, an actress strolled in. She and an actor recognized each other from a previous commercial audition, then realized they'd both booked that job and would be playing husband and wife.

“Let’s book this one too!,” she said. “We should play husband and wife a bunch!” she said. In front of me. Another actor. A guy who loves fellow actors. Usually.

It was time to play the feud.

My turn came up, and I went into the audition room fresh off this bitch’s inadvertent challenge. The commercial called for me to be perky and funny, and I did my job. And the next day, my agent called, and told me I got the role. It was the Mr. Coffee commercial, and the agent’s call was only a formality – that shit was mine the second that dopey broad ran her mouth.

When I drive across town to an audition, I’m there to get paid. If you ever see me in a waiting room, forgive me if I keep the small talk short, as I’m locked in, focusing. And don’t ever, ever talk about taking a job away from me, even if it’s just out of excitement, because you’re only poking the bear.

Hey actress: the Mr. Coffee shoot was amazing and fun and the money is great. And I told the woman who got the role of my wife instead of you about what you said, and she high-fived me. Thanks for dropping by.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Come On.

I'm going to miss the executives at ABC after they die after I murder them.

Okay, maybe I won't go that far, seeing as I’d like to work for their lovely network, but they made my serious injury list when they canceled “Mr. Sunshine.”

Apparently, a medium that thrives on glorified karaoke contests has no room for intelligent, scripted shows, and that sucks whale. This is the second Matthew Perry show that I really liked (“Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” was my favorite show of all time) that was killed way too early. I blogged about “Mr. Sunshine” long before it aired, hoping it would be good, and it turned out it really was.

I guess you have to think of a show that’s too smart for TV like you would a trip to Hawaii: have all the naked fun while it lasts, because eventually you gotta go back to the shitty mainland.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Mr. Coffee Commercial Shoot: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

My new wife and mother-in-law. Two wives in one week? Why, that would make me the biggest bigamist in bigamy history. (Try saying that five times fast.)

Joe Dimaggio was once the spokesperson for Mr. Coffee, which means the only thing that separates Joe D. from me is a 56-game hitting streak. And a mention in a Paul Simon song. And a marriage to Marilyn Monroe.

Go take that twosie in the motor home, teamsters.

Because I was wearing just a shirt and pants, which would expose my wireless mic, I had to be strapped-up Lindsay Lohan house-arrest style.

Homeowners in LA get righteous bucks for offering up their places for shooting. The house we shot in belonged to singer Neil Sedaka’s son Marc, a very successful writer who worked on “King of Queens.” Hope he doesn’t mind the headshots I left in his garage, living room and salad crisper.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

It’s My Birthday.

Yes, today’s my birthday, and I got everything I wanted. That's right – I asked for everything.

It’s tradition that in lieu of gifts, I ask you to check out a bunch of movies I think are overlooked and need to be watched. But this week I didn’t really have it in me to compile a list.

I’ll put one together and post it soon. For now, what I want from you is this: do something nice for a dog today. If you have one, give him an extra kiss. If you don’t, find one and rub his tummy. Or better yet, rub two tummies.

Thanks for that. And thanks to everyone for all the birthday wishes, including you, ING Direct, and your very sweet “Dear Customer Number: XXXXXXX688: Happy Birthday” email. I love you too, and you shouldn’t have made such a fuss.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Last Week In @mattshevin Tweets.

  • Fine, Navy Seals – we finally forgive you for that movie about you starring Charlie Sheen.
  • I just realized I inadvertently shoplifted my new contacts after my optometrist didn’t charge me. #jewonjewcrime
  • Not sure if a tweet is an admissible alibi in court, but I’m officially putting it out there: I just walked into that ladies room by mistake.
  • Thrilled to meet Malcolm-Jamal Warner. Disappointed he wasn't with Cockroach.
  • Put on a wedding ring for a commercial today. Finger did not burst into flames. #sighofrelief
  • My tweet about stealing contact lenses prompted another optometrist office to start following me on here. #stealingsunglassesfromthem

Thursday, May 12, 2011

1999 – 2011.

On the first day of the year 2000, I woke up and realized all was well – robots hadn’t made us their bitches.

And I went out and got myself a puppy.

He was tiny, with the cutest little Hitler mustache. He fell asleep in my lap whenever I held him. And as time passed, he became a blur of energy who made me his crazy sidekick.

And for 11 years, we were inseparable. His big tail wagged and smacked everything in its path. He strained on the 30-foot lead I clipped to him outside our place, greeting every stranger that passed by. He gave big kisses with his big tongue to everybody, especially my baby niece and nephew, who stood at face level with him. And he was smart – he peed and pooped on command.

Every time I finished taking a shower, I saw that black nose pressed against the glass door, forever the Kato to my Inspector Clouseau, ready to start in, then run and grab a weapon (usually a green, squeaky frog) and keep my fighting skills sharp.

He was a tank, which made it all the more shocking when he suddenly became ill. This was a dog that had once been hit by a BMW and walked away, smiling and wagging that tail.

But two days ago, he wasn’t the same. He barely had the strength to stand. He refused to eat even ice cream. And the tail stayed tucked between his legs. I knew there were side effects from his chemo treatment, but he in was in very bad shape. I took him to the vet, thinking maybe she could hydrate him and make him feel better, but as we drove there, it began to sink in that this was the end.

And the vet confirmed it. She heard crackling in his lungs from the cancer. He needed a blood transfusion, had the onset of pneumonia and his gums had turned white. It was time for the staff to bring him into a room with me so we could say goodbye.

He was too weak to kiss me, but I kissed him a lot, and scratched his back for the last time. And I knew I wasn’t putting him down a day too late or a day too soon, and that gave me some peace.

Now, for the first time this century, it’s just me in our home, on auto-pilot, stopping myself from filling his water dish, or from doing the math if I have plans and need someone to walk him. But I smile sometimes, because that dog made me happy every day we were together. And I suppose if I hadn’t loved him so much it wouldn’t hurt this bad to be without him. That’s the tradeoff.

Thanks for everything, Petey. It was the best.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rest In Peace, My Friend.

Petey’s health took an inescapable turn for the worse, and I had to put him down last night.

This past week has been one of the most supportive times of my life. Thank you, everyone.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Go Deep, Back-To-Back.

I like my coffee the way I like my women: after waiting impatiently in a long line.

Actually, I like it fresh from the new Mr. Coffee Single Serve Brewing System. What I’m taking way too long to get to is this: I booked another commercial.

That makes it a dozen overall, and my second in a tough week. Now that is just stupid. But I gotta say, the thing that could cheer me up the most right now (besides a miracle cure for Petey) is booking roles. There’s no higher high for an actor.

It shoots this week, and I plan on celebrating in the most appropriate way: one cup at a time, my friends. One cup at a time.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Petey Update.

It may have given my dog a limited number of days, but I plan to disrupt this cancer parade Animal House-style with an “Eat Me” float.

The three months I was counting on having with him were almost cut down to three days last week, when Petey stopped eating, and the oncologist didn’t like what she saw on his ultrasound. She was leaning toward putting him down right away, but left it up to me. I figured I had to do everything possible for him, so I told her to go ahead and give him a chemo treatment.

Two hours later, the farewell tour was back on. Pete went Seal Team Six – on his feet, and eating everything the nurses could feed him. The oncologist told me she let him roam around the hospital floor after his treatment, and at one point he stopped to exchange a kiss with a kitten. He’s the Pit Bull poster child all the way to the end.

So now, Petey gets whatever he wants to eat, and a shopping basket full of doggy junk food is just what the doctor ordered. (Literally.) I’ve had a few meaningful warnings from friends about not being a selfish owner who keeps his dog alive a little too long, but it won’t be a problem. While last week’s diagnosis was a real punch in the stomach, spending a week with him not really being himself anymore is preparing me for the end.

Until then, Petey is not quite ready to cash in. The appetite is still going strong – an entire herd of pigs have died so that he can live. The good times still roll.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Ocean Spray Commercial Shoot: An iPhone™ Photo Gallery.

The latest Shevin family. We actually had a daughter as well, but she wrapped before this portrait was taken. She was Asian, by the way, and it was never quite explained to me why. I can only assume she was either adopted, or my wife slept with the dry cleaner.

The ice in the glass I sipped from all day was actually made of silicone, so it wouldn't melt. The crew claimed it was non-toxic, but I’ll know for sure tomorrow, if I wake up and still have only ten fingers, ten toes and two nipples.

This Brooks Brothers cashmere sweater is knitted from pure Sea Island cotton, which makes it almost pleasant when you’re sweating your balls off in The Valley.

Directors love me because I have a knack for saying just the right thing to keep kids’ energy high. Here my TV son cracks up after I tell him his on-set teacher had tuna breath.

My dream is to someday become even half the stud I am in storyboard form.

I Thought I Was More Of An Autumn.

My fashion sense doesn’t extend far beyond knowing Vanna White's wardrobe was provided by Jovani.

Meanwhile, my wardrobe for today’s Ocean Spray shoot was provided by a team of two stylists at yesterday’s fitting. One chick seemed more bad cop than good, and I let her know she was the husband in their pseudo-lesbian relationship. I’ll be paying for that all day. Worth it.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Don’t Know How The Hell I Did It Either…

…but I booked a commercial.

Apparently I’m rather good at playing a guy not devastated by his sick dog. Instead, he enjoys a lovely beverage – like one of Ocean Spray’s new, delicious, sparkling juice drinks.

It’s my eleventh commercial, and I’m proud of myself for really locking in during a tough week and getting the role. This one is dedicated to Petey, and the residuals are earmarked for top-shelf chemo. No more of that store-bought stuff for you, Pete.

I shoot tomorrow. Welcome to showbiz.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Thank You So Much.

So, these are the shittiest of days. What I’d been dreading most was every time I’ll be returning to my apartment without Petey there. But after yesterday’s post, I received all kinds of support from friends, and I realized that while I may live alone, I’m definitely not alone.

There were hundreds of calls, emails, texts and comments. People offering to hang with me and get me out of the house. Or let me play with their dogs when Pete’s gone. And lots of reassurance from all my friends who’ve been through the same tough time and fully understand.

I’m still working on the writing assignment I’ve had for the past couple months, from an office during the day. While I hate being away from my dog, I know I’m working for him, earning plenty to take care of any treatments he needs. And the people I hired to walk Petey every day couldn’t be nicer – they’re taking him on shorter walks and spending more time with him at my place. They even texted me the above pic from his walk yesterday, though I have to say it made me miss him and got me worked up, and I may have to nicely ask them to discontinue doing that. Not a bad place for a dog to spend his last days, though, huh?

When I found out Petey was sick, I thought for the first time ever that I would take some time off from blogging, as I was just not feeling it. But a few days have passed, and thanks to your support, while I will progressively become more of a wreck, I still want to share everything else I have going on right now, acting and otherwise, and still have fun on here.

For instance, as destroyed as I was about my dog’s imminent death, I had to ponder the irony of me jumping for joy that Bin Laden got it in the ass. And I tweeted about it.

So consider this a sort of blog sorbet, cleansing the emotional pallet and pushing on. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My Dog Is Dying.

You either love dogs or you don’t.

And for 11 years, I’ve had a mad love affair with my dog, Petey. On Saturday, X-rays revealed Petey’s chest is ravaged with cancer. As the vet delivered the news, I cried, for the first time in 20 years. I cried hard, and the vet kept trying to reassure me that I took such good care of Petey for all these years that it extended his lifespan. A big, 11 year old Pit Bull is like a 100 year old man.

Still, it was too much, too fast to process that my time with him is just about up. I took him over to an oncologist, who was smart and compassionate and thinks that with chemo and medication, Petey can live pretty well for three months. I felt better that I’ll get that time to say goodbye.

This whole event has reminded me of the incredible support system I have, like my mom, who’s always the first person I call with any news, good or bad. Or my friend Jenn, who kept checking in on me. My friend Daniel told me that after Petey is gone, I need to get a new dog, because a good owner like me should always be taking care of one. Or my friend Carolyn Sykes, a super-talented actress who proved once again my theory that actors are truly supportive. Carolyn came with me to the oncologist, and sat with me there for three hours, and asked the doctor all the tough questions for me while my head was spinning. Who does that?

A few days before Petey was diagnosed, he came over to me and started kissing my face more than usual, and wouldn’t stop, as if he knew something was up. It was the beginning of this sad and strange situation, living with a 100 year old friend as if he’s from the future, and for the next few months will be letting me know what to expect.

By the way, the last time I’d cried – 20 years ago – was when my family’s dog died. You either love dogs or you don’t.