I make movies,photography,comedy and music happen
I make movies,photography,comedy and music happen
I’m not really a “I’m just gonna’ pack up my shit and move to California lady”. Although, I kinda’ envy people that can do that…just throw all their shit up on top of their car, make the jack off motion, and say to themselves “Eh, it’ll all work out somehow, I guess!” I’m more of a “I’m gonna’ complete 2 decent film projects and move to California six years later kinda’ lady”.
After Family Planning and Other Funny Stories 2 wrapped, I decided now was the time to move. Either that or just wither away here, in every way possible, and eventually die.
I decided to take a trip down there first and check out the sitch. I didn’t have a lot of cash. Almost everything I had I spent on gas, for the most part, and some parking.
My truck has a long bed, so I threw a twin mattress in there, some gear and left. It was pretty comfortable, actually. I’ve camped a lot, so it was no big deal. I brought non-perishable groceries and just ate and drank what I bought pre-trip.
I read a lot of Boondocking advice before I left. Some of that advice was wrong. Truckers at those Pilot stations did not want to share pavement with me. I made it through without paying for camping, anyway. Next time I'll find a state park.
I had a few things that I wanted to do while I was there. Hit one big stand up show, look for work, and do some mics. I only ended up having time to do one of those things. Here’s how this all went down:
I LOVE California. Every time I have to leave it, I get a little sad. Just starting the drive down there made me happier.
I had originally planned to leave the last week in April, but the 30th was my youngest daughter’s 21st birthday, so May 1st is when I actually left. I didn’t end up leaving Bellingham ‘til 5 p.m. Driving at night is way better, anyway. The traffic wasn’t even that bad by the time I got to Seattle.
The first night was spent at a sketch looking truck stop in Oregon. I saw trucks, but the whole area just screamed "recent/frequent murders". The truck stop could have been called Meth and I would have believed it.
The store itself was even a twisted little slice of Hillbilly Americana. They sold stuff in there that you don’t see often…or ever. They sold Night Train and that weird Neopolitan candy that your grandma kept in her living room candy dish. The millennial update to this candy was apparently to make it in a Fruit By the Foot format. Any David Lynch film could have happened at this gas station, is what I’m sayin’.
Before the trip I’d slapped a couple of cheap home security rattle detectors on the tail gate and back window of the canopy. Mostly so I’d have time to scream before someone bludgeoned me to death at some truck stop or rest area.
That night, the Deliverance gas station attendant came and knocked on my window just as I was dozing off to tell me that I “can’t park there”, so I moved my truck and slept in my locked cab instead. (I’d asked him ahead of time to park. His reply was "Over night?". That was the first and only night that I asked, though.) When I woke up the next morning, I realized that I, indeed, would have been very much in the way in the spot where I was originally parked. It had been pitch black when I got there though.
I felt pretty safe sleeping amongst the trucks. Did you know they can just pull off of the road practically anywhere and sleep? I saw gaggles of them doing just that all up and down I5. I think that’s cool, and really, I think anyone should be allowed to do that, legally.
All the way down the interstate I kept passing and being passed by this old couple in a nice car. I’d see them on the road and at rest stops. They looked so relaxed. The old guy had a lead foot.
Google maps told me it would take something like 19 hours to get to L.A. I was more around the 24 hour mark. I slept a second night among the trucks in a city that had both a prison AND a mental hospital. I had a nap along the way and woke up feeling sick in the stomach. I chugged some Pepto and the nausea eventually passed. I got to L.A. that afternoon.
People drive like maniacs there, by the way. I saw one dude with a fast black car of some flavor. The license plate read “Coffin”. Touche, fast car dude. There was also one time where I was getting on the freeway from a right handed on ramp…Wuuut???
In an L.A. parking lot, I immediately started trying to figure out where the comedy mics were. What I found though, was a surprise Louie CK show at The Comedy Store. Tickets had gone on sale at 11 a.m., and I was a few hours late, but I figured what the hell, I’ll go and see if I can get in. I pulled up to the club and the line was all the way down the block. So, I parked and got in line.
I saw a lot of nice cars and the people that I met all seemed to have cool jobs and interesting stories about what inspired them to move to L.A. A young woman I met in line was an intern at College Humor. I thought that was pretty rad.
When we finally got towards the front of the line, we were told that there were only 17 tickets left. We weren't sure whether we would get in or not. We did.
After that, I decided to just stay where I was parked ‘til the show and just walk around. It didn’t seem like there was too much to see in that area. So, I got a coffee, talked to a guy selling hot dogs and arranged to meet a Bellingham comic that had moved to L.A. 7 or 8 months ago.
I thought about going back to my truck and changing out of the cut offs and t-shirt that I was wearing, decided I was comfy, and so I didn’t. I was on day 2 with those shorts. I figured it didn’t matter too much. I’d been camping for two days and my attitude was casual-fuck-it.
As I was walking by The Comedy Store to meet my friend, I noticed a line again. I saw the young woman who had been in front of me the first time and I asked her what was going on. She told me it was the line to get seated. So, I got back in line and called my friend. We visited while I stood in line.
With a bag full of Pepto, my camera and 2 lenses (‘cause I don’t leave my camera or lenses in my truck) I stood in line while two bro’s in front of me talked about sister banging. I mentally rolled my eyes so hard I time traveled twice. I also prayed for lightning.
We finally got inside. I was seated front right. Inches from the stage…right next to the broski brothers. I was glad I’d worn some of the clothes I’d slept in. HAHAHAHA.
There was a two drink minimum. The minimum number of drinks that I wanted was zero. ‘Cause my stomach. I ordered a cider.
The show eventually started.
The opener took the stage and left. David Spade took the stage and left.
Louie CK came on. He was wearing a suit and his new stuff was brilliant. I could live 100 more years and not be as good at verbal story telling.
I took a couple of swigs of that drink that I didn’t want throughout Louie’s set. At some point towards the end, that drink started making its way back up my throat hole.
No one should ever have to ask themselves “Do I just vomit right here next to the stage, orrrr...?” Yet, there we were. Not knowing the protocol for this series of events, I made my way to the back of the room. Excuse me…pardon me…coming through.
I came back out, and took my seat only to get up 30 seconds later because Louie was done.
Did I mention my phone was missing that whole time? Well, it was. As the staff checked the lost and found, Ron White strolled past me…ya’ know…like ya’ do.
I slept in a residential area of Santa Monica that night. Not before getting lost in the dark in Beverly Hills though. Their streets are jankier than you would think. Narrow too. The voice in my phone that makes directions happen eventually gave up on me. I was on my own. My son told me to avoid Compton at all costs. I thought that was solid advice since I was lost in Beverly Hills.
The next morning I woke up and went to The Santa Monica Pier. It was beautiful. I love the ocean so hard. I took a ton of pictures and talked to everyone. A homeless dude declared that he “liked my style”. I talked to a budding photographer, a Russian scientist and a dude traveling the world shooting a documentary about street performers with his RED.
When I told the Russian scientist that I was a little nervous about moving, he said “You’re afraid of moving in the United States? It’s so easy here. You just pick up and you…move.” “Moving from Russia? That was hard.”
That moved me. It’s all about perspective, inn’t it?
See ya' soon, L.A. September, most likely...:)