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By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
“Ooo,” I thought. “Jackie invited three people to join her here, and they all showed up before she did. That’s awkward.”
Next some old friends were followed through the door by a short, fat guy with silly-looking curly hair. I didn’t know him. When I introduced myself, he said his name was Howard. Without being asked, he offered up that he was a game-show writer between jobs and then, as if in a horror movie, he said, “I’m a friend of Jackie’s.”
Now I was concerned. Who was Jackie, and how many people had she invited?
I was right to be worried, because, by 10 p.m., there were 25 of my friends, 50 friends of Jackie’s and no Jackie. And Jackie’s friends were poorly cast for a young-Hollywood blowout. They ranged in age from their early 40s to their middle 60s. They were men with ponytails and women with fanny packs. Their clothes were unfashionable, their haircuts unfortunate. This was not the party I’d had in mind. Eventually, the mystery began to unravel.
I learned that Jackie and all of her friends were enrolled in something called the Flashforward Institute, which is one of the many organizations in L.A. that exists to help aspiring artists spend some of the money they’ve made in their unsatisfying day jobs. They had taken classes in goal-setting, confidence-building and self-promotion, and now they were learning how to network. For homework, each had been required to throw a party and attend a party. Apparently Jackie, who held an administrative position at MADtv, had seen the sign for my party and figured she could help her classmates satisfy half of their homework in one swoop. So she passed along my invitation — to all 100 of them.
My friends and I were surrounded by a rapidly growing crowd of the kinds of oddballs who need to take a class to find out that if you meet more people, more people will know you. The air was heavy with social ineptitude. And the only thing I could think to do was to get blind-drunk.
Around 11, I was mixing up a vodka and vodka when a woman thrust her big, smiling face in front of me and yelled, “Hi, I’m Jackie! I’m the one who invited a hundred people to your party!”
She then handed me a wooden end table and told me, “Everyone brings something with them to a party, but nobody ever brings anything to put those things on!”
Jackie was what psychologists call a “crazy person.” With a lot of friends.
As they filed out at the end of the night, I gave Jackie and each of her friends a drunken class evaluation. For one reason or another, everyone got an F in networking, except for June, who got credit for being punctual.
“WHAT’S THIS LIFE FOR?”
By Melinda Hill
June 5, 1968: On the heels of his Democratic primary victory in California, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Thirty-five years later, the band Creed shot their music video in the same Ambassador Hotel and cast me as the girl in it. Coincidence? You tell me.
I was in the Creed video for the song “What’s This Life For?” It’s a compelling piece that sort of asks the question, “Hey, what’s this life for?” In the video I play “Crying Motel Girl,” so I’m in a motel room, crying, when I feel a presence. It’s the singer from Creed. I don’t see him, but I feel him, and he gives me the courage to run to the Creed concert in slow motion. Once I make it there, I’m overcome by salvation. The director actually said that.
“Do you think you can be overcome by salvation here?”
I said, “I’m going to dip into my emotional reservoir and make that happen for you.”
All day the director kept saying “yo.”
“That’s a beautiful shot, yo!”
“It’s almost time for lunch, yo!”
I was wondering if she fancied herself some sort of a rapper, but it turns out that the DP was actually named Yo.
At this point, as I rejoice-dance under a rain machine with 100 extras in the night desert, you really get the sense in my character’s face that she’s figured out what this life is for: It’s for Creed.
Now, some of you may be wondering, “What did you do with all the money from the video?” Well, I’ll tell you, I took that $250 and spent it on veterinary bills in an attempt to save my beloved cat, Razzle Dazzle, who incidentally didn’t make it. While I don’t blame the band Creed for this senseless tragedy, I also don’t think that they did anything to stop it.
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