It looked exactly like Melrose Place to me.
When I went to LA for E3, I hit my hotel first before I hit the convention or the poker tables. When I checked into my hotel all I had seen was the lobby, and of course the legendary building next door, the Magic Castle. My hotel was really a “long term hotel”, practically an apartment building, so the atmosphere was very un-Hilton-like.
The Castle doubles as a combo trade union hall and a venue for magicians. Magicians are a gossipy and catty lot, though it seems to be a mostly male-dominated gig. I remember reading an article about David Blaine a few years ago where every other other magician interviewed was so envious of Blaine’s easy fame that you could see the spit hanging off their quotes. Or perhaps like the rest of us, they just were jealous because he was banging Fiona Apple.
(Actually, I could never sleep with her because Fiona Apple fails my “post-coital chatter” test for sexual partners, but that’s another diary entry…)
This sort of open hostility is very un-Hollywood. Typical Hollywood operating procedure requires that you smile and flatter people in the press while they season and eat your family’s first child.
Think of Harvey Weinstein at “second breakfast” and you understand what I mean. Right about the time Harvey’s ready to start in on your child’s last remaining leg is when he’s likely to offer you some miniscule slice of the video rights to your film, which he’s already pre-sold and cashed the check for. That’s when he’ll get that bitch Gawker on the phone to say something nice about him. “Oh yes”, you’ll say, “Harvey and I have come to a mutual financial understanding…”
I actually have friends in LA. I use the term “friends” because: a) I knew them before they moved to LA, b) they never referred to our friendship as “exploring some projects together”, and c) we weren’t introduced by our agents.
When I told my LA friends I was staying next to the Magic Castle they looked horrified, then bemused and asked “did a magician ask you if he could make your belongings disappear?” Apparently that area of Hollywood isn’t all that great a neighborhood. I understand their fear. I inventoried my fellow hotel-mates when I arrived and realized this is where you stay before you’ve made it big. The place is a real dump, and looked like not a bit of maintenance had been done in ten years. The security of the place was so bad I took to keeping all my valuables in the trunk of my rental car, since I knew the car had an alarm.
My hotel mates, in the order I identified them:
- The rocker
- This guy was staying to my right and up one floor, out of frame of the photo. He had a poorly maintained mohawk, a bunch of tattoos, and a large ring halfway through the process of stretching out his left earlobe. He was awake from noon to 4am daily, when he wasn’t sitting on his porch in his shorts playing with his balls and talking on the phone. Clearly Guns and Roses made it big this way, and so can he.
- The roadie/bartender
- This guy lived in the apartment with the balcony on the left side of the photo. For several days while I was there he had a crew in his apartment shooting photos. I couldn’t tell if it was porn or just someone’s idea of a good place to shoot, but they had to pull their lights out onto the balcony because there wasn’t enough room in the apartment. I couldn’t see clearly into the apartment, but it was clear they were taking a photo of someone in a state of undress on a bed.
- The aspiring actress
- This woman spent most of her time in a bikini at the pool, and mostly at the chair right below me. She had brought a cordless phone with her to her hotel/apt so she could take calls. Most of them from her friends, but an occasional one from someone in the business about an audition. Do I need to mention that she weighed about 100 pounds and had fake breasts that looked like each weighed about as much as her head? Or that she made a big point of being out there for every second when the photo crew was working in the balcony above her and to the left? No, I didn’t think I had to.
- The unhappy family
- This is really a hotels.com story gone wrong. Clearly they were using the Internet to figure out where to stay and booked this place without realizing the inflated ratings system. This 2.5 star hotel was still standing in an earthquake zone, which is how they give out hotel stars in California. Two if the place is standing, and the other 1/2 star if the reviewer shows up and isn’t mugged.
The hotels.com description says “The guest rooms are clean, comfortable and well appointed, with a modern décor.” Indeed, the rooms are clean, if you count the bugs in my bed as part of the cleaning staff. It was eminently comfortable when I came home drunk off my ass and needed a place to crash. And modern decor must mean that the couch has been there for twenty years and has a depression in the middle where an overweight magician sat and cried about the state of his career.
Perhaps I can hook him up with Harvey Weinstein, he’s still hungry for new talent, I hear.