Talk Amongst Yourselves
While I try to Figure it out. I’ve always had this urge to hop in my car and just drive and drive until I don’t know where I am. To be a new stranger while I visit even stranger places. I think you adapt to your environment and eventually become what’s around you. Sometimes, though, you lose yourself. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing.
I recently was thrust in quite an adventure. A friend of mine told me about this comedy festival about to take place in Los Angeles. It’s called the Si TV Latino Laugh Festival, and so, being Latino myself I submitted for it.
Two days later I get a call from one of the producers of the show, telling me they are interested in me. Although interested, I had to show a little more leg and audition for the head of the festival in New York. The audition took place at Stand-Up New York, a good sized comedy club in the heart of Manhattan. I wasn’t nervous (yes I was) after all, they are already “interested”. If this were a date; all I would have to do now is play it cool, not say the wrong thing, and keep buying drinks. I went on stage and did my set. It was clean, it was solid, and it was funny. I was confident they would call me straight way……but they didn’t. After spending two weeks waiting for a phone call while throwing an inner tantrum, realizing all hope is dead, and staying up till 4am watching reruns of the Jefferson’s, they called. I was on my way to sunny L.A.!
Hollywood Land I arrived in L.A. on a Friday morning. They actually had a car waiting. Wow. A car, an actual car, it was way better than the one I have at home. One of the comics I was traveling with wanted to stop and get Popeye’s chicken, which is fine, but at 10:30 in the morning? How could you eat that greasy ass, heart attack, beat up chicken that early in the morning?! It was pretty good though.
We get to the Renaissance Hotel. A real swinging place, right on Hollywood Blvd. Hotels excite me, they make me feel… clean. With no time to waste, I immediately went to my room and inspected the bounciness of my bed. It had an 8 out of 10 bounce factor. I mean it was fancy; they had an iron in the room and everything! I was lucky because from my hotel window; if you turned your head all the way to the left, and squished your face up against the glass, you could see the all magical “Hollywood” sign in the distance…on a clear day of course. Can someone tell me why their is a huge cross perched on a hill below the sign? That evening we were picked up and taken to the opening party at Cinespace, a swanky bar a few miles away. After a few glasses of wine I was taken to the Improv Olympic West in Hollywood. Stepping into the green room I realized that a lot of these clubs and theatres hold a lot of the same energy as all the others. A sort of runaway tension wrapped in illuminated possibilities. Figure that one out.
Just after performing and just as quickly I would move on to the next show, spending the night observing interesting characters and seeking new opportunity. Meeting and greeting and exchanging information. Standing in a place I’ve never seen before and sharing my opinions on and off the stage. It felt great to explore and take in the atmosphere. The nights are beautiful in LA, the parking sucks but the night’s are beautiful.
Kodak Theatre Gala
The last night of the festival was the most memorable. We were invited to the closing night gala at the famous Kodak Theatre. I walked into the event and saw a big red carpet with lots of photographers taking pictures of the people walking by. I didn’t think I was supposed to walk the carpet until a P.A. suddenly grabbed me and pushed me onto it. I imagine the first few photographs they took of me were surprised and confused but I soon adapted and began to strike some posses. I liked it, made me feel….wanted.
A few minutes before show time I’m standing around in the lobby, just hanging out when I look up and see a bunch of people on the balcony, looking down at me. Who the hell are those people? Someone explains to me they are just random people who wanted to see what’s going on, fans if you wish. Sort of like armature paparazzi. So I waved to them, of course they didn’t wave back. I even thought I heard one of them whisper, “Who the hell is that?” Carlos Mencia hosted the show and I have to say he did an awesome job. Even though their are plenty of rumors floating about of his joke stealing habits, I can’t knock the guy if I don’t know what he does first hand. All I know is that he was charismatic and impressed me with his performance that night. We were treated to a host of celebrity appearances and special guests. It was a great feeling to be in a room full of successful Latino talent. All working and doing it. It suddenly became real to me and gave me a new found motivation to do it for myself.
The show ended into an after party where I got to mingle. I took some pictures but then felt “Touristy” and “Un-Celebrity-Like”, so I put the camera away and just had a good time. I met many extra ordinary people and tasted a little bit of the good life.
Film Festival Mania! The independent film I'm in called "REWIND" got picked up at three different film festivals including the HBO Latino Film Festival. Check out www.JustLaz.com for a film screening schedule.