Month: June 2010

It’s Funny Cause it’s …

a) old

b) tired

c) an overused trope

d) lazy writing

e) umm…true?

Included in my work writing for and working in film and television, I often get the chance to do coverage. For the two people who aren’t my industry friends reading this blog, coverage is what happens when a non-executive type like myself reads a script for an executive type and writes a synopsis and feedback on the quality of the script. This is often a script’s first step toward not being made and provides writers like myself with valuable info.

Do enough coverage and you have a head’s up on what’s being submitted so you can either jump on a good bandwagon or avoid a tired subject. Also, you get a by proxy education as you read what does and does not work. What does work, apparently, because I’ve read it about a million times in the 5 years I’ve been doing this is one simple fact:

RBP are sassy, mean and HILARIOUS!

I just read a script and since I’ll probably be sued for saying who it was for or what the script was or who the writer was, I’ll just say this and hope that s/he is reading.

One of the characters was described thusly: “SHAKWANDA, a sassy African American receptionist…” and then she went on to have every line be “oh, nuh uh!” “I do NOT need this today,” “you best leave me alone fo’ I cut you,” etc. This would be unremarkable except that with the exception of one glorious family script that for the same above reasons, I cannot name, every script with a black character that I end up reading  is pretty much written this way.

There is some variation, of course. Sometimes the RBP in question is an athlete, sometimes an oversexed teen. But the character is always the same. They are not the hero, they are not the love interest, their lines haughtily punctuate the ends of scenes and their character arc only bends them from totally sassy, to slightly less sassy.

Needless to say, I am soooo over this.

I mean, c’mon. Just like I said in my open letter to Oprah, I have worked waaaaayyyy too hard for the only thing I need to be able to avoid are an accent and an attitude. I was born not talking that way. I would need the best accent coaches ever to figure out how to say grrrrl. And those years of ballet did not teach me to roll my neck. So help me keep my game up by keeping up yours.

Click here for more on an Oreo’s experience at the movies.

And here for an exec’s views on the Oreo experience.

Where am I supposed to park this?

What was pitched as as a trip for tapas in Topanga turned to a treacherous trial of trying to squeeze my sedan in a safe spot  the side of a steep steep

*sigh* I guess I will just have to carry a valet around with me.

slope two blocks away from the party.

The view was amazing, the company was great and the food was fantastic, so much so that the three pounds I just lost returned with a vengeance.

Getting out of my car, however, required a firm understanding of physics, cleats and a leap of faith as I sprung from my 45 degree angled seat, braced for landing on the soft, gravely shoulder and scampered across the street so that I didn’t get squashed by cars flying around the blind curve.

And while I will rarely if ever turn down an invite for Spanish appetizers, I did wonder, what’s the etiquette when you live in a place where parking a car is next to impossible. The house had a small driveway–enough for the family’s car–but that was it. The neighborhood was situated in the middle of a mountain pass, so there were no businesses nearby with parking lots available to borrow. There was hardly any shoulder on the road and what shoulder there was was taken up by the sharp rise of a slope.

In LA, we have plenty of areas like this. There’s mountains like Topanga where you can slide off to your death without too much effort. Permit heavy areas like West Hollywood, where even with a guest pass, you sometimes need to bring an extra pair of shoes for the half mile hike you will inevitably take to your buddy’s pad, Hollywood proper where irresponsible city planning has led to parking fees hovering somewhere around $2/fifteen minutes, Downtown where the proximity of decent area to skid row is unsettling or Hancock Park and Silverlake type areas that are just so popular that even with a decent amount of street space. Though, I guess there’s always the 101 and 405 where lots of people find places to park.

What do you think? Should invites to places like this come with warnings/suggestions? A valet? Or maybe it’s just a clever way to invite solitude?

Baby Oreos, Coconuts, Twinkies!

Look at these little guys and girls! They’re so excited to see in this woman what they could be. And if they work very hard, what they will be some days.

Awww, reminds me of me when I was their age.

Thanks, Pampers. For ensuring that Oreodom continues from generation to generation.

See also: Other Food Based Nicknames, Oreo Origins, and Why Self Loathing is Good For You.

Hipster Jeans Can Save Your Life

RBP - as seen in NYC

Guys: More evidence that being an Oreo is not only socially expedient, but healthy as well!

You know how RBP guys like to wear their jeans all baggy and low? Well, doing that can kill!

Clyde Haberman wrote about the lack of safety in saggy slacks in his New York Times column. Haberman says:

Hector Quinones didn’t amount to much in life, but he managed in death to make a powerful fashion statement. The statement boiled down to this: Don’t be a jerk like me.

Not nearly enough people seem to be taking his lesson to heart.

Back in December, Mr. Quinones killed three men in an apartment on the Upper West Side, a bloodbath described by the police as drug-related. Mr. Quinones was intent on shooting more people, they said, only he was forced to flee. He ran to the fire escape. But the low-slung pants he was wearing fell down, the police said. He tripped over them, took a tumble and landed with a thud in the building’s backyard.

There you had it: death by trousers.

So gents, head on over to your neighborhood Urban Outfitters or Hot Topic and pick up a pair toute de suite! Don’t worry about that numb/tingling feeling in your nether regions when you shoehorn yourself in to the right pair. That just means they’re working!

Rent a White Guy? RentANegro(.com) Why Not hire an Oreo?

Major credit cards will be accepted

I read this article today in the Atlantic about a white guy hired by a Chinese business to be one of its in public faces. The company knew that you have to have the right look to get ahead. Apparently, it’s pretty big business over there.

“I call these things ‘White Guy in a Tie’ events,” a Canadian friend of a friend named Jake told me during the recruitment pitch he gave me in Beijing, where I live. “Basically, you put on a suit, shake some hands, and make some money. We’ll be in ‘quality control,’ but nobody’s gonna be doing any quality control. You in?”

I was.

And so I became a fake businessman in China, an often lucrative gig for underworked expatriates here.

And while an Oreo face might not give your company the international oomph it wants, there are some times when hiring an Oreo could come in handy!

  • It’s your diversity photo shoot day at college and the football team is at an away game.
  • You want to keep your Tea Party event safe from media scrutiny.
  • It’s Halloween and you want to do a fun two-person costume. If you’re a white guy, hire an Oreo and go as George Lucas, Sting or Thomas Jefferson. If you’re an anglo tastic gal, you can be Heidi Klum, Idina Menzel or Elin Nordegren.
  • You want people to flip through your facebook photos and think that you went somewhere exciting for the long weekend like New Orleans or a Raiders game…when really, you took a staycation in your jammies on the couch.

I am happy to send over a rate sheet if you’re interested. Reference are available upon request.

Any other Oreo stand in jobs I’m missing?

Oreo rentals are not to be confused with Rent-A-Negro, which offers slightly different services.

Can’t Tell Which Hurts So Good-er

If you want to look good, sometimes it has to hurt.

This weekend, as I sat in my salon chair for my regular soul flagellating ritual of a relaxer, I was convinced to try

pressing instead. The results, are thankfully the same–my hair is straight and the little curls of God’s practical joke are gone…and both methods come with pain, discomfort and a credit card bill near or in the three digits…But I’m not sure which is the best way to go.

For those of you who are already blessed with hair that responds to a comb and that your beloveds can easily run their fingers through, here’s a quick primer on what we do to keep our locks in line.

Relaxer: Imagine spreading a slice of sandwich bread with a thick layer of mayo.

Getting a relaxer is like only the sandwich bread slice is your scalp and the “new growth”–tightly curled natural hair that has yet to be tamed. And the mayo is lye a relaxer cream that in about 10 minutes of it landing on your skin begins to cause second degree burns. Luckily, it takes about 20 minutes for a relaxer to do it’s thing, so you’ve got plenty of time to sweat, squirm and stew about how lucky you’d be if you didn’t have to do this.

Pressing: No chemicals, so it’s healthier. But it’s also painful. Imagine raking your lawn. See how pulling the rake through the grass makes the lawn look all pretty?

Now imagine the lawn is your hair and the rake is a metal comb that’s been heated up to about 400 degrees. Also imagine that in order to make the rake work, you have to smooth just a bit of oil on the grass first so that when the 400 degree metal comb touches the oil, some vaporizes, but what doesn’t, melts on to your scalp and causes a quickly cooling, but mild first to second degree burn.

The pain of the relaxer is more intense, but sustained, so you can build resistance and is over in about 20 minutes.

The pain of a press and curl is more sporadic, so you’re not sure when to stop tensing and lasts longer as the oil-then-rake process must occur a couple hundred times (using very small chunks of hair each time) before you’re done.

Relaxers also last longer so you don’t have to endure them as often; but the scars they leave behind tend to last longer than the welts brought up by a relaxer.

Hmmm. Definitely want to make sure that my hair process reinforces the self loathing…there’s beauty in pain after all. Not sure which is the better way to go. What do you think?