Tag Archive: lakers


 

Today was a typically long Sunday, some outside time, some personal things I had to get done – like all hardcore sports fans though, this particular Sunday meant planning everything around the NBA Finals.  So what time did the game start for me?  5 PM, perfect to get to a friend’s house for an early dinner.  At the end of a great game was it time for bed?  Hell no, it just turned 8 PM!  Enough time to get a few things done (including writing this post)!

Regular season NFL games starting at 10 in the morning, the ability to catch the ending of any great prime time game without the benefit of Sportscenter, the early start times are a hidden benefit you don’t catch until you’re here.  They’re also the real truth for the infamous ‘late arriving’ LA sports crowds; on top of the unlimited entertainment options this town provides, the ‘prime time games’ during the week mean you’re fighting rush hour traffic on top of stadium/arena traffic. 

This is the movie geek in me talking, but the growth of the internet (and Twitter) has forced pretty much all the big award shows taped on the West Coast to televise live out here.  So we’re still getting used to seeing the Golden Globes and Oscars on television at 5 in the evening, but I’m sure we’ll get used to that too. 

I’ll admit it, I’m spoiled now.

If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know I look at (my) life through three prisms: spiritual happiness, professional growth, and personal relationships.  As I look at where I am now, compared even to 12 months ago, I’m incredibly humbled.

At 33, I’ve written and directed a professional short.  I still can’t say enough about the professionalism and overall comfort I felt working with the guys from Through a Glass.  The end result of course was national exposure.  I lost track of the number of times I was teased about Sanaa Lathan ‘saying my name’ on television.  I plan to direct again at some point.  I haven’t determined when yet.  Last week I was in this acting workshop, and I did a cold read of this comedic scene that played very well.  The casting director gave me a note that was like an epiphany: do more comedy.  I was trained in drama, and I was (at least) technically proficient enough in ‘Lady’ to prove I could act.  But my individual charm, my personality, my ‘shine’ is much more obvious when I’m being silly or a smartass.  I’ve had comic relief in every project I’ve ever done, but I’ve never led with it as my primary focus.  I’m inspired to write again, for the first time in almost a year.  I’m taking on more schooling, focusing more on the comedy training I already have.  I’m enjoying myself.  We’ll see where I’m at 12 months from now (God willing).

At 33, I’m starting my second decade as a West Coast resident.  And I still feel like I just moved here. There’s so much I still haven’t seen or done in this city.  And that doesn’t include San Fran, Hearst Castle, Torrey Pines, and a lot of other parts of the Golden State.  USC, the Lakers, the Dodgers, these are my teams now (can’t imagine cheering for anyone but the Chiefs).  I’m loving the return of sunny days, and I got pissy as all hell when it wouldn’t stop raining. I’m beyond spoiled!  This city, its energy, its diversity, its liberalism (and quiet conservatism); I feel like I’ve lived here my whole life already.  And you notice I haven’t talked the Biz when I talk about the city?  In retrospect, it seems amazing I never really planned to come this way.  Everything truly happens for a reason, and God truly has a plan.

If normal at this moment in time is defined as not being as tight lipped as Tiger Woods, but not being as open as John Mayer, there’s no harm in me admitting at 33, there is a She.  Our relationship is very young, but She is amazing.  Silly, sexy, sensitive,sarcastic, political, charming, affectionate, giving.  I’m looking at Her birthday gifts to me as I write this, in awe of it all. I’m Michael Jackson, I’m John Lennon, I’m Bruce Wayne: I’m this black, Muslim, ‘Hollywood’, noncomformist geek, and she ‘gets it’.  I guess we’ll see if He and She become a We now that I’m 33.  (I’m sorry, I’m sorry, that wasn’t me being smitten, that was me needing to get my behind into bed.)

At this moment, as I move past my last professional milestone, I see the next one coming up quickly.  (Not jinxing it.)  At this moment, I’m waking up in a city I love to live in, enjoying another sunny day.  At this moment, I have a Pretty Young Thang saying those three words to me every morning when I wake up, and every night before I go to sleep (and several times in between).

On my 33rd birthday, I’m essentially living the life I dreamed of having.  My spiritual, professional and personal happiness are all good and looking to become great.  I’ve never been more aware I’m in the 1% of people on this planet who can say that.  I’m having my (birthday) cake and eating it too.  I’m beyond blessed and incredibly humbled.  God is good.

 

Last week I had to drop off some CDs to a friend of mine who lives in Brentwood.  Rush hour traffic on the 405…yeah.  So I took the scenic route home, traveling on Sunset Boulevard through Hollywood.  Traveling east, you pass by two of the three things I’ve already written about in this space: Arclight Hollywood and one of the many In & Out chains.  But that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

Even at night, the palm trees and curvy roads of Bel-Air and the entrance to the UCLA campus stick out.  Being one of many artists here, I have a few friends who have chosen the stand up comedy route.  And on occassion I’ve caught them at the Laugh Factory, or the Comedy Store, or one of several other comedy spots that dot the Strip.  Ahhh yes, the Strip.  It was one of those ‘must be done’ spots when I first came here a decade ago; it was a rite of passage whenever a new bachelor friend came to town that we’d pack in the car, open the sunroof and windows, and ‘enjoy the scenery’ as it were.  And yes, we were doing it way before it became part of the opening credits of Entourage. 

The House of Blues followed by a late night/early morning trip to IHOP would echo a few of the long nights of my own college days; the Sunset Blvd. IHOP is famous/infamous for its own reasons though.  A throwback to the seedier days of Hollywood and Sunset before it became a full blown tourist attraction.  The action doesn’t always go down in the late hours of the night though.  There’s Harmony Gold, where we screened more than a few films during the school days, and still gets a visit every now and again for a screening.  There’s a bar that I don’t think is there anymore (big surprise; on Sunset Blvd. when one bar closes down another opens a few weeks later).  Anyway this bar was the first place I remember going to watch Laker games with the ‘in’ crowd.  I won’t put my friend on blast, but I remember walking in there for the first time just to see him surrounded by girls, looking like the King of the City.  And my thought was, “OK…I’m really not in Kansas anymore.”  (I know, that was a terrible pun but it was my thought.)

The film geek in me won’t let me finish this entry without noting that one of the first (and still the best) movies about ‘Hollywood’ good and bad is named Sunset Boulevard.  Sex, murder, celebrity, desperation, glamour, image…

Some things never change, do they?

My 1st Sports Entry

 

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A quick primer for those of you who are unfamiliar with where my loyalties lie…

College Basketball: the Jayhawks.  Do I enjoy playing the ‘sellout’ role a little too much for my KU friends?  Probably.  My first sports event ever, my father took me to Kemper Arena to watch the Final Four practice in 1988.  Before last year, that also happened to be the last time the Jayhawks won the title.  Very good memory.

MLB: The Royals, with a little love for the Dodgers since they’re in the National League.  The 1985 World Series I remember in bits and pieces; for better or worse my favorite Royals memory is still Hal McRae losing it, throwing a phone out of his office, then telling the cat he hit over the head ‘stick that in your pipe and smoke it!’  But they’re in first place right now so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

NBA: the Lakers.  My first book report was on Magic Johnson.  If Michael Jackson was my first idol, Magic was 1A.  Magic was on that very, very short list of people who as I approached him I heard myself saying, “Please don’t be an a-hole, please don’t be an a-hole…”  So when I told him he was one of my childhood idols, you know what he did?  He shook my hand, thanked me, and said he was glad he made a positive influence on my life.  And by the time I met Magic, I was a grown man.  Note to all celebrities/public figures, THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE!  I digress…  As far as today’s Lakers go, they’ve definitely got a shot to bring another parade to downtown.  I was at the last one; crazy.  And we already have plans to be there again this June, if a freak of nature based out of Cleveland doesn’t get in our way.

College Football:  the Trojans, naturally.  Saturday evenings in the fall, you know where to find me.  As big of a sports fan as I am, it’s become a pleasant surprise that my first “LA Season Ticket Holder” experience would be with the football fans from SC.  My old man has expressed interest in coming out for a game at some point; it’d be great if these fools made it back to the Rose Bowl this year.  Probably wishful thinking though. 

NFL:  Chiefs.  The team I grew up with in the league I love the most.  Hosted many a Super Bowl party, but as of yet not for my own team.  I’ve watched the Arizona Cardinals, Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Carolina Panthers, Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, and San Diego Chargers in the big game.  But not my team yet.  And last season, don’t get me started.

Excuse me while I put ice on my knuckles…