Friday, February 22, 2013

Nanny Available! Worked for Demi Moore!

I'm organizing my archives and came across this post. An early one. The girls were maybe four. 

I have had over 30 nannies in 16 years. Some for a day, a week, a weekend, a few years. I have encountered every kind of problem that goes with hiring a nanny and every kind of good thing that can come from it. I have had angels who show more patience toward my children than I do and I have had drug addicts I have found passed out on my kitchen floor. But I have never encountered this:


I was outraged and also had no idea what the Demi Moore connection meant. I read it to a few friends. Was she saying Demi was a cunt, so I was like her? Or just me? Or she just calls everyone a cunt. I like Demi Moore, so was she just bragging? Then finally, who cares?

I had never met this person, but she answered an ad I placed on Craigslist which, admittedly is a desperate move and a ridiculous way to find someone to watch your beloved children. Nonetheless, sometimes moms are desperate and we do what we have to in order to get childcare. 

Many of the people on Craigslist are also registered from agencies and over time I have learned to tell who has actual experience and who once babysat for say, a cat. This particular girl, Suzi Snowflake, answered my ad by sending a "resume," which was really a flyer made by an eight year old.

Suzi was a full time nanny, but also a weekend and part time nanny with ten years experience. I'm guessing she was 15. Suzi also attached a Myspace link in the email where I could download her music. Like this, but if this was Jess Lewis, I actually would have called her.

But instead, it was this dark haired girl wearing thick eyeliner, covering some Black Sabbath song and it was horrible. I wish I could find it.

But you get the idea. ^^

We exchanged emails a bit, then she sent this:

"I was raised in Beverly Hills, am Caucasian white, went to an expensive private high school and I play awesome guitar. I'm super fun, well connected, (know Johan Hill for example) and my parents are famous. I am doing this because I love kids. Your kids. I also make a minimum of $35 an hour.  I also attached my headshot, as I'm an actress and, random, but just played a babysitter on a student film!"

Me:  "How much experience do you have watching children? This would be full time. I work, and have 4-year old twin girls."

"OH! I love girls. And thank god they're 4!!! because I can't stand watching babies. Also it's important that you have a staff, like housekeeping and stuff, cause I don't clean or cook or anything like that. This sounds like a no brainer for me! I've been babysitting my little sister for a year now."

I sent her an email simply asking how she could qualify as a caretaker if she has no actual experience and told her the going rate was more in the range of $15 an hour. Her reply was to call me a cunt in caps lock. Of course I had to go to her Myspace. 

"I see myself as the next Courtney Love. I'm all about punk rock and good times!" A bit about her HS years, some nonsense about her playing Juliette in the HS play.  Her head shot and tons of photos, some quite provocative, all in various baby doll dresses. She also had a series of pictures of Love, and a few of Cobain. 

I think how she saw herself ^^

And what a great nanny she would be. ^^

I sent her back an email calling her quite unprofessional and I planned to forward it to every family I knew (which is a lot) and every entertainment and music executive I knew (also a lot.)

Her next email was apologetic and pleading, but even so, she went on to say she secured a “tight nanny gig” in Bel Air which paid her $45 dollars an hour so that asking price is certainly not out of the question for the “richer families.” I clearly was “out of step” regarding the financial bracket she was accustomed to, "as I should have figured out from your lame zip code!"

Who was this freak? Of course I wanted to drive to her house and bitch slap her, but she would have probably sued me. Also now she just belonged in the psycho category and best to stay away altogether.

But, me being me, I planted a fake ad on Craigslist just to see the responses. 

“Nanny needed for upscale, prominent and well known celebrity family. As we are in the limelight, we need to have someone discreet, highly professional, at least five years childcare experience, trained in CPR and an education in the arts is a plus, but not essential. We have homes in Beverly Hills, Malibu, Hawaii and Paris and travel a lot, so you must have a valid passport. Speaking French is a plus. We have one well-behaved baby who sleeps all day and night. The right candidate will get paid $50 dollars an hour; plus full health benefits, and a Mercedes SUV. We have around the clock house attendants and an on-call celebrity chef so your meals will be provided for. We also entertain so at those times, again, we will expect discretion. You must also be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement. Thank you.”

Well, of course I received stacks of responses, including one from Miss "Wish I was Courtney Love," who had taken five minutes to alter her one sheet to include:

"I have vast experience with babies and have a magical way of singing to them  so they become smarter. I took French in high school, mix well with fame and am used to being around movie stars!”  AND attached this photo, no joke.

I sent her an email:

"Hi Suzi! So I guess that Bel Air gig didn't work out. Well, I hired someone else. I hear the Jolie-Pitts are hiring. Give them a buzz."

I adore Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and their entire clan and sometimes wonder if I should just take a break and go work for them for a few weeks for free. How fun would that be?  I want to run around their Chateau and play laser tag.

After Suzi, I found a lovely young woman through a friend and she was a complete blessing. 

I have nothing but gratitude knowing I will never have to go through this frantic nanny search again. We have a short list of somewhat reliable teenage girls in our "horrible" zip code that my girls love. And hey, in a few years, they will be babysitters themselves.

Rhonda Talbot weighing in on nannies, posers, Beverly Hills, Courtney Love, over-privileged teenagers, averting disasters. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Francis Ford Coppola, Bob Evans and Me

Early days in my college, the film department like to expose their Freshman students to various directors, producers, etc. One of my first forays as an intern was to meet with directors and talk about, well, directing.

On this particular assignment, I was to go to Robert Evans mansion in Beverly Hills and read a "secret" script, so secret it could not leave his premises. They wanted to get a young persons point of view, and female. I was one of two females in the film department.

So off I went, through the iron gates, past the butlers, glancing around his palatial home filled with artwork, Persian rugs, 70's furniture, drugged up fashion models, as though I did this everyday. I was taken by this one room. Evans has an amazing collection of both artwork and photographs.

Just beyond the sitting area was a large pool inhabited a half dozen semi-clad models or actresses. They seemed to lounge around in slow motion, or just lie about.

Jack Nicholson was drinking an ice tea by the pool wearing a tennis outfit looking at the girls.

Robert was sitting in his bed wearing silk pajamas where he conducted all of his work. He was incredibly pleasant. He handed me the script Cotton Club.

Evans:  See what you think. Are you comfortable?
Me:  Yes. Thanks. Should I go in the other room?
Evans:  No. You can sit on the edge of the bed.

His private chef brought me lunch as I read the script. But because it was unlike anything I had ever read, and was also completely unfamiliar with, I was ill equipped to judge. But this much I know. I didn't care about any of the characters. From the first page. I didn't care if they sang, died, became famous, had affairs or slept with the fishes.

I understood this was a Puzo gangster story set again the Prohibition era Harlem, but was also a musical. I disliked film musicals. In fact, still do. I can't bear watching them. I still haven't seen Les Miserables. I've seen the play thrice. Isn't that enough! Not to mention read the book.

Please do not break into song when I'm already having trouble following the 15 unmemorable characters. Who were all these people? I had to keep going back to reread pages. I felt like an idiot. Who was this movie for? Is that Richard Gere at the pool? Why does Evan's have such a big staff?

I set the script down. Evans was talking on the phone, smoking a pipe; surrounded by papers, scripts, phone records.  The smoke smelled liked vanilla. He looked up at me, peering behind dark eye-wear.

Evans: So?
Me: Well, I had a hard time following it. And honestly, I didn't care very much about anyone. No offense.
He smiled.
Evans: What would you do to change it? (puff, puff)
Me: I would simplify it. Introduce the characters earlier. Make me want to hang out with them. At that club I guess.

Of course, I would learn the long and incredibly complicated story behind Cotton Club. From this skeletal script, would come countless others, A-list casting, tons of money being thrown at the movie from Vegas mobsters, a lawsuit, a possible murder, and in the end, while not a complete disaster, the film was not the "brilliant" gem Evans had dreamed of.

There would be months and months of letters, notes, Evan's manic need to get this script into shape.

Evans saw this as his crowing achievement. But his ideas and Coppola's ideas never quite gelled.

I have not seen the films in years, but this clip in a way describes my initial reaction. Diane Lane is a teenager in this movie, (as was I) this is her moment with Richard Gere where they "fall in love." I still don't see it.

In the end Evans signed off on the project, with one last attempt begging Coppola to try and fix the film while editing. But Coppola did not take any of his suggestions.

I probably will never see this film again, but as an introductory to Hollywood, the time I spent in his house, on his bed, having really no idea why I was there, looking around at the history entombed in his house and the future flitting about just outside the window in the shape of very young actors, I realize how much has changed.

Nowadays, when I have to read a super "secret" script like say, Hunger Games, they put you in an airless room filled with 20 other people, some old coffee and a box of donuts. Not quite the same.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Patrick Wilson, Lena Dunham's boobs, Games.

I don't get all the hullaballoo over this weeks episode of Girls, One Man's Trash. So, big deal, the storyline diverted from it's path and focused only on Lena Dunham, her boobs and a hot guy, Patrick Wilson.

Even Patrick Wilson chimed in: "It reminded me of my 20's. It's just awkward and weird."

As a girl, though no longer 25, I certainly have had those nights, weekends, entire relationships that were nothing but awkward and often incredibly weird. Lena managed to compress all of the angst, insecurity, madness, inner-dialogue, humiliation, guilt, degradation, and other mind- crap that girls go through often with men -- in a 30 minute TV episode.

She also has the format to choose her guest stars. She'd mentioned Patrick Wilson was hot in some interview or another, so why not? GIRLS is her playground, not only to work out her own issues and span them across three other girls, but surround herself with all sorts of sexy guys.

On the complete flip side, Californication does something similar. I mean, come on! David Duchovny or Hank Moody, gets any gorgeous girl he wants, and they throw themselves at him at an alarming rate. And for no reason. And it's pure exploitation.

It's not believable on any level. I'm mean, he's a washed up, alcoholic maniac, albeit attractive, but every women in the world lining up to have sex with him just stretches the credibility a tad. Pretty soon Hollywood will run out of hot young things to cast as his castoffs.  Also as he gains a kind of moral compass--rehab! please, now everyone in Hollywood is throwing themselves at his agent, Evan Handler, or Runkle, most recently hot men.

It's just beyond silly. But hey, it's his show. Bring on the sexy babes.

Back to Lena, who actually uses the half hour to offer up a tiny horrific glimpse into what girls go through. Yes, men do as well, but the show is called GIRLS.

Many viewers make fun of Lena's body, why she is always naked and so on. I personally think she has tremendous courage, not just as an artist but as a person willing to put it all out there, and in our society's standards, her figure does not measure up to what is expected of young women. Would Hank Moody pursue her? Doubt it. Here is the truth: No matter what a girl looks like, she often feels fat, ugly and not up to snuff, especially in the early years before a girl starts to gain self-esteem and an identity. So Lena is magnifying this. She shows us on the outside what many girls feel on the inside.

She uses her nakedness imo to emphasize the cringe factor of being in your 20's. Like Glare in Your Face, this is a horrible decade people have to get through. I was not overweight in my 20's and was considered good looking, yet I felt ugly, fat and unlovable. That is the point.

Lena brings it home in this episode. I watched, I cringed, I was aghast and I completely understood. My 20's had a smattering of these experiences, but mine were actually worse.  Here is one.

I met a hot guy, who also happened to be famous, at a screening.  After talking for three minutes, I agreed to spend a weekend together in San Francisco. I knew better, but thought, I'm throwing caution to the wind. It was my Holly Golightly moment. And it was awful.  He did not meet me at the airport, pay for my dinner and I still went to his hotel room. He requested a specific kind of sexual activity that I had never heard of but I tried to act cool. Like I had pony sex all the time. Then he whips out a horse tail and a mask and gives me some instructions.

Me: Uh... who gets the tail?
Him: Just do it. Here' some lube.
Me: Well, okay.

I was so out of my element but I assumed he wanted the tail in his well, tail.

My thinking was, after I perform this sexual fete, he will fall in love with me, our future will be set in stone; a house in the hills, a few kids, my career would jump 50 points.

After we were done, or he was finished, I had no clue what to do. Cuddle? Sleep? I needed a fucking shower. So I start to babble, like an idiot.

Me: That was big. Sometimes I think I don't expand enough, sexually, yunno?  I keep my life in compartments. Work, friends, work friends, then crazy friends. They never meet. My family. Everything is separate. Like my being here. No one knows. I wonder if anyone noticed I'm gone? But you're so cool. I can't wait to introduce you to my friends. My work friends.
Him: Yeah. Sounds okay.
Me: I never do stuff like this. I usually wait five dates. I'm really smart. I graduated with all A's from a hard school.
Him: So, it's getting late. I have a show tomorrow. You should probably go.

Now here is where things differ from my friend Lena. My heart sank. I got up and went to the swanky restroom, turned on the faucet and wept. What the hell was I doing? I hated my body, I hated myself. I wanted to call my mom.

I pulled it together and went back out and lied down next to Him.

Me:  So do you want to hang out tomorrow?
Him: Sure, beautiful. We'll go to the park.

I felt a bit more hopeful and walked on misty air all the way back to my hotel. He didn't call me a cab or even walk me downstairs, yet I clung to some hope.  This incredible man picked me to be with him.  There were plenty of other girls at that screening. It was meant to be.

I called him first thing in the morning since he hadn't called, clearly having forgotten where I was staying. He had checked out. He never called me again. Yet I called him. Many times. Until his wife answered, then I stopped. Wife??  It was beyond degrading. I'm certain he mentioned more dates, trips, and a future with me just before the sex.

This happened a few more times in my 20's. Always the same. Always with some older guy... most of them married though I never knew. I would be seduced by their good looks and power. Never once did I think I was being used.

So, If I had my own half-hour, GALS,  I would have Ryan Gosling guest star every other week so we could sauna together. Then Joseph Gordon-Levitt would guest star, we'd have a monthly game of naked Rummy. I'd go naked hiking with George Clooney. Why not?

Endless possibilities. Then the obligatory take-away angst lesson. Here is how I am now different. I no longer believe I look hideous. In fact, quite the opposite. I think quite highly of myself and long ago stopped caring what men, society or what anyone thinks of me. My self-confidence grew with time and hard work and though society will fight against me, I hope to pass this confidence down to my own girls.

So if this is what society considers perfect, ^ ^ ^ ^ then I assume this is how I look walking away from the stereotypes I had to suffer through as a young adult, because so am I.

As said before, I'm remain mixed on the show, but I never miss an episode. And I love Lena.