Friday, March 30, 2007

T.G.I.F.

Yesterday's meeting went well. When we spoke about the project in question, my immediate boss said I should be our company's producer on set, etc. Our boss nodded and said yes. That was it. Cool. Now we have to make sure the studio and the other production company are okay with it.

After a long meeting I bought some Girl Scout cookies from his daugther. Sorry, eating right will have to take a break for a weekend. Samoas only come out once a year;I had to get some.

We (I and the producing partners) went to lunch at Border Grill and I managed to get a little buzzed after having a Mojito at lunch. We were next door to West Elm. I broke down and finally bought a new duvet cover and comforter. I'm not take Italian lessons this semester so I used that money to pay for it.

I had to say good-bye to the comforter I have had for a very, very long time. I could no longer take it to the tailor for repairs. I bought it for $5. I had a great summer internship during college at Bloomingdales for one of the housewares buyers. I worked in the flagship store (59th and Lex) and got to know the sales associates in the Ralph Lauren home dept. When items were discontinued we were able to buy them for dirt cheap. I didn't care that my comforter was a king (I had a full size bed) and a light pink, which didn't match my other bedding.

That comforter and the other bedding I bought lasted a long time. I don't know if the quality has gone down over the years but my pink Ralph Lauren comforter has "lived" with me in New York City, Jersey City, Washington D.C., Verona N.J., Little Rock, Austin and Los Angeles.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thinking like a guy

I don't think women need to act like men in order to do well in business. However, Hollywood is a boys town and sometimes you have to play by their rules to get anything done.

I have a big meeting with my boss today at his house. We are going over the entire slate of projects. We also have to discuss what my role will be on one of the projects that might be going into production this year.

I had a long conversation with his producing partners and they are supportive. My friend, a female producer at another company, gave me some great advice. Instead of going into the meeting thinking I need to prove that I belong at the big boy's table, I am going to be like my male peers and act like I am already at the table. A man with the same title and experience as me wouldn't even question whether he would be a producer on the movie.

What I don't know I will figure out or ask someone who does. My male peers have such a sense of entitlement which is one reason they move up quicker from D-Boy (development exec) to producer. They don't worry about silly things like experience or proving themselves. They know their powerful friends or mentors will help them out.

We'll see how the meeting goes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wow I am out of shape

I am talking about writing. Today I woke up at 7:00, didn't go to the gym and worked on the novel for an hour and a half. Yesterday I had to drag myself out of bed at 5:15 a.m., worked out for 40 minutes then came home to edit before work.

These few weeks off have thrown me off my schedule. I hope this weekend will help me get back on track.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Heading South by Laurent Cantet, The Hills

I really liked this movie. It was upsetting at times but the performances esp. Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young (the FBI agent who was Ade's handler on the Sopranos) and the newcomer Menothy Cesar were excellent.

The movie is based on the short stories of Haitian author Dany Laferriere. Three middle-aged women traveling from North America meet at a high-end lush private resort in Haiti. It's 1978 and Baby Doc's Haiti is in the middle of turmoil. However, everything is chill at the resort.

The women feeling invisible at home, revel in the attention they get from the young, gorgeous local men. Two of the women are in love with the same 18 year old, Legba (Menothy Cesar) but they really don't know anything about his life beyond the resort. The local men are happy to get presents, attention and money.

The movie asks many questions. Is it what the women do exploitation? What impact do the tourists have on the people who lived there full time? I just read an article about vacations that mostly British, American and Canadian women go on to get their groove back. Everyone knows the game. The women (usually 30 and up)and the locals act like they are "dating" but the real deal is the women are paying for sex. The article interviewed several women who go every year to the same Jamaican beach. Some of the women continue to send men money once they are back home.

Why are the majority of these women are British and American? Why aren't French, Italian, German etc. women doing the same in larger numbers?

The Hills - I watched it last night because Andre Leon Talley was on it. This show is hilarious. Spencer is such, like, a jerk.

Monday, March 26, 2007

March Madness Final Four and a very difficult choice

I cannot believe it. I am going to root for Georgetown. Georgetown hasn't won the big one since 1985 and they are the underdogs. I gotta support the Big East and I don't follow any of the other teams.

I would like to know where did the last few years go? How is it John Thompson's SON is coaching and Patrick Ewing's SON is playing with the Hoyas? I clearly remember screaming at the top of my lungs at the Carrier Dome "LET'S GO ORANGE" and that Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas (btw what the hell is Hoya?) sucked.

Now I have bunch of Georgetown alums in my life. I do not know how this happened. My attorney and several of my close friends went there for undergrad or law school. In order to maintain our friendship we do not discuss the Big East.

I love college basketball. Pro-ball I don't follow as much. I am not a Lakers fan and the Knicks broke my heart during 1994 NBA Finals in Houston. I will never forget Game 7, freaking John Starks shooting brick after brick in the last few minutes. ugh!

Friday, March 23, 2007

My book

The days of sleeping in until 7:00 a.m. are over. Last week I received notes on the latest draft of my manuscript and found a freelance editor. Now it's time to start waking up at 5:00 a.m. again and writing before going to the office.

One screenwriter/director friend asked me why would I work with a freelance editor. She thought one writes a book, finds an agent, agent sends it to publishers, editor at publishing house buys book and edits it.

Back in the day a mainstream fiction writer with potential might get a deal. Now that manuscript better be close to ready. The marketing dept. has to believe they can actually sell the book. I don't have a MFA, did not major in creative writing and I have never written a novel before. I feel more comfortable having an editor look at my ms before I start sending it to agents. I see it as an investment in my future. The editor does not re-write the book. She does basically what I do when I read scripts for our projects, give extensive notes.

I am really excited about working with my editor. Until last year, she worked at a major publishing house. She is not cheap but at least she isn't asking for an outrageous amount like the other editor I spoke to. She is a better fit since she worked mostly in commercial fiction and the other editor's background was in literary fiction.

Her comments were very similar to the other two I received last week. Very positive overall but there are some structure problems. For example, in the beginning I don't provide enough info so non-industry insiders will get the whole Hollywood scene and rush too quickly through it. However, it still takes too long to get to the heart of the book. So basically I have the worst of both worlds. Ugh. She will be sending me an editorial report next month. In the meantime I am going to fix some grammar issues.

I haven't touched the ms in five weeks. Looking forward to getting back into it...and a little nervous.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Calvert DeForest (aka Larry "Bud" Melman)

According to his wishes there will be no funeral service. He had no living family members :(

I remember many late nights in college sitting in my dorm room with friends and laughing our asses off during Letterman's NBC years. He will be missed.

There are a bunch of clips on YouTube.

It's Birthday Week, bye bye Blockbuster

Tuesday was my brother's birthday, today is my dad's and Sunday is my sister's. Happy Birthday!!!

Spoke to my dad today. He sounded great. The cancer is not growing and he is in good health otherwise. My mom is taking him out to dinner tonight. I wish I could be with them St. Martin. I would take them to Le Gallion beach for a nice lunch and some drinks.

I have finally signed up for Netflix. Given what I do for a living I should have signed up a long time ago. I like to go to the store and browse but after yet another frustrating experience this past weekend, I had to say good bye to Blockbuster.

I do not understand how a store in the city where the entertainment business is based could have such crappy selection of movies. Horrible!! The foreign section is a joke and they are always out of everything except for the biggest hits. I have been trying to rent ENDURING LOVE starring Daniel Craig for months. You would think that after Casino Royale opened they would order a few more copies. It's not like LOVE is some random movie. It was well reviewed stateside. I went on Netflix.com and I'm astounded by the depth of their selection. The foriegn section alone is worth the price of membership.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Anna Nicole's baby and DNA

Some of the tabloid craziness has died down. Now the news is focusing on the two sixth-graders busted for having sex at school.

I agree with Sognatrice (aka Bleeding Espresso) that the legal aspect of this sad death is very interesting.

I do not understand why Howard K. Stearn is appealing the order to take a DNA test. If he is the father, what is the big deal? Take the damn test so this poor little girl can have a chance.

There is something not right about this whole situation. Maybe Howard wanted Anna to move to the island because there the name on the birth certificate regardless of biology is considered the father. However, given all the press I guess the local govt. decided to allow testing. One of Anna's close friends is saying Howard is gay and she was so drugged up at the end she had no idea what was going on. Who knows if he is but what I do know is, if one of my closest friends was eights months pregnant I would not give them shrooms, tape them and laugh while they can't even see straight. This guy is supposed to be an attorney looking out for her best interest? Sorry, for poor judgement alone, he needs to be far away from her kid.

I still want to know what he was doing when two healthy (meaning not suffering from any uncurable illness) adults dropped dead under his watch within 5 months. The timing is very, very strange.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Love New York on VH1

I really don't know what to say about this trainwreck. Of course I can't wait until the finale.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I survived the ShoWest dinner

I'm back from Vegas. I won, then lost $80 playing at the roulet table.

My boss and I had lunch at the Border Grill. I feel to peer pressure and had a mojito. I was pretty much flying the rest of the afternoon. I don't think you are supposed to drink after taking Sudifed.

It was good to spend time with my boss outside the office, although yesterday was a rough day. It should have been an exciting day because of some great news we received about one of our projects. However, a producer on another one of our projects has lost their damn minds over some Hollyood nonsense.

After gambling a bit, I showered and changed for the dinner. We met up with our agents and went to the ceremony. I enjoyed seeing the clips from upcoming summer movies. I'm not sure about Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS. I thought the toys kicked ass back in the day but do I really want to see a movie about them? I'm just saying.

One thing that shocked me was brothers saying "hello/good morning" smiling,etc. Stop the presses. At first I was so thrown off I forgot to reply. The other shocking thing was all the stripper-type outfits on women from ages 15 - 60. Stripper wear is fine...for strippers. If you are in high school or a grandma, come on. LOL

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Viva La Vegas?

Yes, I am off to Vegas for work. I went to Vegas a couple years ago for a very bizarre film biz meeting.

I know Vegas is the fastest growing city in America and many people loooooove it. It's trippy. I remember the first time I walked into the Bellagio and saw the "canal" complete with gondalier (sp) that goes nowhere under a bright painted blue sky. In L.A. they constantly play the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" commericals.

When I first started out in the biz, all the guys were constantly going to Vegas (some still do) and I see it as a kinda frat boy/bachelor party hang out. One of my girlfriends said she wished another friend would hurry up and get engaged so she could plan a bachelorette party in Vegas. I'm sorry, I am a grown ass woman and have no desire to go to a strip club to see men (who are mostly likely gay) "dance" to bad music. I would rather stick heated toothpicks in my eye.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Dreams from my Father, The Namesake, The Farming of Bones

I started to read these books during my trip to Rome ( I had a lot of down time at Heathrow) and really enjoyed them all.

It was interesting to read Barack Obama's DREAMS FROM MY FATHER since he wrote it way before running for any public office. His memoir deals with his quest to find out more about his Kenyan father and what it means to be a black man in America who was raised by his white mother and her family. That in 2007 some black folks are questioning his blackness is crazy. I will have to post on that BS later.

Jhumpa Lahiri's THE NAMESAKE is about Gogol Ganguil a first generation American of Indian parents. At first he wants nothing to do with their traditional ways, hates his name and feels like he doesn't fit in anywhere. Although Gogol is techically the protagonist, it is the story of his mom, Ashima, that moved me the most.

There was one passage in THE NAMESAKE that really jumped out at me. There is a female character who like Gogol is first generation American. "Immersing herself in a third language, a third culture, had been her refuge - she approached French, unlike things American or Indian, without guilt, or misgiving, or expectation of any kind. It was easier to turn her back on the two countries that could claim her in favor of one that had no claim whatsoever." Switch out the words French and Indian for Italian and West Indian and pershaps this passage eloquently describes the freedom I feel when I'm in Rome.

Edwidge Danticat's THE FARMING OF BONES. Devestating and yet I could not put the book down. In 1937 there are rumors that the dictator of the Domincian Republic wants to get rid of the Haitian laborers. He feels there are too many and this not good for the future of his country. Some are killed, other flee to the border back to Haiti. The novel focuses on Annabelle a young Haitian housekeeper, the wealthy family she works for and her boyfriend Sebastien, who works in the cane fields.

This novel is at times horrific, beautiful, sad, joyful, painful and hopeful. The writing is gorgeous. I love reading about history and I barely remember hearing about this shameful event. One thing that was so strange is how they tried to determine who was Dominician vs. who was Haitian since the two countries share an island and there had been quite a bit of intergration. Skin color was not the most reliable way, there were plenty of dark skinned Dominicans and light skinned Haitians. One method was, could the suspected Haitian "thrill" their Rs. Even the Haitians who spoke fluent Spanish, along with Creole and/or French had trouble with rolling the Rs. Needless to say those pages were hard to read.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Hello, my name is not Stella and I did not get my groove back

The next woman who asks me if I met a man on my trip might get hit upside the head. I went to a screening last night at CAA and was asked the question several times. When I said no, I could see the disappointment in their faces. No one asked about the art, food, the city only about hooking up. I started to feel bad. Perhaps my trip was not "successful" because I failed to meet the man of my dreams or at least the fling of the week.

Believe me I would like to end my strike (or at least have the two sides meet at the bargaining table) and have some romance in my life. It just doesn't seem in the cards for me. I tried online dating and it was not fun. Men here are really picky and I rather be rejected to my face not via email.

I have struggle with the whole organized religion "thing" but now might be the time for me to call for some heavy duty help. That is right, I'm talking about God and Jesus. I know with everything that is going on the world the last thing these two need to focus on is my little situation but seriously I don't know what else to do. I cannot go yet another year without a single date.

Monday, March 12, 2007

New Neighbor, a cold and fires.

My loud neighbor with her even louder young daughter moved. She asked me if her daughter had kept me up lately. I didn't have the heart to tell her the truth so I said it had gotten better recently.

I think the apt. next door is cursed because now a single guy lives there with one of those annoying little Paris-type dogs. The dog barks non-stop. Great.

I think the worst of jet lag is over but now I have a cold. ugh. I have a meeeting on the other side of the hill and a screening to go to tonight so laying in bed all day is not an option. Anyway that damn dog would keep me up.

The fire season has started early due to the dry rainy season. Yesterday it was close to 100 degrees with strong Santa Ana winds. Two big brush fires broke out in Orange Co. Two houses were destroyed but no one was hurt.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

My dinner with Clive

Around 6.00 p.m. yesterday evening my boss's producer partner says to me:

PP - "Can you go to this dinner meeting for me? I am slammed before leaving town tomorrow (for an event with a client)."

Me - "I hate what I am wearing,I'm jet lagged and I wasn't in the last meeting about this project. How will I be able to contribute to the discussion?"

The other producing partner - "You are crazy. Go home and change, quickly watch the movie (a film the other production company and directors referenced), have some caffeine and get to the Four Seasons by 8:00."

Okay, so the jet lag has clearly made me speak nonsense. Instead of being excited to meet one of my favorite actors, I was looking forward to getting into my jammies and going to bed. It is a good thing the women I work with knew I wasn't myself yesterday. Some how I rallied (ha) and met my boss, the other producer, the directors and Mr. Owen.

Most actors seem much smaller in person since the camera adds weight. That is not the situation with Mr. Owen. He is one of the few male actors who has "it". Not only is he extrememly talented but is also smart, freaking hilarious and has quite a presence. The meeting went well. Some random (and bold) women stepped to him as we were walking toward the lobby. He was very gracious. To have people approaching you all the time must get really old, unless you are one of those stars who needs constant validation.

We were all saying good-bye. I held out my hand to Mr. Owen and instead I got a kiss on the check. I am a professional, therefore I did not act stupid, i.e. pass out or something.

I usually don't post about the talent I meet/deal with through work but he is on another level (that voice, that accent). I walked away from the meeting thinking it's great to meet people who are actually trying to make good/interesting movies. He and my boss are actors first. Yes, it's nice to make some money but they also do theater and are in for the craft...the other stuff is gravy. Attitudes like theirs are rare these days.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Treadmills vs. walking around Rome

This jet lag is not fun. I felt like I was drunk all day at work yesterday. My office loved the biscotti I brought back.

Yesterday I woke up at 4:00 a.m. so I made a pizza sauce. I bought the pizza dough at Trader Joe's and made the pizza for dinner last night. A pizza stone really makes a difference, it was delicious.

Today woke up at 2:00 a.m. then at 5:00 a.m. I went to the gym at 5:30. I was bored to tears walking on the treadmill. I tried to visualize walking around the cobblestone streets near Piazza Navona instead but it didn't quite work.

I told my sister the next time I go to Rome I want to be looking at apts. for a long term stay. It is just too hard to come back.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Some random observations during my Rome trip

Orange pants - Takes a confident man to rock pants that color.

The Burger King chicken strips ad - I don't know why but everytime the commerical came on I laughed my ass off. Something about the chickens speaking Italian cracked me up.

The Norbit ads - Even more offensive seeing them overseas. Enough with these types of movies. I am sick of sexist and/or closeted black men wearing fat suits to portray the worst stereotypes of black women.

People walking arm in arm - I saw men, women, kids, couples and a few grandkids with their grandparents walking arm in arm. I think it's sweet. One of my fondest memories is walking around Piazza S. Maria locking arms with my friend Giampiero.

The word "tesoro" - It means treasure and I heard it over and over again in Rome as friends said it to each other.

Not a single news report on Britney or Anna. I went to the supermarket in L.A. yesterday and that is when I found out Anna has been buried (finally) and K-Fed and Brit's mom have basically kept Brit away from her own kids. Poverina, good thing she is in rehab.

Hair issues - So when I move to Rome where will I get my hair done? Last year through a friend I met one black women who lived in Rome for a semester during college. She was in town visiting our friend and she told me she and her friends had to go to Milan for a touch up. I stopped relaxing (to make it straight) my hair a while ago but I still need to get hair cuts or what if I decide to twist it or press it? The few local black women I saw had bad wigs or jacked up hair.

Walking - It was nice to be back in a city where people walk. There is something very alienating about being in a car all the time.

Food - Not seen as a means to an end but something to be enjoyed. I don't know anyone in Rome doing the Zone, South Beach, Jenny Craig etc.

Waiters - They don't tell you about their recent auditions.

Sex in the city - I was there during the winter and Rome was still sexy.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

L'utimo giorno (the last day)

Sigh! Okay someone is messing with me. As if I didn't already love this city, today is one of those perfect spring days. I had great weather all week. Today it's around mid to high 70s and sunny. All the outdoor caffes are packed.

I got lost once again this morning. I was trying to check out the area just behind Trastevere and ended up near some big park (Dora Villa area?). I walked all the way back home then had a quick lunch outside at Caffe Marzio (sp), which is on the S. Maria in Tastevere Piazza.

Last night hung out with Ettore in the Piazza Navona area. Earlier in the day I went to Santa Vittoria and it was closing hours again, so I will have to see that church another time. I had lunch at another favorite place, 'Gusto Osteria. I had the Orechiette with Clams and some kind of greens (maybe the infamous chicory?). Seriously, this dish was so good I almost passed out. Alright that statement was a little melodramtic but the food was that delicious. While I was there the owner put on Barry White's greatest hits.

Between Barry's (may he rest in peace)deep sexy baritone voice and the food it was sensory overload. Speaking of sexy, there was no exchanging of numbers (or anything else)with members of the opposite sex on this trip but I am continuing on my quest to bring "sexy back" to my world in L.A. So what if no one else notices, the days of moping, whining, worrying about the future, obsessing about the past and being on strike must come to an end.

I will be flying all day tomorrow, so I must go and pack.

Ciao bella Roma.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

pasta grigia, scooters and window shopping

Yesterday was a very good Friday. I checked out the cool little shops on Via Governo del Vecchio (I think that is the name of the street). It's near Piazza Navona and I first read about the area in the New York Times a couple weeks ago. Some of the clothes are very pricey and are made by local designers. Given my budget I only window shopped at those stores. I did buy some great smelling soap and some cute earrings that weren't expensive.

I had lunch at one of my favorite places in Rome, Maccheroni in Piazza Coppelle. I had the fantastic pasta grigia which is Rigatoni with wine wine, bacon, cracked black pepper and goat cheese.

I worked up quite the appetite because I kept getting lost in the side streets around Piazza Navona and couldn't find the restaurant. After lunch I walked around the Prati area (near the Vatican), then back home.

Okay, so my usual Friday night routine in L.A. is as follows:
All my friends are exhausted from work. They have scripts to read or notes to do. I stay home make some dinner, read a script or two to get a jump on the weekend read, then I watch "What Not to Wear", the local news until maybe 10:30 then I go to bed.

This was my night last night:
Three different friends calling at around 6:00 p.m. asking what I was doing. I already had plans with my friend Giampiero. We met during my first trip to Rome through a friend of a friend back in L.A. He used to live in L.A. and still has an apartment there. We went to dinner aroung 8:30 (very early for him). The restaurant is called Ripa and it is in Trastevere. The food was outstanding! We had clams and mussels to start and the waitress insisted we try (on the house) the sea snails which were incredible. I haven't had snails or conchs in a long time (so I was not really into it) but once I tasted the butter and garlic delights I was very happy.

G. picked the wine,I can't remember the name but it was a white Siclian wine. I had the white fish w/fresh tomatoes and chicory. I was told you can't get chicory every in Italy. I wonder if I could find it in the US? It's a bitter green with spicy kick. Around 11:00 we asked for the check (if you don't ask they might not bring it. It's considered rude to give you the check while you are eating) and G. told me to not to even try and reach for my wallet.

Next stop. One of his agents (he is an actor but not crazy)and his partner had a party and we stopped by for dessert. I walk past this building in Trastevere everyday. Who knew that behind the huge, heavy doors was such a place? Freaking incredible. I also met some of the most attrative men in my life at the party. All were actors....and gay. Lots of couples. Everyone was so friendly and took the time to explain what was going on with the San Remo music festival.

Final stop. G., myself and some of the women from the party (all straight, smart, beautiful...and single) went to a new bar called Etabli. It's near Piazza Navona. I had to get on G.'s scooter with a dress on. Second time this week I have been one (Ettore and I rode to our meeting on Thursday) and I am not comfortable flying through the streets with drivers who talk with their hands all the time.

If you are in Rome check out this place, Etabil. It has only been open for 2 weeks. It's a bar/lounge with plenty comfy chairs, magazines, books, really cool but without the attitude. I had to speak more Italian last night since the women spoke only a little english. One of our waitresses was an American expat who has lived in Rome for 18 months. She was very friendly. We finally ended the night about 3:15. Again G. refused to let anyone pay.

I said to G. I have to remind myself that I'm on vacation and if I lived here I would probably fall back into the same routines. He pointed out that everyone I met worked a full day yesterday and the women we went to the bar with, a busy casting director, a senior agent and a production designer, have very busy careers and yet find the time to see their friends and have a life. Point taken.

Friday, March 02, 2007

An American in Rome

I have really lucked out with the weather. Today is the first cloudy day, not bad for winter weather.

I had a nice lunch meeting yesterday with Ettore and three producers. Where did we eat? At a Sushi place called Zen in the Prati area. I felt like I was back at Sushi Roku in L.A. except for the everyone speaking Italian thing.

It was stunning out so I walked back home. The area around the Vatican was very crowded. Later that afternoon I met the bella ragazza Shelley. Check out her blog, At Home in Rome. It's very smart, interesting and entertaining (just like Shelley). We went to the bar Friends (it has nothing to do with that fake NYC show. LOL) which is a great place to chill out. I had such an incredible time, hearing more about Shelley's experiences and what brought her to Rome in the first place. She was so encouraging about making the move. I noticed both she and Tracie B speak flawless Italian. Of course it helps that they live in a place where it is spoken.

I met Denver for dinner who has lived in Italy since grad school. She went to NYU undergrad for film and received her master's in film here. She is a screenwriter and a casting director. We have a mutual friend back in L.A. If you are in Italy you can see the latest film she casted "The Night Before the Exams - Today" which was directed by once of her classmates. We met last year when I was here and it was good to see her and catch up again. We went to a very good place off Campo dei Fiori. I have no idea what the name of it is. As we left at 11:00 and some people were walking in for dinner.

It is hard for me to explain to my non-Italophile friends back home how my first trip to Rome changed my life. I have traveled to other foreign countries but I was surprised by Rome. I felt to my core that for some bizarre reason this is the place I am supposed to live. Talkng to expats here makes me realize I am not crazy. I told Denver last night, that on my first morming here I walked to Piazza Navnona. It was very early and the sun was just peeking over part of the Piazza. I can't explain how happy and moved I was that very moment.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

See Naples and Die

I can't remember which famous artist/writer said that quote. He was talking about how incredible the city is and after you see it you can pass on. I thought of that quote often yesterday as I tried to cross the street.

First I digress, while walking to the internet place I bumped into Matteo (the friend who was in L.A. last week) at the end of my block. He lives a couple yards from my apartment. We acted like we haven't seen each other in years. Anyway I have a lunch meeting today so I could not join him and Martina for lunch.

Speaking of L.A., in the last three days of watching (I barely understand a word, the newscasters speak so quickly) the morning news on RAI I have not seen one story on Anna Nicole Smith or Britney's meltdown. It is kind of strange, they were the lead stories on the Today Show last week.

Okay back to Naples. I can't really discribe how intense it is. Naples makes Rome seem like freaking Mayberry. I walked out of the station and it was more hectic than NYC's Port Authority. The noise, the traffic. I swear most of the cross streets lights don't work and if they did, people ran the red lights anyway.

I got lost and went to Castel Nuovo. I asked the wrong man for direction to the Museo Archeloglogico Nazionale and got lost again. I finally gave in and put my life in a cab drivers hands. What an amazing city. We up these tiny side streets, went along the water, the to the Museo.

Many of the artifacts from Pompeii are at the Museo. I really enjoyed it. The "secret galley" is somewhat trippy. No kids under 14 can enter unless they are with an adult. Let's just say back then folks really liked to get their freak on. I also noticed a mosaic that the series ROME uses in the opening credits.

I met Tracie B (and briefly met Gennaro who gave her a ride) and we went to lunch at a place not far from the Museo. Of course I can't remember the name. I think it was Soprilla? This pizza was amazing. I had a great time meeting Tracie B. She lucked out that my analog self still doesn't own a digital camera. She claims she is not photogenic. Whatever. Tracie is very pretty so I don't know what she is talking about.

After a three hour lunch (apparently, we both love to talk), we took the metro to the Chiaia area. Tracie refused to let me pay for lunch. Next time I'm treating. The metro was spotless and nobody was pushing. This area is close to the bay. Very pretty with a lot of cool shops, bars, cafes, plus the high end stores like Gucci, Prada (I am not feeling the new Prada shaggy bags. I must discuss with Sfashionista upon my return to L.A.)etc.

We walked back towards the station and then hoped in a cab. Tracie B had to remind to put my wallet anwyay pronto. I got on the wrong Eurostar. I thought my train was leaving early but I was on the express one. I paid 15 extra Euros while on the train but it was worth it. It took only an hour and a few minutes to get back to Rome.

I cannot believe how two cities so close to each could be so different. I felt like I was in another world. In the last year I have seen several travel articles on Naples, in places like the NYTs, Travel and Leisure, and Vanity Fair had one last month. I don't think Naples (the most densely populated city in Europe)is going to turn into a Disneyland time place anytime soon even with all the "it's the in place" to go to hype, which is nice. I didn't see many tourists at all, just a few Americans and Brits at the Museo.

Naples is like NYC in the 70s. The energy is unreal. I found it overwhelming. It's not laid out on a grid like New York, or easy to navigate like Paris. Naples is a city of contrasts, sublime beauty next to chaos. I saw a mafia gathering for a funeral. That was interesting. The police were everywhere.

Once I left Termini, I was too busy talking on my cell phone (confirming planes for today's lunch) and got lost walking home. I passed by the Coliseum, which was so not in the right direction. I took the long way home but I didn't mind. While I was on the phone an Italian man around my age with a cane and a limp said my english was great and I had a fantastic smile. I don't why homeslice was all up in my conversation but it was pretty funny at the time.

I am sorry I am not more computer savvy and all the directions on this computer are in Italian, so I can't link to Tracie B's post. You can find it on the left under Tracie's Life Italian. She has great photos of Ischia and posts on food, wine and her version of La Dolce Vita.