Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nuit Blanche in Toronto w/FH man

Toronto had it's 2nd Annual Nuit Blanche (white night) last night. This all night affair was started in Paris and is also very big in Rome (Notte Bianca). I don't think any American cities do this specific event. In Toronto the focus is on contemporary art with galleries and many bars/restaurants open all night. Several streets were closed to car traffic and there were installations in the parks.

After we wrapped for the day yesterday, FH man asked me if I wanted to check out some art and maybe get some dinner. We went to Olive and Lemon for dinner (more on that later) and then walked for miles. The streets were packed. FH man said the crowds were much bigger this year as more people become aware of the event. We saw some good, bad and just bizarre works of art. We bumped into a bunch of his friends and two actors from our movie.

I had a great time but I don't think it was a full on date, date. He did say after he walked me home (which was out of his way) we should go to this sushi place next. The kiss was a kinda weird cheek/lips hybrid. Haha Maybe he is just super flirty for the sake of being flirty, which is fun and fine with me.

One thing I thought was interesting was when we were walking through the massive crowds, sometimes he would end up in front of me and kept walking. I could have been trampled to death and he wouldn't have noticed. We went semi-dutch on dinner, with him paying more but then he had more food.

Perhaps I have been completely spoiled by my male Italian friends. You can't even cross the street with them without them holding your arm and paying for dinner? Please, I have to beg them to let me pay sometimes.

Speaking of Italian, Olive & Lemon is owned by chef Giancarlo Carnevale who is Sicilian. The food and service were amazing. FH man does know the chef so maybe that had something to do with the service. The bruschetta was so simple, bread grilled with olive oil, garlic rubbed on it and some sea salt but so good. There was a fennel, olive topping on the side....outstanding.

I had grilled squid w/lemon and olive oil for my starter and the scallop risotto for my main course. I passed on dessert. I could not eat another bite. The risotto was so light and flavorful. FH introduced me to Giancarlo. He said that next time in Rome I need to look up a journalist friend of his who is fantastic. He warned me that she is "very Roman"...meaning blunt. FH man knows her as well and thinks the world of her. She used to live in Toronto.

Today on my only day off, I am meeting a producer in from L.A. for brunch and later a former agent who quit Hollywood and moved back home to Toronto. The latter is a friend of a friend. I have a zillions things to do including packing because we are shooting way out this week and most of the crew is staying overnight. I am going to for the first two nights then see how I feel about the long drive. We are staying in blah hotels (everything is sold out because of all the other movies shooting here now) and I'd rather stay in my own bed. I don't mind a long drive when I'm going against the flow of traffic.

Yesterday we were shooting in Miississauga and were right by the lake. Very pretty area.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toronto, a few of my favorite 'Tings

We are shooting way out and the commute is not fun. After we wrapped yesterday I went to Loblaws (sp) to get some groceries.

I found a very nice surprise TING soda! There is one store in L.A. that sells tiny bottles of Ting for $2.00. I found it here in the soda aisle near the Coke, Pespi etc for $.99. Ting is a delicious grapefruit soda from Jamaica. I'm happy I saw the 'ting no.

FH continues to bring his flirt on. We have to cool it a little with the set conversations because now some of my co-workers are making comments like "Oh your lipgloss is very pretty, did FH notice?"

Terroni's. They are opening a restaurant across from the Grove in Los Angeles. I went back to the same place and ordered the same darn pizza. Their biscotti is delicious. I am going to try my best not to eat there this weekend.

Jamaican patties. One of the ADs had some delivered to the set last week. Still thinking about that nice flaky pastry and the filling.

The view from the gym in my building. I watch the sun rise, casting a cool light on the skyscrapers downtown and can see Lake Ontario.

Less celebrity news. There is Us mag and the others up here along with E! but the local news doesn't really talk about that stuff unless it had something to do with the Film Festival.

Nice neighbors. Everyone I have met in my building is so nice.

Quiet. I realized last night, I never hear my neighbors. When I lived in NYC, you couldn't hear a thing. The walls were thick. In my apt. in L.A. I hear everything. People having sex, the stupid teacup dog next door that barks all the time, the obnoxious man in the building across from me who does nothing all day but smoke on his balcony (which is why I never sit on my patio anymore, no privacy and the smoke is annoying), the valet guys yelling "vamamos!" and car alarms going off. Not relaxing at all.

Our cast and crew. One of our actresses wrapped the other day and said this was one of the most wonderful sets she has been on. Several of our crew members will be starting the Jude Law/Forest Whitaker movie the week after we wrap in Toronto. Working in physical production is so different from the development world back in L.A. The crew works in the movie business but they have lives. It's so weird. ha

Next week is already October 1st. I can't believe it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Roma - the remix

Thanks to every one who gave me advice, told me their point of view and/or offered words of encouragement on yesterday's post. It has been very lively discussion.

So I may not be molto stupida but I might be crazy. Apparently Italy is the most corrupt, disorganized, economically challenged member of the G8 and yet I still want to move. :)

I received an email from my friend who got back from Florence the other day and we just spoke for over an hour. She is planning to move next year. She does have so much more to lose than I. She has a great job (she's a prosecutor so it's not like she could do that job in Italy, she doesn't know Italian law) and a nice home, etc. She was born in London (her parents are Jamaican) but has lived in Los Angeles since she was ten. She does have deeper roots here. We met in Italian class a few years ago and she is one of my few non-entertainment industry friends out here.

We are going support each other in this Italy madness. My friend has spent a lot of time in Italy and has a huge network of friends both native and expats. I haven't met any black expats in Rome...maybe they are all in Florence. My friend seems to know all of them. Most are women in their 30s and 40s, they all have come for different reasons. One used to be a banker, with a big house in Jersey and an X5. Now she rides a bike (not a motorino but a 10 speed or something). My friend said she knows her lifestyle will change but she is not down with the bike thing. haha

I talked to her about all the negatives and I know it's bad. My friend and I were saying the pros at this point still greatly outweigh the cons. If things don't work out, I will not be moving back to Los Angeles. I will either move to France or St. Martin to be close to my family. Of course that would mean I would have to learn another language.

I am not going to get into a point counter point debate about which country is more screwed up. If you scratch the surface you will find some ugly things in both places. I am in my early 40s. I could either take a chance now or sit here and be miserable. I am middle aged now (yes I do look younger but the numbers are climbing up there) and don't have a lot of time to enjoy the rest of my life before I'm so old I will need a walker.

In talking to J it was clear my creative side won out. I think about the things I love about my friends and time in Italy and you can't do a pie chart when it come to feelings, matters of the heart or soul. This might sound silly and not grounded but I'm a writer. I need to be in a place that moves me, end of story (no pun intended).

In L.A. I can't even tell you what I did last week. I have no sense of time passing etc. but I can tell you exactly what I did in April 2005, the first time I went to Rome. What I saw, who I met, what and where I ate, all those images and feelings were burned into my memory.

The countdowm to Rome begins now. When I get to Los Angeles, I will call the director of the Italian Film Commission, who I met at luncheon earlier in the year. I will see if I can talk to the woman who runs Sony Pictures International in New York, which overseas Sony Italia. I already met with the head of Warner Italia last time I was in Rome (through a friend who is an exec at Warner Bros here). I will see what I can find out about the Rome Film Festival. I'm not ruling out doing something non-film related but I feel it makes sense to start with where my contacts are. My former boss is scheduled to shoot a movie in Italy next year and he spends a lot of time there. He might have some advice.

I will get my bio and my resume translated and schedule a trip next year just to go on meetings.

I might end up in Siena, Milan, or Florence instead, who knows, but God willing in '08 I will be on my way to Italia.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Am I molto stupida?

First let me start off by saying FH man walked up to me on set and gave me a kiss (cheek) and hug this morning. I was a little taken aback. There were other crew members around. LOL.

I have been reading more of the Expats in Italy website. This site and the various blogs are invaluable, it's important to see the good, the bad and the ugly. That said, I wonder if I'm being ridiculously naive.

Lately the negativity on Italy has been pretty high (not on all the blogs), as in it's a third world country with first world prices, the dollar is at an all time low, the red tape is insane, it's impossible to get a job etc.

Why do I still want to move when many American expats say Italy is awful/going to hell in a handbasket? I feel that way about the U.S. so I might as well be in a country where I like the food? No seriously, maybe I should have my head examined. I know what my heart feels but that doesn't put food on the table or would pay my rent.

I don't have kids and I'm not moving to be with an Italian boyfriend or a husband who was transfered. My entire family (with the exception of my siblings) is foreign so I am used to dealing with a culture that is very different from the U.S.

Being in Toronto has been great as far as giving me some time to really think about what I'm going to do. Last week I was saying to a friend book or no book I have to leave Los Angeles, the sooner the better. Then over the weekend I'm reading Expats in Italy and got scared. What if I move and run out of money? I can't move back and get another job in Hollywood. Here it's out of sight out of mind. What if I never become fluent? What if I can't afford to write full time and can't find a job?

I have a couple of Italian friends in Rome who say I'm over thinking things, just move and they will help me find a job (they are working actors and one is friends with an Italian actor who is married to an American who used to work for Miramax. Now she works for one of the top production companies in Italy). My life in L.A. is expensive, I don't make a lot of money (esp. for my title and experience), the business is all about nepotism and is racist, sexist and ageist, however here I speak the language and don't have to worry about a horrible exchange rate.

On the other hand my day-to-day life in Los Angeles is killing my spirit. I was speaking to a friend who said at my age what am I waiting for? I cannot afford mentally to wait until I'm 50 to start living my life. I have done the hard core working myself to death thing since the day I graduated from college and for what? My last job I worked myself to the point where a doctor told me the stress was the cause of my massive migranes and I should think about another profession. Then the company shuts down and after three years of having no life I received two weeks severance. Thanks boss! There is no job sercurity in what I do so believe me I am not moving to Italy for career reasons.

It was drilled into my head that as a black American you have to be twice as good to move up in a meritocracy. Then I moved out here. Whatever. Maybe that is the case at IBM or Pac Bell but that is not my experience. There are people in my business who can't read (not making this up...people have to read scripts to them) and they make millions a year. So much for having a good work ethic. I should have slept with a President of Production of a studio or something. I kid!

I decided to finally sit down and start writing again. It's not practical. All the hours I spent working on my novel I will never get back. What if it sucks, what if it doesn't sell? Do I discount the experience? I decided no. I'm tired of living this life where the only thing that matters is how much money you make and moving up some stupid ladder. When I'm on my death bed I'm not going to be sitting there saying damn, I should have read more bad scripts. I feel the person I've become is completely at odds with what was important to me.

I was on set today talking with one the actors and he told me he was a musician and used to be in band. I realized three of our leads are not only very talented actors but also musicians and writers. They are artists not celebs. I started to think about what I love to do and why I moved out here. While I like nice things (shoes, bags etc), it's the arts and being around creative people that I love. Books, music, art, film, magazines, dance, these are the things I have loved all my life. The idea that I could live in a country where the arts are valued is more important to me than not having a dryer (haha, I say that now).

Last week I was thinking if Rome (which still has cheaper housing than L.A. and I wouldn't need a car) was out my reach financially, maybe I would look at a smaller city and try to find some kind of job to supplement the movie production bonus while I write. I have no savings to speak of so if I have to be broke, I'd rather be in a place where I don't feel like shit everyday because I not clearing a million plus a year. I know people who live in a houses worth over three million dollars and claim they are broke and their salary as an agent is too low. I cannot relate.

Sorry for the rambling post but there is a battle royale going on between my pratical side and the creative side.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Drama from L.A. rears its ugly head. FH man.

Friday after we wrapped for the day I was feeling great. The week of shooting was going well, I received the first payment of my production bonus, the weather was glorious, my clothes are getting looser and FH man asked me out. I received a called from my immediate boss stressed out about a call she received from our agent regarding a project. I was walking toward Eaton Centre on Yonge Street having a freak out. She had to take a call so by the time I walked into the Geox store I was not in a good mood.

I have been looking for comfy but nice shoes. Working 14 hour days and standing for a big chunk of the time is not kind to your feet. I saw other brands at another shoe store but realized that what little money I might save was not worth the lesser quality. I bit the bullet and bought a pair of flats. When I walked into the store the CD that was playing was Eros Ramazzotti's "Calma Apparente", which bought a smile to my face. The saleslady said they only play Italian music. The Italian based company is expanding in the U.S. The shoes I bought are so comfortable and yet stylish.

I left the store, more calls from L.A. I tossed and turned all night then wrote an email to our agents at 5:00 a.m. yesterday morning. Worked out, walked to set and my boss asked me what wrong. I asked him the same thing. He says things are great, don't worry etc. So basically I was spun out into a frenzy for no reason. ugh! I realize this happens all the time in my business. I can do without it.

When I had received the first call, I had just dropped off FH man. He was getting something taken care of with his car and I gave him a ride home. He asked me if I wanted to go to the Beastie Boy's after party with him if he went, (Friday was a long day and the party wouldn't start until 12:30. I had to be on set at 7:30 the next day). He called me later that evening and said he wasn't going to go but maybe he could get us tickets for the concert Saturday night. I actually had plans (shocking). He didn't work yesterday but I will see him on Monday.

Thursday night we walked home together again. This time we stood outside talking for over an hour. He had some great film production horror stories about stars behaving badly.

Last night I went to meet one of my co-workers, Karen, for drinks on College Street in Little Italy. She lives near there and seems to know everyone. Her family is from Nevis and she introduced me to a friend of her's who is also from Nevis. This guy was too damn funny. He works in film and is a musician. He was walking past our table and was only going to sit down for a minute. An hour later after discussing everything under the sun, he went to work.

Later in the evening he said to me "you are only 5'2 but so sexy, why are you single?" haha. He co-owns a bar/club and we went there after having a few classes of wine on the patio of Sotto Voce. I met a bunch of their friends, a very diverse crowd of Canandians, Bosnians, Jamaicans, Trinidadians and British folks. Karen's friend loves Rome and told me not to go back to Los Angeles, it's no place for a West Indian. ha. I told him and Karen I'm an American born in New York City. They both sucked their teeth and said "Please. You can take the girl out of the Caribbean but not the Caribbean out of the girl". I reminded them that was not born there (I did/do spend a lot of time there) and they dismissed that statement, saying I needed to stop speaking "stupidness" my parents are West Indian and so am I. They were born in London and grew up in Toronto but they are very much in touch with their Nevis roots.

Karen and I left and went to another place up the street. It was the size of someone's living room and packed. Great music, we said hi to that owner then I had to go home. We split a cab and Karen went on to a end of summer party. She is older than me and I don't know how she can stay up.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A walk with FH man and just say no to Puffy.

Two cops on set asked me where my car was and if I needed a ride. Earlier this month the HULK was filming in the same area we were in yesterday. A shooting happen and they had to shut down production for the day. The area is not safe at night.

I walked to set that morning. FH did as well. He asked me if I wanted to walk together. One my co-workers later asked me if I wanted a ride and someone else said "no FH is walking with her." She had over heard our conversation and was glad I wouldn't be by myself. Folks on this set are very caring. :)

FH and I were talking about music with our director's young (early 20s) assistant. I'm glad he was there so I didn't feel old when FH (who is maybe 5 or 6 years younger than me) mentioned some hip-hop groups I have never heard of. We were talking about Talib and The Roots when FH man started talking about all these other east coast-based rappers. The young assistant who is a hip-hop head didn't know them either.

I laughed when FH man and the assistant went on an anti-Puffy rant. Puffy is great at marketing but to call that man a rapper is an outrage! When I first hear the song "Missing You" which sampled the entire Police song "Every Breath You Take" I was horrified. It's an abomination!!! I'm not anti-samples per se but damn be creative, don't rip off the whole song.

FH man asked what happend to Res. He thinks she is so talented and beautiful. First I was suprised that he knew who she was, two I thought, he has good taste. I told him in the States they didn't know how to market her music and she was not considered beautiful by our music industry standards. He told me I missed great Sly and Robbie (big musicians/producers from Jamaica) and Toots and the Maytals concerts. Toots is old school, the surviving members must be in their 60s now. This group gave the genre know as Reggae it's name. They were also one of the pioneers of Ska music.

The walk home was fun. It wasn't that late so there were only a few crack heads and trannie hookers out and about.

When he got to my door, he gave me a kiss (on the check) and hug.

Okay off to watch dailies then back to set. It's going to be a long day.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Let's hear it for great New York boobs!!

I did not see the David Chappelle episode where he went up to women in New York City and said "You have great New York boobs." My sister said it was hilarious. She has been on my case to dress less preppy.

I rarely show off my cleavage. Today I wore a green scooped-neck top I bought at Anthropologie but have only worn once.

This afternoon FH man said he wanted to take me to a great italian restaurant where the chef and owner is a good friend of his. Coincidence? maybe.(haha)

I must add that he came over and gave me a hug when I said I couldn't breathe (we were shooting in a garage and the fumes were not fun) and during a conversation with another crew member he kept touching my arm or my shoulder. We were discussing something very important: The genius that is South Park's Team America: World Police movie and how the MPAA was going to slap a NC-17 on it because of the puppet sex. Then FH and the other crew member (a sweet young lady), proceeded to tell me what was on the DVD version. I don't consider myself a prude yet some of these things I have never heard of before....and never need to again! Speaking of sex, he said (responding to a comment from our co-worker) he doesn't understand why someone would take drugs to enhance their orgasm, they are intense already. I told myself "you are a professional woman, fix your face."

He is 6'2, loves food, movies, photography and music among other things. Me like.

Today is a long and intense shooting day but I'm so happy to be here. Call time was late today, 7:30 a.m. (instead of 6:00), so I went to the gym at 5:30, worked out and later walked to the set. Monday and Tuesday we shot downtown and I walked home both days. The weather has been spectacular and we shot outside yesterday and Monday afternoon. All this walking is great.

The New York Times Wedding Announcements

Otherwise known as the "Women's sport pages" are one of my favorite things to read. Yes, I am single but I love how they write the stories up. These days it's easy to be cynical, to believe in the worst of people and that no one cares about romance. Sometimes I do think these things. Then I look at my family, my friends and read the NYTs wedding annoncements and know that is not true.

For some reason this annoucement choked me up. Maybe it's the way the reporter described their courtship and engagement.

Maybe it's because I grew up in that area and this church reminded me of the congregation in our church. Or maybe it's because on their first date Andy asked Kay if she wanted to get married and she said they should wait. He said he would ask again in a month and she said try a year.

In a country where the divorce rate is over 50 percent to believe in relationships lasting longer than the LORD OF THE RINGS Trilogy (hello, didn't the last one have four endings?) is hard. It does happen. My dad said he knew the minute he met my mom that was it. She was visiting his dad (they both were on the island to see their families), he walked into the house and saw her. They celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary this summer.

I haven't yet experienced this "thunderclap thing" but I know I will.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Food, Flirting and Fun

I am bone tired. Saturday's shooting went well but it was FREEZING. I mean 50 F, a strong wind and we were shooting outside. I don't have enough warm clothes. Of course all the native Torontonians were clowning me saying I was a wimp. After living in Los Angeles for 9 years, I cannot stand cold weather. I went home after we wrapped and crashed.

Today one of my co-workers asked me if I lost weight since I've been here. I think I have, my clothes are fitting better. I have also had some great meals.

BONJOUR BRIOCHE - This east side cafe has pastries to die for. I told the production office not to bring them around anymore!

GIOVANNA's - This little place in Little Italy was packed for lunch when we went there at the last minute. We were shooting nearby at the U of T campus and my boss told me to hop in the car and we went to look for something to eat other than the pizza that was brought to set. My spaghetti with clams was delicious. We met Giovanna herself and she insisted we have some wine on the house.

TERRONI - I went to flagship one on Queen's street for lunch yesterday. There was a line out the door. I sat at the bar and had an amazing pizza. The owners of the restaurant are from Calabria (I assume the name is tongue in check) and they sell goods from the region. I had heard service could be poor because it was so busy but I sat at the bar and my waiter couldn't be nicer. I had a pizza, served Naples style- not cut, with mushrooms and a spicy calabrese salami. Perfetto. I walked a zillion miles yesterday so I had no guilt about my pizza and wine.

FH was not on set Saturday....tears. haha. He was on set today. He asked me what I thought of the magazine. I complimented him on the photos he took. He is a very talented photographer so we talked about that for a while. I had no idea what the hell he was talking about when he went into details about developing film, shutter speeds, etc.

Later in the day I was sitting by myself after a meeting and he came over and started talking. I told him I had to buy a winter coat and some warm socks. After he was done rolling his eyes. "Aren't you from New York?" he said, he gave me some ideas/store names for what I'm looking for. At one point he held my ankle to look at my shoe when I said my Pumas were not good for cold weather.

One of our departments heads who noticed all the chit-chat from the last few days, said the same thing my boss' assistant said on Saturday, enjoy the flirting but he is not going to ask out a producer on the movie. It's inappropiate and it could be awkward if things don't work out. She said maybe you can go out the last week of shooting before you leave.

This could explain why he keeps suggesting restaurants/bars/fun places to check out but never says "we should go."

Oh well, still having fun despite the early mornings and long hours.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Comment from Glamour magazine, FH man.

Today I received the following comment to my blog post about a Glamour don't. Here it is:

Hello,

I read your post about a Glamour editor's comments on hairstyles for work, and I'd like to share with you our thoughts. First, we regret the comments were made. The employee, a junior staffer, not a beauty editor, spoke to a small group of lawyers at a private luncheon without her supervisor's knowledge or approval, and her comments ”that Afros are not work appropriate” does not represent Glamour's point of view.

Secondly, immediately upon learning of it, we sought to rectify the situation. The editor has been dealt with in a very serious manner, and the entire staff has been reminded of the magazine's policies and procedures for making public appearances.

Glamour is proud of its diverse readership and celebrates the beauty of ALL women. We have responded directly and openly with readers to assure them of this fact. We have also apologized to the law firm, and we extend the same apology to you.

If you know others who were offended by this incident, To ask you to please pass along this letter. So they, too, know how sorry we are.

Sincerely,
Cindi Leive
Editor-in-Chief, Glamour

The thing that is so powerful (and a little scary) about the internet is how quickly and widely information/words can travel.



Today FH man, true to his word gave me a magazine that he worked on about food/wine etc. in Canada. He was an editor on the Toronto section. During lunch I saw the director, producer and director of photography sitting at a table I went to the end and asked if anyone was sitting there. I didn't notice FH guy until he said "yes, you are." During lunch he told me about the market close to my place, which stalls had the best food, how to make a certain dish etc.

I wish my camera battery wasn't low today. We shot at an airport and had these huge rain machines on set. Very cool looking shots. Then it did start to rain later. LOL

Tomorrow we are shooting. Call time is a little better 8:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 a.m. Not sure if FH man will be there. We are using a smaller crew. Hopefully I will have time after we wrap to work out. I like walking along the boardwalk in The Beach area. I took this shot last week.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"You always have such a great attitude.", More on FH man.

Said by one of my co-workers this morning. She also added she likes seeing me because of my optimistic, animated energy. haha. Seriously, I get it now. The universe is telling to get the hell out of Los Angeles.

Today we shot in a great area called Riverdale. This house was smoking. I loved the colors the owners used when they remodeled. The dining room was a gun metal gray type color with white moldings and silver accents. The on set props supervisor said I could take home one of the stunning flower arrangments we had done for set decorating. I was very happy...I love flowers.

I spoke to "the guy" who shall now be referred to as FH, (for f*cking hot, see yesterday's post). He chatted me up, as my British friends would say, for quite a while. He is tall, not sure maybe 6 feet (i'm only 5.2) but he was sitting down so we were eye to eye. He promised to bring in a mag his ex created that lists interesting places to eat, wine bars and spas.

Our set photographer brought over an actor friend of hers that was shooting a series nearby. This man was stunning. Tall, very chocolate and very handsome. He was born in Toronto and his parents are Jamaican. All the women were asking "who is that man?" I did notice FH doing a double take as I was talking to stunning actor man about the biz.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I need to put out an APB on my flirting skills, presto!

My boss' assistant thinks one of our crew members (who has been described as "f*cking hot" by another member of the crew), is flirting with me.

I am at a loss.

Okay, gotta get back to set.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Six years later


Osama is chilling, making videos and my friend is still dead.

R.I.P. Nigel.

The place I can't wait to spend some time in tonight.


Unfortunately, I will be by myself but that is okay. Our agent is up from L.A. He had to come to the festival and visit his client on the set of THE INCREDIBLE HULK. He and my co-worker asked me to go to dinner tonight. I am no longer in my 20s. I still haven't recovered from Friday night.

I had dinner Saturday night with my boss, all day yesterday was festival related work, followed by a long dinner hosted by the studio then I had to be on set by 6:15 this morning. As much as I love to eat I cannot hang with the folks tonight and def. will pass on the parties.

Our first day of shooting went really well. We made our day and even finished a little earlier so we started to shoot a scene scheduled for tomorrow. Very, very happy about that.

I didn't see the VMAs so I can't comment on the train wreck that everyone is talking about.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Roti, Bagels, Clive Owen and George Clooney

After a muggy, rainy day yesterday, this morning was glorious. I tried to sleep but still woke up at 6:30 a.m. after only 3 hours sleep. (more on that later)

I went for a walk in the Beaches area. Very pretty neighborhood with a park and a boardwalk on Lake Ontario. The main street, Queen Street East is full of funky stores and cool restaurants.

I think this sign sums it up.



Yesterday at the production office they ordered roti for lunch. I can't rememer the last time I had it, back in NYC over 9 years ago? It was delicious. This bread/dish is popular in India, Afganistan, and the Caribbean esp. in Trinidad and Tobago.

I had no idea Montreal-style bagels had such a big reputation. I stopped by a place at the St. Lawrence market that is known for the bagels. I have no words. I will have to explore this market more. It was listed by Food and Wine as one of the top farmer's market in North America. This place is amazing. My apartment is only a few blocks away. Check out the purple peppers.



Last night we went to dinner with the studio suits to some super fancy place call SuSur. It was a tasting menu and while I thought some of the courses, the size of dice were very good, for a party that size maybe it was too formal. At one point one of the actors was saying how great the movie RATATOUILLE is. When the waitress told us the chef wanted to give us a tour of the kitchen, someone said "only if there are rats cooking!" She looked at us like "WTF is wrong with you?"

The unit publicist arranged for a car to take us to some Festival party at Much Music. The street was shut down and the party was crowded. I saw our director's assistant and told him to hang with us. Two of the people in our party were supposed to meet up with Clooney. We went to one bar in Windsor Arms and as we left we saw three young women who said not to go to the other party down the street, it was over. She said "We're going to George Clooney's Michael Clayton post screening party downtown." One of the guys said "that is the party we are looking for". She said "No, you won't be able to get in." One of the actors they said this to (true he is from overseas but come on) was in a movie with George and knows him. ha

I thought it was bold that they basically hopped into our limo (I rode in another car with my boss). We get to the party and the same girls who said "you won't be able to get into the party" were able to get into the VIP section because they were with us. I waved at Clive (damn, he is so handsome) and saw two of my friends from L.A. who are in town for the festival. All the big Warner Bros execs were there. There was a service elevator with all this security and my boss and I went downstairs. He saw George and I hid behind the SUV so I didn't look like I was gawking (damn, he is so handsome). Hello, I must be professional. I spoke to my counterpart at his company.

We left the TIME/Michael Clayton party after 2:00 a.m. and I had to get home. I really enjoyed spending time with some of our cast members. One of the actors speaks, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish and English so he was throwing Italian words at me all night. He also thought it was bizarre that I hold a French passport, have multi-lingual parents but speak no French. I am American, why on earth would I need to know another language? (kidding!)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Yorkville, Faux Hawks, Codice Rosso and props on my Italian speaking skills

My boss's assistant has proclaimed Toronto to be one of his favorite cities. He was born and raised in Venice, California and his hometown, Amsterdam and now Toronto are the cities he enjoys the most.

One thing he brought to my attention last night was people here do not all look or dress the same. Not all the men are wearing faux hawks, in fact I haven't seen any yet.

Unless your name is Maddox Jolie-Pitt or you are this guy,


please, I beg all wanna be actors, reality stars and 85 percent of the male population of Los Angeles, to try something new.

J and I went to meet our boss at his place then we walked over to Yorkville. This area reminded me Montana Avenue in L.A., cool shops and restaurants but pricey. The Four Seasons is in this neighborhood and it's where most of the film industry people are staying during the Toronto Film Festival.

All of us went to Cafe Nervosa. Our food was very good but spicy (I am a wimp when it comes to spicy food so it could be just me.) Our waiter was Italian and complimented me as we were leaving on my "excellent" italian. Let's see, I only said vongole (clams), buona sera, grazie and prego but I appreciated the props. LOL

Speaking of Italian, I caught Codice Rosso (Code Red) the Italian version of Emergency! (does anyone remember this show from the late 70s with Randolph Mantooth...I just liked saying his name) the other night. There was a lot of yelling, fighting and reflection going on during the finale. I understood maybe 1/4 of the words. The next morning when I clicked on the TV that channel was on and I starting to get aggravated that my Italian had declined so much already from not being in classes or speaking it regularly during the last 6 months. That it was a kid's show with some kind of muppets made me more irritated.

Hello, the show was in Spanish. Doh! The channel I was watching, TLN, has half of its progamming in Spanish and half in Italian. The Sopranos, uncut, also comes on at 10. It's in English. This is not a premium cable channel and yet every F-bomb and Bada Bing breast was shown. They do say a very clear and specific parental advisory though before the show starts and at the end of every commerical break. I remember when I was in London, my friend said Sex and The City came on regular TV at 10. Again uncut. That would never fly in the States, we clearly can't figure out by ourselves what our kids should or shouldn't be watching.

Today is the last day of pre-production. We start shooting on Monday. The suits (the studio execs, including the head of the studio) are coming in for the Festival but will also be stopping by the set. No pressure. Ha.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti 1935 - 2007

"Penso che una vita per la musica sia una vita spesa bene ed รจ a questo che mi sono dedicato."

"I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent and this is what I have devoted my life to."
- Luciano Pavarotti


I didn't know he worked as school teacher then as an insurance salesman after graduating from school for six years before he decided to pursue music full time. He came from a musical family but loved soccer and wanted to play pro.

He is one of the greatest singers ever. During his last concert in New York City he received a 12 minute standing ovation. He will be missed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No more wine...well until the end of the week.

I didn't bring my camera but Monday night I went to the Distillery District. It used to be a former beer factory but now it's full of interesting bars and restaurants. Unfortunately, I don't remember the name of the place we went to probably because I split a bottle of wine and had seafood, which is not the most filling thing to eat. I do remember that I talked a lot. I should mention that my dinner was with THE producer of our film. There are several producers (at different levels) on the movie including me, but he is the big cheese.

I told him yesterday morning, I was going to take a break from the vino. Then I walked into the office yesterday afternoon and someone from the art department was opening a bottle of wine. What kind of place is this? haha. I didn't have any but I was reminded how producion is so different from development.

On a set you have teamsters, carpenters, painters, electricians, people from all different socio-economic backgrounds. Working in development back in Hollywood is a very, very narrow view of the world.

I just met our lead hairdresser. She has lived in Canada for 25 years, her parents are from the Caribbean and she has locks to her waist. She has to do everyone's hair, regardless of race and she knows how. I haven't met our head of wardrobe yet but she is half-West indian, half-African with a big afro, our director's assitant who flew up from L.A., is Iranian, one of our actors lives in France, another lives in Australia. The vibe here is great.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The American Version of Glamour Magazine needs to buy a clue.

So there has been much debate in the Blogsphere and salons about this. I first heard about the controversy over at Afrobella's blog.

Guess what - relaxed hair can also be unprofessional. Why is keeping my hair the same texture that it grows out of my head political?! If you keep your hair clean and tidy what is the problem?

I was watching the news up here in Toronto and I saw a black female reporter with shoulder length twists in her hair. I was shocked!! Meanwhile, American black women are being told if you want to be "professional" you must burn your hair to fit it. I say no! If someone wants to spend the time, money and use those chemicals/heat, cool but to be told you have to is ridiculous.

Why should I be ashamed of my hair's real texture? If my hair was supposed to be bone straight it would be. It is 2007. Why is Glamour magazine doing articles like this?

I used to love Glamour. Then after Bonnie Fuller took over (I think she did or do I just like to blame her for the tabloidzation of America on principle?) the mag went down hill. I know they have had new editors but after this article I won't be buying their magazine. In my eyes Glamour has become a magazine don't.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Toronto

I have arrived in Toronto. First impressions?

People are very friendly. The lady at Customs talked my ear off. She wanted to know who was starring in our movie, what was it about etc. Same thing with the woman at Immigration. Everyone in my buidling has said hello/good morning and held doors open.

Toronto is clean.

It is also very diverse. Just on the flight up here I felt like I was at the U.N. There are a few French channels TV channels and an Italian (!!) one. I saw a commercial for Wal-Mart which looked just like the U.S. version but it was in Italian. Within a few blocks from my apartment I noticed Thai, Indian, Italian, Mexican and French restaurants and a Irish Pub.

I can walk to things! There are two big supermarkets near me and a drug store, dry cleaners, basically all the services you find a major city and don't need a car to get to. (Toronto is the 5th largest city in the Americas). I get my car tomorrow but will be using it mostly to drive to set. I like that the streets are full with people even during a holiday weekend. It feels like a city here.


My building has a gym and a roof deck.

This photo is misleading. The land you see on the other side of the lake is a little island. Lake Ontario goes on for miles. I will try to get a better shot, when the sun glare isn't so strong.




I thought this sailboat looked very majestic.



The internet in my apartment is not working. Hopefully it will be fixed soon. The living room furniture is unfortunate but the apartment gets a ton of light and I have a balcony. I won't be spending a lot of time on it (I am really high up... and it doesn't look that strong.)

Our UPM (unit production manager) gave me a ride to the prodution office today. I had to check my emails. Our director didn't recognize me at first. Last week I spend 6 hours and $$$ to have my hair done. I had twists put in. I am not used to having this much hair on my head. I was dying in L.A. with the heat wave and just wore it up. I am very happy to have such low maintenance hair for the next couple of months.

I think I will only do this a couple times a year. As I paid my hairdresser I thought, I could have bought a sick pair of shoes. Haha. Good thing I called two different friends. One friend has her hair done at the same salon but her stylist starts at $300! add the cost of hair $140, plus tip, you are looking at $500. Plus she is hard to get an appointment with because she works with a bunch of celebs. My stylist starts at $150, she is a recent college and is opening her own salon already. She is going to focus on natural hair care. She night be a little ahead of the curve. I have seen more naturals in Toronto within the last 24-hours than I have during the last 3 years in Los Angeles. LOL.

Tomorrow I will be on a location scout, then watching some of the actors rehearse. The gym opens at 5:30 a.m. (yes) so I will be able to get a work out in before my pick up. I have got to lose some weight. The last three weeks I went to town on the junk food. I don't have any in my apartment now...and it's going to stay that way. Now if I can only stay away from the crafts services table that would be great.