Monday, November 09, 2009

Art and artifice

Top of my wish list for physical improvement is a smaller (much smaller), pert bottom. But this is closely followed by decent eyebrows. I hate mine. They are too thin and one of them isn’t nearly long enough.

I was in Beverly Hills for a screening of The Making Of Plus One… the mockumentary inspired by my book and in which I have a cameo role. Fearing that filmgoers might judge my pathetic brows, and as I was in the hood, I visited the premises of one Anastasia. Not only is she the world’s most expensive eyebrow plucker, Anastasia sells a range of products to give us eyebrows to be proud of.

An assistant offered to demonstrate their most popular products. The screening was in an hour and I was thrilled at the chance to look like a film star. She found a template of the perfect brow for me after measuring angles and doing various calculations. I loved it that she was taking my plight so seriously.

Twenty minutes and $122 later, I left the store with Anastasia’s Essential Brow Kit and the thickest eyebrows since Joan Crawford. I had been feeling very guilty about the expense of the ’brow kit because Colin and I have been on a “is it a want or a need?” regimen, as recommended by financial guru Suze Orman.

My mood was cheered by attending the star-studded BAFTA/LA Britannia awards with filmmaker Mary McGuckian as her plus one. The highlight for me was Kirk Douglas singing ‘Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner’ after he was presented with an award by Arnold Schwarzenegger for his contribution to film entertainment. Also honored were Robert De Niro, Colin Firth, Emily Blunt and Danny Boyle. Stephen Fry did a great job hosting and Ben Stiller gave a funny speech presenting Robert de Niro’s award. I suspect Colin Firth regrets asking Minnie Driver to present his.

The best night of the week for me was watching DV8 Physical Theatre’s astonishing performance at Royce Hall with some dear old friends. Back in the day, Julia shared a council flat in Camden with Angie Giles (another great singer/songwriter) and Lloyd Newson. Lloyd was a dancer who went on to achieve international acclaim as DV8’s artistic director and choreographer. Lloyd and Angie had been introduced by Angie’s brother, designer Steven Giles. Check out Steven’s store,

Angie and Steven are pictured above at the DV8 show with Julia, who had to borrow my glasses to read the program.

I remember visiting their London flat and first glimpsed the artistic life. I knew then that the four of them were extraordinary people leading extraordinary lives and how honored I felt to even be in the same room as them.

Steven and Angie flew in from Miami for the show and we have had an incredible reunion, catching up and reminiscing. I won the prize for “most creative irons in fires.” Who spotted the unintentional gay pun? I tried ‘fingers in pies’ but that sounded worse.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Not so easy street....

My producing partner and I have shot the sizzle reel for my reality TV show idea. The shoot couldn’t have gone better. Two weeks to edit, then her agent and my manager can try and sell it.

While we were out filming, a pleasant-looking man of about 30 walked into the frame and sat down nearby. This turned out to be a happy accident from our point of view, so I asked him if he’d be so kind as to do it again. He told me he would be happy to help. As we walked back to the others, he said he was homeless and asked if I could spare a couple of bucks for some food? I gave him five.

The wonderful singer/songwriter Celia Chavez referred to a book by Steven Pressfield, The War of Art, in her blog. Celia wrote:

"The premise of this book is that resistance is a creative person’s tireless and impersonal nemesis, and you have to resign yourself to battle it. You will encounter the worst and most heartbreaking obstacles around that which you are most called to do. It defines the different forms resistance takes and recommends that an artist hunker down and assume the mentality of a professional soldier in an endless conflict."

Most people who achieve success would agree that luck plays a part. Maybe they were in the right place at the right time, or knew someone who knew someone who could help or guide them. Yes, it’s a battle at times, but the harder we work, the luckier we are. And the ones who make it are the ones who don’t give up.

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