Bil Browning

A Typical Weekend in LA: A Dramatization

Filed By Bil Browning | April 01, 2010 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living
Tags: Bad Religion, Craig Ferguson, Hollywood Hills, La Brea Tar Pits, Los Angeles, Stonewall Democratic Club, Sunset Strip, Universal Theme Park, vacation

Note: Fresh off my week in Los Angeles, I've been bitten by the Hollywood bug and decided to dramatize my weekend. This makes for the perfect April Fools post since it's a fine line between "based on a true story" and "what truly happened."

I woke up Saturday morning on the Sunset Strip across the street from the Chateau Marmont. I stumbled down the street to get a cup of coffee and hid in a nearby park to drink it while I Bil_In_Hollywood2.jpgchainsmoked so wide-eyed tourists wandering the strip wouldn't see my disheveled state and mistake me for a homeless person.

I hurried back to my four star hotel, showered and changed out of my stale clothing so I could meet my lover and two guys I'd met online for lunch at the local farmer's market. After we brunched on several exotic handmade tacos, I wanted to do something unusual.

We went to a nearby macabre tourist trap where thousands upon thousands of innocents had met a slow and terrifying end since prehistoric times. Tired of looking at long dead corpses, we decided to track down another creature of the night and, hopefully, attain a healing relic for a friend who'd already been bitten and was now two shy to find the pasty white monster on his own. We were unsuccessful; I assume because it was daylight.

Upset that we weren't able to find the animated corpse who usually only shows his face around midnight, I went back to my hotel to get ready for a fancy Hollywood party, but got into a small squabble with the cleaning lady when she wouldn't stop bothering me about whether or not she needed to work that day. Once it was clear to her that she had to at least tidy up before she left work, I grabbed a snack and sat out on the deck that overlooked the pool with the city pulsing behind the swaying palm trees as boys and girls wearing swim trunks and bikinis giggled and chased each other around the water.

I realized I was running late, and went back to clean up for dinner and the party in the Hollywood Hills. Since the staff didn't clean my jacket and iron my shirt, I had to waste time salvaging my outfit so I didn't look like a wrinkled mess. Bil-at-The-Abbey1-300x209.jpgI rushed to West Hollywood for dinner with my lover but the local press was tipped off that we were coming and started snapping pictures while we squinted into the sun trying to find a table.

Frustrated, we decided to go elsewhere and ended up having a nice quiet dinner with an old friend we saw on the street. As we left the restaurant, the press started snapping pictures again so we hopped in our friend's car and took off for a party at a millionaire's home.

Throwing the keys to the valet, we walked in and said hello to various producers, directors, and the ubiquitous movie stars and playwrights. Most of the room was either gay or lesbian and soon enough a group of guys started singing acapella showtunes and later a B list actress belted out an Andrew Lloyd Webber tune to an enrapt audience of theater queens hanging out in the dining room. After saying hello to old friends by the pool, I decided to find the bathroom but stumbled on a small group I think were doing blow in the host's bedroom.

Since the party was winding down, we jumped in a Republican presidential candidate's Mercedes and raced back down the Hills to change into clothes more appropriate for clubbing. Fighting traffic on Sunset Boulevard, our small group pulled off in a hotel parking lot and had a smoke. Jerame and I walked down the strip toward our hotel and stopped to buy some rolling papers and energy drinks on our way.

Rocking and Rolling

Back at the hotel, we sat for a bit and watched the tourists, club kids and hipsters walk back and forth on the Strip hoping that that they'd magically be put on a list for one of the hip cool bars. Most weren't.

We set out with a WeHo bar in mind, but didn't remember that we'd be walking down a steep hill to get to the neighborhood. The iPhone said it would take 12 minutes to walk. In actuality it was a little faster going there and a bit longer coming back. The bar we went to was unintentionally retro, but the sideshow of a tweaked out former twink running back and forth across the room really jazzed the place up.

One one side, he'd get into a mock fistfight with a burly redneck-looking white guy; on the other, he'd stand between a drugged out Latino man's legs and enjoy a free hand job. After Mels_Drive_In.jpghe'd gotten bored with one, he'd go back to the other. I'm not sure what he'd have done if all three had been closer together.

After a couple of cocktails, Jerame and I decided to grab a late night snack, but the only thing we could find open was a nearby diner. We avoid those at home, let alone while we're traveling, but we were tired of walking and needed more energy to climb back up to the hotel. While we ate our eggs and assorted meats, potatoes and breads, a not-nearly-as-popular-anymore rock band sat down behind us with a groupie they'd picked up. They signed her copy of Rolling Stone and told her stories about life on the road when they were on the radio constantly.

Exhausted, we struggled back up the steep hill and got in bed. When I checked my e-mail on the phone, I noticed a message from a local character actor who wanted publicity. We e-mailed back and forth a couple of times and he showed me a video of himself trying on several pairs of underwear [NSFW] . When I got home, there was a package waiting on me; he sent me a pair of his undies and a color one sheet about how versatile he is.

Right before I fell asleep, I checked my voicemail one last time. Neil Patrick Harris still hadn't called.

Sunday Is Not a Day of Rest

The next morning we slept in before running off for a private tour of Universal Theme Park and Studio around noon. We met our two handsome tour guides at the park and they whisked us right inside. We went straight to the front of the line at each krustyland.jpgamusement. Five minutes after entering the park we were on our first ride and only stopped occasionally to scarf down a hotdog or a bottle of water.

The Simpsons, Jurassic Park, The Mummy, Backdraft, we did them all. We wandered the park until 5pm and then hurried back to the nearby Sheraton and grabbed a room. Throwing our suitcases on the bed, Jerame and I freshened up to attend a fundraiser for local queer democrats.

As we rode up the elevator to the top floor ballroom, I shared my nervousness about accepting the night's award honoring new media and citizen journalism. He reminded me that if I could make small talk with a famous director about an obscure scene from one of his earlier flicks, I could give a speech in front of Congressmembers and other California activists, politicians, and journalists. I skipped the before dinner cocktail, just in case.

As if life were a John Hughes movie, I realized halfway though the ceremony that my speech wasn't appropriate. Frantic, I knew that if I panicked, I'd leave a bad impression on our hosts; bloggers are already regarded with suspicion, so I knew I'd have to come up with something inspired. Regretfully, there were no Cheetos available for inspiration.

As the ceremonies proceeded, I surreptitiously checked my voicemail to see if Neil Patrick Harris had called to congratulate me or offer any words of advice. He hadn't. I was on my own.

As I made my way through an impromptu speech based on ENDA, solidarity, and everything but California, I glanced to the side and noticed both Jerame and contributor Karen Ocamb were beaming from ear to ear. I wrapped up the speech after that, since I knew the two critics I cared about most were happy. Thankfully, not too many people walked out during my ramblings.

As Karen handed me Bilerico Project's trophy, Bob_Craig_Media_Award.jpgI noticed a stack of folders in her arms. She handed me the bundle and curiously opened them once I was back at my table. Inside were commendations, recognitions, and certificates of appreciation from California Senator Barbara Boxer, a handful of state legislators and the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

On the way back to our room after the event, Jerame talked with an older activist who told him, "It's started for Bilerico now. It's won a couple of awards and now it'll get more and more. The two of you had better prepare for a lot more travel."

Since I'm a reality-show fanatic, I'm not sure how much more Hollywood drama I can take. While everything we did in LA was super cool and fabulous, when you tell it this way it all seems much more fantastic. The trip even came with a happy ending.

And the entire thing is true. I swear.


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you describe a...

"...nearby macabre tourist trap where thousands upon thousands of innocents had met a slow and terrifying end since prehistoric times."

la brea tar pits...or santa monica boulevard?