P.A. Life: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being Freelance

Recently I’ve been writing a lot about my life in California, but I realize a lot of my family/friends/readers don’t know what it is that I actually came out here to do. I think I’ve mentioned before that I am a production assistant, but many people don’t know what that even means. I get asked, “What do you actually do?” on a daily basis. I’ve been trying to write the answer to that question in several posts, but it never seems to fit anywhere. Here are all the answers to some frequently asked questions like,”What is a production assistant?” and “Why don’t you just get a real job?”

What is a production assistant?IMG_1767

A production assistant is the lowest person on a film/TV set. Coffee running low? Need someone to stand in as the lighting department fixes the lights? Have paperwork to fill out/copies to be made/a chair that needs moving/an overflowing garbage? Ask a PA, those are all things we do. In the most basic terms, a PA is the extra set of hands that does the jobs that are essential for the rest of the crew to get the project made, but that the higher ups are too busy to do. We do anything and everything that’s asked of us. Seriously.

Okay, so what do you do all day?

There is no typical day as a PA. It depends on what type of project you are working on and what your role is. On an “average” day I will go on runs (meaning going out and purchasing/picking up anything that’s needed on set from food to wigs to cardboard boxes), restock the kitchen (film crews can eat), move something heavy (there is always something heavy to move), and help any department that needs assistance (could be the camera, lighting, or art departments or even a producer or director who needs an extra hand). Like I said before, my job is to assist everyone else. It’s right there in my title. Sometimes I’ll get to do side projects of my own like research or writing.

Is that stuff any fun?

It can be! The fun part about being a PA is that everyday is different. There is always something new to learn and someone new to meet. Being a PA allows you interact with almost everyone else on the crew, many of whom started out their careers as a PA. You gotta start somewhere, right?

As a PA I have worked on some pretty cool shows. My first ever gig was on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade where I got to stand in Herald Square and see all of the performers and balloons come by. I’ve also worked on the Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Plaza, the season 14 finale of American Idol, a talk show called Just Keke, and a few reality shows. I’ve loved them all for different reasons. To me the best part is seeing all the hard work and the little pieces come together. That moment right before a show starts (especially a live one) is magical because anything can happen. (What you hope happens is the show goes off without a hitch.)

That all sounds great…what’s the catch?

Being a PA is fun, but it is also A LOT of work. The average day is 12.5 hours. This ain’t no 9-5 job so say goodbye to your social life. You will be exhausted pretty much every single day. Being a PA can also be very physical. There are tables and chairs to move, boxes to carry, sets that need to come up and down. When a show is over PAs have to help with load out which means taking EVERYTHING that was brought in has to come out so the next show or whatever can come in. So all of office supplies, computers, hair and makeup products, food, you name it, it must be moved. During load out you will not go home and eat. You will go home and fall into your bed and maybe wake up in time for work the next morning.

Another not so fun part? No job security.  Shows/films/commercials end. Or sometimes they get canceled. Or decide to go on strike. You could be employed one day and unemployed the next.

hetalia animated GIF

Wow that sucks.

Yeah it can suck, I get major anxiety every time a show ends and I don’t have another job lined up. But you know what would suck to me more? Working 9-5 in an office  and staring at a computer all day. I love being able to move around to different projects. Earlier this week I finished a show one day and the next day I was working on the Primetime Emmys. Not too shabby.

You don’t have a set job so why can’t you just take vacation/come home whenever you want?

The nature of production is very fast paced. If things are happening they are happening tomorrow or right now. If I leave, I can’t work and I will be replaced. It’s as simple as that. Since I don’t have a “normal”  job I could be unemployed tomorrow or I could be booked for the next 2 months, but I won’t know until that phone rings.

phone animated GIF

Also, each day of production relies on the day before so when I am working and you want to hang out with me be prepared to make plans at the very last minute.

I get out late, I work early, I’m usually tired. Sometimes I don’t even know what time or if I’m working the next day. And if there’s a problem a shoot will run late or the scenes will have to be completed the next day. This can change everyone’s schedule. That’s just the way it is. There are a lot of little parts that depend on other little parts and sometimes these things can’t be helped. Hence, no social life.

Is there anything else we should know about your life as PA?

Wow thanks for asking such good questions. Sure there is. Please stop asking me when I’m going to get a real job.

John Watson Seriously animated GIFThis is my real job. My hours may be unconventional, I may spend my days sweeping glitter and counting walkie talkies and worrying if we have enough red vines, but this is what I do. I won’t always be a PA, but there’s a good chance that as long as I stay in this industry my life will always be like this. This is the business we’ve chosen. But it also means I get to go to the Emmys so that’s a trade off I’m willing to make.

This is the most basic of description of what a PA does so if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask. I am in no way an expert, but I can share my stories and experiences. It’s an important job that I feel like more people should know about (and yes that has 110% to do with the fact that it is my job and me who is doing it)!

P.S. If you happen to be reading this and need a PA, I’m available.

30 Rock Alec Baldwin animated GIF

A Little More Personal: Time Spent in Los Angeles

So A LOT has happened since my last post about my life in California. 3 more months have gone by making this my fourth month living in California. I cannot even begin to explain how surreal that is to type. Four month is a lifetime. It’s a high school relationship. So much can happen in that amount of time and really so much has happened in that amount of time. The one major change since my last post?  NO MORE COUCH SURFING. That’s right,I actually have a permanent California address. I live in the Valley, which means I’m actually a Valley Girl.

disney animated GIF

(If you care, living in “The Valley” means that when you are looking at the hills, you see where the Hollywood sign should be, but not the letters themselves, the backs of them. Basically it’s like living in Long Island or maybe even Brooklyn without the hipsters, you can go to/see Manhattan, but you don’t actually live there.)

So I’m an adult now.

I pay rent. And bills. Too many bills. I cook for myself. Or I eat cereal. I still don’t have a bed because buying a mattress scares the crap out of me and its expensive, but these things take time. It was just a few weeks ago that my10525833_10204361307497289_5708163816375541443_n roommate and I were eating our meals off cardboard boxes  and having our friends sit on the floor when they came to visit us. We just got a couch and a table and even had a bonafide trip to Ikea. I can’t believe how far we’ve come. With every experience, I have proven to myself more and more that, yes I can do this. As much as I’ve cried and struggled (and still cry and struggle), I am making it. I am quite literally living my dreams and at the same time doing things I never dreamed possible. If you had asked me earlier this year if I saw myself not only moving cross country, but finding work and making friends and having a place of my own (with a pool) I would have say no way Jose.

All of this living on my own has really made me both appreciate and miss my parents. I finally understand why my dad constantly yelled at us for leaving the lights on or why my mom always wanted us to be just a little neater. Having your own place is a lot of work! It makes me realize all of the things I took for granted. Not to get all PSA-ey on everyone, but if you live at home or anywhere within driving distance of your parents, appreciate it. Don’t just call, visit them. The thing I miss the most about home is not pizza or Dunkin Donuts or free laundry, but just sitting and talking/laughing/joking with my family. Sure that sounds sappy, but living 3,000 miles away from the people you love can do that to you.

Other than missing my family and furnishing my apartment I’ve been spending a lot of time working which is alway good. I don’t like sitting still and more than anything I hate being bored. Recently I’ve spent my time working on several different shows. I worked on a talk show for a little while and recently I’ve been on a reality competition show. I’ve enjoyed the reality show because I’ve been able to see the entire season of the show from start to finish which I find fascinating. People may knock reality TV, but a lot goes into making it all come together. There are challenges to plan and contestants to watch over and eliminations to be had. It’s all be great fun.

Next up in my life? Looking for the next project and the project after that, finally making that big bed purchase, and counting down the days until Christmas when I can finally go home and see my family and friends (127).

I’ll end this post with a little list…

California Favs:

  • Malibu

IMG_2265

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

IMG_2225

IMG_2228

I really can’t say enough about it. Every beach I’ve been to is prettier than the next.

  • Hiking. Yeah it really is that good here.
  • Thai food. Seriously some of the best I’ve ever eaten.
  • In-N-Out. Completely lives up to the hype and then some.
  • Catered meals. If you work at all in production you will understand what a gift that is. If you don’t it basically means someone provides a hot lunch for you on set. No pb&j for this girl. (Wow a lot of these involve food)
  • Making friends with other transplants who also work in production and have no family/other friends close by and so we all live the struggle together.

California Un-favs:

  • The fact that the L.A. Kings beat my NY Rangers and now I have to listen to everyone pretend to care about hockey for another season (compounded by the fact that Kings tickets are now RIDICULOUSLY expensive and I will never again be able to see a hockey game live)
  • Traffic. Where are you all going at 9 am on on Saturday??
  • Parking. Paying for parking, actually parking, not finding parking. (Yes, I have officially become one of those people.)
  • Chinese food. Those are not egg rolls, those are spring rolls. All I want is a crispy shelled deliciousness. Is that too much to ask?
  • Bills.
  • Being this close to Comic-Con and missing it (this year at least).
  • Not having any good celebrity sightings (besides Lance Bass).

Oh and here’s the song that inspired the post title:

‘Guardians of the Galaxy': Proof Marvel has the Infinity Gauntlet

Since people are still talking about Guardians of the Galaxy, I figured I would throw my two cents in.

Guardians of the Galaxy is Marvel’s infinity gauntlet. (Please hold while I explain). It is the company’s way of showing they have The Ultimate Power. Make a comic book movie that’s pretty much an original story with a ragtag bunch of unlikely heroes no one’s ever heard of and have that film make millions of dollars? Done. Fire (because of “creative differences”) beloved fanboy director Edgar Wright? Easy. Make a movie about a guy who can turn himself into an ant? What else you got?  As if we didn’t already know, Marvel is the master of the universe and we’re just along for the ride.

But what a fun ride it is. Guardians is laugh out loud, punch drunk fun. It can stand on it’s own as a kind of space adventure film while still weaving in critical Marvel Easter Eggs, characters, and storylines. And while I applaud all of this, at the same time I am not in the least bit surprised. Why did people think this movie would fail? Marvel could make a film about paint drying in Tony Stark’s garage and fanboys (myself included) would line up to see it. By now, it’s far more about the Marvel brand than the film itself. You want to see how the films connect, where they take the universe, what’s going to happen next. And to be involved in that conversation means seeing every film, regardless of if you think it looks good or bad.

When I first started hearing the news about Guardians I admit I was skeptical, but there was never a point in my mind where I considered NOT seeing it. Well, maybe there was, but with the fanboys of twitter a buzz, I decided I wanted in. Marvel movies have become a conversation as much as an experience. If you are active in social media or in life and you haven’t seen the newest Marvel movie opening weekend, be prepared to avoid all forms of communication or just plain have nothing to say. My favorite part of seeing a new Marvel film is talking and reading about it afterwards. Which is why, as a Marvel fan and social media user, I knew I had to see this film. I was curious as to what it was all about and I wanted to be informed-not just for Avengers 3-but also for everyday conversations. 

So is Guardians groundbreaking? I would say no. The Marvel name is attached and that alone that brings in a fanbase, money, marketing, and a set of expectations. I don’t see too many differences between the tone of Guardians and the first Iron Man film. I would be more impressed if this film was made by a small studio with everything to lose. And sure, Guardians could have tanked costing Marvel money and causing people to talk about if they were “losing their touch”, but in the long run would that have meant anything? Would ANYONE consider not seeing Age of Ultron because Guardians was a bad film? I don’t think so.

Did I enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy? You can bet your bottom dollar that I did and hope to see more characters that make me laugh as much as Drax did with his “Nothing goes over my head” line. But if you think I thought this film was better than Captain America: The Winter Soldier then I’m going to assume you’re an agent of Hydra.

 

Final Thoughts

  • This is the first film where I didn’t leave elated/pumped because of the end credits scene. Maybe I’m a bit young, but I didn’t get it/thought it was pointless. Tease the next film that’s the only reason I stay! (Just kidding, someone has to care who the 2nd gaffer is besides his mom.)

Emmy Nomination Reactions: Please No More ‘Big Bang’, I Wish I Didn’t Sleep Through ‘True Detective’, One Day Jon Hamm Will Win

Guess who’s back, back again? I apologize for the infrequent nature of my posts, I’ve been super busy in both good ways and bad (but that’s a post for another time). Right now I am here to talk about one of my favorite topics: award shows. The Emmy nominations were announced this morning and I can honestly say I have been waiting to for this list for a long time. I am more excited about this award show than I ever have been, maybe because I live in California now and I see those “For Your Consideration” advertisements EVERYWHERE (which I actually really enjoy). Or maybe it is because TV has just been SO GOOD lately and I have been indulging in my fair share…while still managing to never have seen even one episode of Breaking Bad. While it is said every year, I really think this year is has some of the best actors competing in some of the best roles representing some of the best shows.

Show without further ado…here are the nominees.

Best Drama Series
Breaking Bad- “Wow I’m so surprised the final season of BB was nominated” said no one ever
Downton Abbey- Kind of surprised to see this show still getting nominations when it is nowhere near as good as it used to be
Game of Thrones- Again, no surprises here
House of Cards- Netflix FTW
Mad Men-YAY
True Detective- I probably should’ve given this show another chance, but I kept falling asleep during the first episode 

*The only thing that could really give BB a run for its money is the super successful and critically loved True Detective. Other things these two shows have in common? Everyone watches them and I don’t.

Best Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory- I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THIS SHOW IS ALWAYS NOMINATED FOR THINGS, GIVE OTHER SHOWS A CHANCE
Louie
Modern Family- I just started getting into MF/appreciating how funny it really is
Orange is the New Black- More (well deserved) loved for Netflix 
Silicon Valley- On my ever growing ‘to watch’ list
Veep

*I wish I watched the final 2 shows on this list, I hear they’re really funny. Also, I’m surprised to see Brooklyn Nine-Nine  not nominated since they did win a Golden Globe after all

Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom- I forgot this show was still on
Jon Hamm, Mad Men- One of these days Hamm will win for playing Don Draper, this is not that day 
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective- The year of McConaughey continues. I’d be shocked if he lost
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards- As good as Spacey is this season he was overshadowed by Robin Wright

*Interesting Harrelson and McConney are against each other for the same show, but I guess there is no way around that

Lead Actress in a Drama Series
Lizzy Caplan, Masters of Sex-YES. 
Claire Danes, Homeland- I get it, Danes is good, but I think Homeland‘s time has passed
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey- Lady Mary spent 90% of the season moping and the rest of the time flirting so I’m not sure how she managed this nom
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Kerry Washington, Scandal
Robin Wright, House of Cards- Well deserved nom, she killed it this season especially with that CNN interview episode

*I would be ecstatic for a Wright or Caplan win. Both play such different, but equally powerful characters.

Update: just realized Elisabeth Moss wasn’t nominated for Mad Men and now I’m a little sad. Although she did spend a lot of time last season being mad at other characters for seemingly no reason.

Lead Actor, Comedy
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Ricky Gervais, Derek
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
William H. Macy, Shameless

*I’m sick of Jim Parsons always winning this category, but I don’t know who in this group is funny enough to take the throne away from him.

Lead Actress, Comedy
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Julia Louis Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly- You go girl. Show people you can do better than Tammy
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation- I really need to start watching this show
Taylor Schilling, Orange Is the New Black- She’s good, but not in what I would consider a comedic sense

Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: His Last Vow- Such a great episode in what really was a perfect season 
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Dancing on the Edge
Martin Freeman, FargoI love how great Freeman is as the bumbling man trying to reclaim his life. Also, his midwest accent is spot on 
Billy Bob Thornton, Fargo- Since they didn’t consider True Detective a miniseries this is Thornton’s to lose. I keep calling him Daniel Day-Lewis in my head when I think of this role THAT’S HOW GOOD HE IS
Idris Elba, Luther
Mark Ruffalo, The Normal Heart

*Haha Sherlock and Watson are up against each other in this category. Which table will Martin sit at?

Outstanding Reality-Competition Series
The Amazing Race
Dancing with the Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice

*I’d be pretty happy to see any of these shows win, it’s a good bunch. Although I do favor Top Chef. 

Outstanding Variety Series
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon- I would love to see Jimmy win in not even his first year of hosting

Outstanding Miniseries
American Horror Story: Coven
Bonnie & Clyde- Wasn’t this just a movie? Or because it was a two parter they consider it a miniseries?
Fargo- This and only this
Luther
Treme
The White Queen

Outstanding Television Movie
Killing Kennedy
Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight
The Normal Heart- I’ve been meaning to see this movie, it’s a must watch before the Emmys
Sherlock: His Last VowI didn’t realize they consider this a movie. It was good, but can it stand up to the more dramatic ones on here?
The Trip to Bountiful

Supporting Actor, Drama
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad- Yeah bitch! (That’s literally the only thing I know about this show. That and meth)
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey- Awh good ole Carson. Don’t think he can compete with Dinklage though
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones- I feel like it is Dinklage’s year to win again
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Mandy Patinkin, HomelandWhile everyone else floundered this season, Patinkin did some great work, so unlike Danes’ nomination I’m okay with this one
Jon Voight, Ray Donovan

Supporting Actress, Drama
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey- She’s one of my favorites on this show and she had a pretty heavy storyline to deal with this season
Lena Headey, Game of Thrones- Still love her as Sarah Connor on the Terminator TV show so I’m happy for her even though I’m not a GoT fan
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men- Hendricks doesn’t get enough love for her work on Mad Men and she deserves it. She’s had some incredibly stirring moments 

Supporting Actor, Comedy
Andre Braugher, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Driver, Girls
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Fred Armisen, Portlandia

*I don’t have much to say about this category except that I think the guys from Modern Family are pretty funny

Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Julie Bowen, Modern Family- She’s probably my favorite on this show with her deadpan deliveries and mom humor
Allison Janney, Mom
Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New BlackHappy to see more love for the OITNB cast, especially the always phenomenal Red
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live- One of the funniest ladies on SNL. Olya Povlatsky is always a ‘Weekend Update’ highlight
Anna Chlumsky, Veep

Supporting Actor, Miniseries or Movie
Colin Hanks, Fargo- You’re making your dad proud with your work on this show, Colin
Jim Parsons, The Normal Heart
Joe Mantello, The Normal Heart
Alfred Molina, The Normal Heart
Matt Bomer, The Normal Heart
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: His Last Vow- Oh Martin, always a bridesmaid and never a bride. You’re so good, but up against stiff competition and even better co-stars 

*Lots of love for the guys of The Normal Heart, but does that mean they’ll cancel each other out?

Supporting Actress, Miniseries or Movie
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story: Coven
Kathy Bates, American Horror Story: Coven
Angela Bassett, American Horror Story: Coven
Allison Tolman, Fargo- She is the best part of what is an amazing show and I would love to see her win especially as a new comer 
Ellen Burstyn, Flowers in the Attic
Julia Roberts, The Normal Heart

*Allison Tolman should be proud to see her name listed alongside the rest of these incredible and long working actresses. Even if she doesn’t win that in itself is an accomplishment.

Guest Actor, Drama
Paul Giamatti, Downton Abbey- I rather enjoyed him as Cora’s rich American brother all the dads were creepily trying to set their daughters up with 
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Reg E. Cathey, House of Cards- He had a good story this season, but don’t know if it holds up along some of the others 
Robert Morse, Mad Men
Beau Bridges, Masters of Sex- His side story is probably one of my favorite parts of this show. I love how he plays Scully with a mix of pathos, self loathing, and denial 
Joe Morton, Scandal

Guest Actress, Drama
Margo Martindale, The Americans
Diana Rigg, Game of Thrones
Kate Mara, House of CardsHow’d she manage this nom seeing as…you know…
Allison Janney, Masters of Sex- The best part of the show by far. Margaret Scully’s self discovery and transformation are what make me come back to this show again and again. More than anything I would love to see Janney win 
Jane Fonda, Newsroom- Jane Fonda was on Newsroom??
Kate Burton, Scandal

Guest Actor, Comedy
Bob Newhart, The Big Bang Theory
Nathan Lane, Modern Family
Steve Buscemi, Portlandia
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night LiveYES. I literally could not stop laughing for this entire episode. Especially when JT was playing Jimmy and Jimmy couldn’t stop laughing
Louis C.K., Saturday Night Live
Gary Cole, Veep

Guest Actress, Comedy
Natasha Lyonne, Orange Is the New Black-She is my favorite character on this show, so happy to see her nominated 
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black- If I was Aduba I wouldn’t worry if I lost this year, her performance in season 2 was even better
Laverne Cox, Orange Is the New Black- It’s so hard seeing these three OITNB  actresses nominated against each other because I want them all to win
Tina Fey, Saturday Night LiveI don’t remember watching Tina on SNL this season but I’m sure she was great
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Joan Cusack, Shameless

There are plenty of other nominations including categories like “Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming” (Go Anthony Bourdain and Parts Unknown) and “Outstanding Animated Program” (which reminds me I have to catch up on Archer), but here is where I end. Until the August 25th I will be finishing Fargo and 30 Rock (finally) while continually contemplating what show to start next.

Track by Track: Ultraviolence

Don’t ask me what it is, but I have a soft spot  for Lana Del Rey. I remember hearing “Video Game” and “Summertime Sadness” when they first came out and thinking that nothing on the radio sounded remotely similar. She is a performer in the way of Marina Diamandis of Marina and the Diamonds: a talented singer able to put on a persona that makes fun of the music she’s making while selling it at the same time. She has a “good girl gone bad”/ “I-don’t-play-by-the-rules” vibe which has gained her both supporters and haters alike. When the track list for Ultraviolence was released articles and social media sites sprung up both criticizing her choices (Rolling Stone called them “absurd”) and praising her for her unique edge. I loved each title and have had the the single “West Coast” on repeat since it was released.

I have been looking forward to this album, Ultraviolence, which was released last week on June 13th, but I am only getting around to listening to in full now. If you don’t like Lana you probably never will, but for those of us who want to celebrate summer with an album that sounds like it comes out of a 1950’s soundtrack, this is just what we’ve been waiting for.

1. Cruel World

There’s no doubt Lana’s voice sounds good on this song in a haunting and faraway way, but I’m not sure if this is the strongest song to start the album off with. Then again, when it was over it still lingered in my head. I think all of Lana’s songs warrant more than one listen because they are so complex especially once you really take time to listen to the lyrics.

2. Ultraviolence 

This song is one of those typical Lana songs that is much deeper than it appears on the surface, although the title does give it away a little more than usual. I love the way she drags out the singing of the word “Ultraviolence.” This song feels slick and dangerous which I think is appropriate considering the subject matter (“He hurt me but it felt like true love”/”He hit me and it felt like a kiss”).

Favorite line: He used to call me DN/That stood for deadly nightshade/Cause I was filled with poison/But blessed with beauty and rage

3. Shades of Cool LDR

I can imagine girls in poodle skirts and guys in bowling shirts slow dancing to this song in a high school gymnasium straight out of the 1950’s. That’s what I love so much about Lana’s music, she paints a picture with each song that you can clearly visualize upon listening. The song may be slow, but there’s a good beat and an awesome section with an electric guitar. There may be a vulnerability in her voice in this song more than her others, but there is still that feeling that this girl is someone you don’t want to mess with.

4. Brooklyn Baby

This song sounds most like the Lana I know and love. It’s half ode, half mockery of Brooklyn, the place that has become synonymous with hipsters, $5 coffee, and microbreweries. I can tell that this will be one of the songs I listen to most frequently this summer besides “West Coast” and that’s mostly just because I live in California now.

Favorite lines: Yeah my boyfriend’s pretty cool/But he’s not as cool as me/Cause I’m a Brooklyn Baby

5. West Coast

I have been listening to this song since it was released and so far it is my favorite on the album. Maybe it’s because I’m a west coast girl now and this song fits so well with my image of driving around Los Angeles, especially on the way out of the city and heading to the beach. (Mostly Venice Beach that is.) It’s most definitely a sexy song and I enjoy the sprinkling of Spanish lyrics.

Favorite lines: Down on the West Coast, they got their icons/Their silver starlets, their Queens of Saigon/And you’ve got the music, you’ve got the music in you, don’t you?

6. Sad Girl

The way this track list is going so far these could be chapters in my autobiography.

tumblr_mgeztjVnYI1rm50ceo1_r1_400

After the high of “West Coast”, “Sad Girl” is a little bit of a let down. I am actually having trouble thinking of anything to say about it and when it ended I forgot it. It’s okay, most albums have one of these and who knows, maybe when I listen to the album through again (as soon as I’m done with this post) it may grow on me.

7. Pretty When You Cry

This song is an interesting look at a relationship. Rather than the typical “girl love boy, boy loves someone else” it’s “girl loves boy, boy loves drugs more.” And while the girl loves the boy, she also seems okay with knowing she’s weak and that the relationship is toxic. It’s a subject that could become un-relatable , but Lana takes it to that place of “girl, I’ve been there too.”

Favorite lines:  I’m pretty when I cry/Don’t say you need me when/You leave and you leave again/I’m stronger than all my men/Except for you

8. Money Power Glory 

A lot of people dislike Lana’s music because they feel she is untalented and only after fame. I like how she uses this song to acknowledge that she knows what people think and doesn’t care. She’s making a statement about the lifestyle she supposedly represents and what it says about our culture. I feel like this song could be a response to Lorde’s “Royals”; we may never be royals, but deep down we all want the same things.

9. Fucked My Way to the Top

Another self aware song, but this one is more in your face and fun. Love her or hate this is Lana’s show and we are all just  a part of it. The opening line alone (which happens to be my favorite) shows that she knows it’s all a game. One she truly knows how to play. (She is famous after all.)

Favorite lines: Life is awesome, I confess/What I do, I do best/You got nothing, I got tested/And I’m best, yes

10. Old Money

I love the sound of this song, the piano, the stripped down layered vocals, the sadness. Compared to the last two songs which were all about recognizing and celebrating her persona, this song seems the most personal and real. Or as real as we can get with Lana. She is still painting a picture, but it is one we can related to much more closely than her world of “dope and diamonds” from “Money Power Glory.”

11. The Other Woman

I have seen it quoted that Lana describes herself as “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” and when I heard this song I understood why. I could see this being in a Tarantino film, even though I have a feeling he’s not a Lana fan (don’t ask me why). It’s the shortest of the songs on the album and a breath of fresh air.

12.Black Beauty 

Another swaying song. This sounds more commercial than the typical Lana, but that’s not a bad thing. This album has a lot of different sounds while still maintaining her overall vibe.

Favorite lines: Life is beautiful but you don’t have a clue/Sun and ocean blue/Their magnificence, it don’t make sense to you

13. Guns and Roses

Another good groovy song with a nice beat. The lyrics are not as complex as some of the other songs, but not every one of them has to be a master piece. Sometimes you just need a song celebrating guys who love guns and roses. (And maybe the band too.)

Favorite lines: I should’ve learned to let you play/I wasn’t the marryin’ kind/I should’ve done it anyway

14. Florida Kilos 

I love the way this song starts out, it sounds so different from everything we’ve heard so far. It’s another song that paints a picture of the glamours fast life of drugs and money. I can almost picture what the video of this song might look like if it happens: awash in gold with lots of palm trees, convertibles, and Lana wearing killer shades and curls.

Note: There are 2 songs, one on the i-Tunes bonus version and one on the Japanese bonus version, that I have not listened to. I only listened to what is currently streaming on spotify.

Summer ’14, I’m ready for you.

giphy2

A Little More Personal: California Girl

It has been a little over a  month since my big move from New York to California. (If you want to read more about my roadtrip to get here and all the adventures along the way check out my short lived travel blog.)

It still feels so surreal, most days I can’t believe I’m actually here. Besides London and Paris, Los Angeles is a place I have dreamed about visiting for most of my life. And now I’m living here. And by living I mean couchsurfing because I don’t have an actual place of my own yet. All of my clothes are in the trunk of my car. I get dressed by the side of the road half the time and I’m pretty sure that everyone in the neighborhood thinks I’m homeless. (They wouldn’t be wrong.) But when I’m not freaking out about my lack of place to live and getting spammed by Craigslist creeps, I’m appreciating how lucky I am to have friends that will take in both me AND my roommate and a good chunk of our stuff. It’s been an adventure not only working, but also bouncing from place to place.

And yes, you read that right: I have been working! Not all the time/everyday, but enough to keep me happy and eating (which keeps me happy). I worked on the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon which will air in August and was the first show I have worked on for a really great cause. I also got to see Fall Out Boy perform and the 7th grader inside of me was very excited. I did one day on a dating game show pilot. And this past week has been the American Idol finale and preparations for next season. This upcoming week should see some time for me on the Last Comic Standing finale. It sounds cliche, but I do feel so #blessed for all of the opportunities I have had for work out here so far. As one of my friends put it:

“In order to get a job in L.A. you have to be here. You can’t sit in NY thinking about it, you just up and do it. And hope for the best and in your guys case so far so good.”

He’s right! And he’s a big reason my roommate and I came out here in the first place and the reason we had a place to live for a little while and jobs. I spent so much of my time saying “what if?” and for once in my life I am finally finding out.

Sure there have been bad days. I’ll admit I cried on set.  A lot of people saw the puffy faced aftermath. I had to call my mom from a bathroom stall. I still don’t have a place to live or a permanent job or a date of when I will go home next. I miss my family and friends immensely. But I also really love it here. The good days are really good. I have new (mostly fellow production assistant) friends. I have gone hiking almost every weekend and I have gone to the beach twice and only gotten really badly sunburned one of those times. I am finding my way around places. I am learning to drive like everyone else which is to say crazily, but safely.  I thank my lucky stars for all the time I spent on the Long Island Expressway because as much as I hate that highway with all my being, it prepared me for the traffic and the assholes. (The “He who hesitates is lost” rule my dad always preaches is definitely in effect when driving ANYWHERE in L.A.)

crazy animated GIF

Don’t ask me why everyone drives so crazy in L.A. or why there is SO MUCH TRAFFIC ALL THE TIME. There are a lot of things about this place that confuse me. Like why every town has streets with the same name. There is an Alameda Street and an Olive Ave and a Beverly Boulevard EVERYWHERE. I don’t know how people get anywhere or end up in the same place. Other things I find funny about this place? How everyone (or almost everyone I’ve met) has a script in progress. Or the fact that I’ve done more juice runs than Starbucks runs. Or that there no Dunkin Donuts and the only places you can get “a slice” are New York style pizzerias and people there haven’t heard of things like Buffalo chicken pizza. Believe me, I could go on all day about the east coast/west coast divide.

For now, however, I am just taking it one day at a time and trying to let it all sink in. There are still so many things I want to do (like go to the LACMA and Griffith Park Observatory and the El Capitan theater) and food I want to try (like every taco truck and Korean BBQ) and shows I want to work on (like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Top Chef and the Emmy Awards) so it looks like I am here to stay (for the time being). If you want to imagine what I am doing between this post and my next one picture me scouring Craigslist for an apartment, waiting for game 7 to see who my NY Rangers will be facing in the Stanley Cup, and working my butt off to find the next gig (and the next gig and the gig after that).

Until then, here’s another California post ending song:

Wonderful: ‘Once Upon a Time’ 3.20-3.22

I am going to come right out and say it: the season 3 finale ‘Snow Drifts’ and ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ are my favorite episodes of Once Upon a Time to date. They had everything I love about this show: Fairy tale characters! Royal balls! True Love! Plot twists! New baddies (?) revealed in the best way possible! I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time…except for that one moment near the end when The Character We All Knew Would Screw Things Up was revealed. I knew from the moment this episode opened with the world’s cutest Outlaw Queen date night that something terrible was going to happen to Robin  Hood and it did…just not in the way I expected. Besides, I was so swept up in the magic and spectacle of the whole episode I forgot that feeling of foreboding and everyone knows the second you let your guard down in OUAT that is when things start to go awry.

That is how the beginning of the episode gets you too, ‘Snow Drifts’ starts out so normal and ordinary that I almost forgot it was the season finale. Everyone was at Granny’s (even Katherine (??) and Ruby) to hear the announcement of the Royal Baby name with more secrecy and press than Kate and Will’s. I honestly thought he was just going to be called Leo and that would be the end of it. Then Emma runs towards the giant firenado and things start to go down. Of course Emma and Hook are the one’s to be transported back in time because of Zelena’s curse, but I was okay with that. It was better than the whole town going and everything happening all over again like I thought it would. Oh can we talk about that curse? Apparently that pendant was SUPER flawed because even after Zelena was killed by Rumple her slime/spirit was still able to make moves and enact the curse. Who would put all their their trust in such a faulty piece of jewelry? Seems a little flawed to me. Also, Rumple tells Belle he trusts her completely and then lie proposes to her using a fake dagger. Not cool Dark One. I have a feeling that little lie is going to cost him down the line. It also tainted what otherwise would have been a lovely finale ending wedding. Side note: why was no one but Belle’s dad invited to the wedding? Doesn’t Belle have friends in Storybrooke? Why keep things on the DL? Also, what gives Dr. Hopper the power to marry people?

The whole idea of the finale and sending Emma and Hook back in time was wonderful because we got to see what we have been waiting to see for three whole seasons: Emma as a princess. I didn’t know how much I really needed to see that until this very episode. But more than that it was the story of Emma discovering where she belongs and finally realizing what True Love really looks like in more than one form. Seeing these adorable moments of Snow and Charming’s first meetings made me delighted all over again, but the best part was seeing Emma seeing them and interfering in a very Back to the Future type way. I was honestly worried for a moment when she had the ring that Charming was going to develop the hots for her.

But no, after Emma messes up the way her parents meet (the first time) she spends the rest of the episode scrambling around in Enchanted Forest appropriate clothing trying to make things right including a truly hilarious scene where she has to seduce/distract past Hook and present Hook gets jealous and knocks him out.

Then of course there’s the ball where Emma learns how to waltz perfectly in the shortest amount of time possible before getting herself arrested for helping Snow and insulting Regina. She ends up in the dungeon with a character who mysteriously won’t reveal her name which let’s you know she’s a Character Here Just to Mess Things Up. But Emma being the dim witted hero she is decides to not only save the mystery woman, but also take her back to Storybrooke. I don’t know, with all these  people who just show up in Storybrooke and end up being major baddies you think they would learn by now not to trust anyone. But it turns out she is not a major baddie, just Maid Marion. I was under the impression Marion died because she was sick. I guess that was wrong because right after the world’s cutest scene of Regina holding Roland’s hand and kissing Robin outside Granny’s Marion is reintroduced to her husband who promptly forgets Regina exists.  This poor woman can’t catch a break, especially seeing as she just got her heart back. It will be interesting to see what happens with this storyline next season, but something also tells me that Marion won’t last very long.

Another favorite scene of mine was Emma telling Rumpelstiltskin the truth behind what happened to Neal. I thought it was one of Jennifer Morrison’s best acted scenes of the season. She manages to pretend to be getting sucked back into the magic CGI portal all while crying and yelling at the Dark One to let Neal die a hero regardless of how much they both love him. Speaking of the dearly departed, we got to see another cute past-Emma-in-glasses and Neal scene on what seemed to be one of their first dates. I miss that Emma and Neal. And in yet another surprise the Charmings name their son not Leo, but Prince Neal which is cute and a little weird all at the same time. (And yes I did get choked up during that scene especially at Rumple’s silent nod in recognition.)

Even with all of those scenes, the best part of the episode had to be the very end when the weird gold container spilled and blue liquid started oozing out. As soon as it started harding into an icy form I started yelling “yessssss” at my computer because I just knew. Seeing the gloves and then the the cape and finally THAT BRAID made me squee with joy because even though Frozen isn’t my favorite film I love how OUAT incorporates new Disney characters into the show. Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis sure know what they’re doing. So the big question is will Elsa be next season’s big bad? And will Anna show up? Just please no talking snowmen.

I can’t wait for next season, they left us with just enough cliffhangers while tying up the whole Oz storyline. It looks like Arendell may be next. (If that’s the case be prepared for posts titled with the names of Frozen songs.) Until season 4 starts I’m going to be replaying Elsa’s intro in my head along with that truly giddy making  Hook/Emma courtyard kiss. (Sighhhh at the way he touches her chin.)

One last thing: now that Once Upon a Time is over I promise there will be more reviews of varying nature on this blog. However, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing about the magic, ridiculousness, and camp of one of my favorite fangirl shows.

Final Words

  • Seriously, does Henry ever go to school? What grade should the kid be in now?
  • Does Emma really not know how Hook got his hook? Does she know the backstory between Hook and NEAL’S MOM? (Weird.)
  • I really thought Emma was going to go with Prince Diana, but Princess Leia is SO. MUCH. BETTER.
  • I like how Ruby shows up, does her wolf thing and then disappears for episodes
  • Why did they mention the fact that Aurora is no longer a flying monkey. That has to mean something…
  • Josh and Ginnifer are going to make such good parents

Favorite lines:

  • Emma: What is he going to do? I have magic, he has one hand! (3.20)
  • Hook: One of these days I’m going to stop chasing that woman. (3.21)
  • Hook: Any idea how to get back to the future? Emma: Who do I look like, Marty McFly? Hook: Was he some sort of wizard? (3.21)
  • Hook: What are you doing? You’re depriving me from a dashing rescue. Emma: Sorry, but the only one that saves me is me. (3.22)