Friday, March 23, 2012

Big Boobs and Business

I finally had my chance, the opportunity I had been waiting for.

"Angelyne, may I get a picture with you?"

The Legendary Fixture of Hollywood was all business. "Sure," she replied, "if you buy one of my tee shirts."

I had already seen her a few times in the Hollywood neighborhood where I work, right near Sunset and Vine. Most of the time I will see her conspicuous, Barbie-pink Corvette parked outside of the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Once, she even waved to me from the Pepto-Bismol 'vette when we passed each other on Hollywood Blvd. I assumed it was because she thought my wee little smartcar, all Tweety Bird yellow, was as cute and candy-colored as her distinctive ride.

So, I was prepared. I usually get a triple shot espresso at CBTL before rehearsal or a work out. I knew it would only be a matter of time before bumping into her again.

Angelyne led me outside to her famous car parked at a meter. She opened the trunk which contained stacks of white cotton tee shirts, all printed with her image. She charges $20 for a shirt and a photo.

I only had $19 in my wallet. "Can I borrow a dollar?" I asked Amanda. Fortunately, my coworker was with me at the time - she took the photo for me with my phone's camera. Amanda is young enough to be my daughter. She had no idea who this brightly colored, drag-queen-like woman was.

"I'll give it to you for $19," Angelyne told me, "since you were so nice and asked me politely."

Angelyne had a cameo in one of my favorite guilty pleasures from the 80's, "Earth Girls are Easy." So, I was thrilled to get both a photo and a souvenir tee shirt for such a bargain. Angelyne is a living icon from that particular and favorite decade of mine.

Why is she so iconic and famous? (at least to middle-aged and older folks). People mostly know her from her pin-up style poses on giant billboards in the same Hollywood neighborhood. I remember reading an article where Angelyne claimed to be famous for absolutely nothing.

I also remember reading that she had claimed to be Marilyn Monroe's body double in films. If that's true, that would make Angelyne - when did Marilyn die? 50 years ago? - in her 70's, at least.

She looks it, too, despite the obvious face lift . . .s. But, surprisingly, she looks a lot better up close than I had expected. I'm a bit disappointed that she chose to cover part of her face in the photo, but the woman sure knows how to pose and showcase the most of her considerable assets.

Despite her advanced age, Angelyne also knows how to stay current and fashionable. While spotting her around Tinsel Town in recent years, I have seen contemporary adaptations to her trademark Barbie doll outfits, including bright pink Uggs.

The trunk of her Barbie 'vette also contained a rubber purse that was in the shape of a chicken. I had seen the same purse on the new Asian pop channel, Mnet, featured as a recent and trendy item of fashion.

"Cluck, cluck, cluck" Angelyne chanted as she opened the purse for me to place my nineteen dollars in. "Give a buck, give a buck, give a buck."

Hmm. What else rhymes with 'cluck?'

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Seasons in the Sun

There is joy.

Last night was the closing night for "Geeks! The Musical!" I have loved and enjoyed playing a wannabe goth kid as part of the geek chorus ensemble, singing and dancing through various fictional scenes at the Comic Con.

There is so much joy in rehearsals for "Hairspray," watching young folks dance and sing in various numbers. I wish I were still young enough to be one of them. Instead, I have four brief but distinct moments on stage in my role as the Male Authority Figure, playing a flamboyant dress shop owner, a stern school principal, a gruff prison guard, and a prissy president of a hairspray company.

There is pain. The community of theatre friends on facebook are mourning the loss of a beloved friend who took his life this past weekend. I didn't know Johnny B. that well. It's been over two decades since we were last in a Disney show together. I saw him in recent years, working out at 24 Hour Fitness, or walking along Sunset Blvd. near my job in Hollywood. Johnny was tall, good looking, and talented. He had played many leading man roles. More recently, he had been performing in a national tour of Mama Mia.

To someone like me, looking in from the outside, Johnny seemed to have everything. What was he going through? What led him to the decision to end his life?

There is more sadness. We lost one of our pugs, recently. Prudence had been steadily deteriorating in dementia. She wasn't the same dog anymore. She didn't even want fresh chicken, anymore, the pre-bedtime treat that she and our other pug always get. I read about the loss of other beloved pets on facebook. A Disney friend is losing her golden retriever to cancer, so her family is making every day his best day for as long as they can, taking him to the beach, feeding him steak, and putting the top down for open-air car rides.

Two weeks ago I went to the memorial service for the father of one of my school friends. A close friend in England, whom I'll see this summer at another reunion, is watching as her mother loses a battle to cancer. I feel we are at that age, that it's just part of being middle-aged, watching more friends have to survive and cope with losing a parent.

Queen's song, Who Wants to Live Forever, keeps playing through my mind.

Despite that, I keep telling myself that we must remember the joy. It has been harder to do so on some days, especially this past week, and yet, I feel it cannot and should not be denied.

(The photo above is from the night that Bubba Brent and BFF Kathy - two high school band geek friends with whom I have bonded for life - came to a performance of "Geeks!" along with Domestic Partner. Joy!)