Mirror Game Premier

Cybil, Olivia and Melody play a video game with real-life consequences. “Playing With The Big Boys” is a multi-player game designed to teach women how to “make it in a man’s world.” The “man’s world” is a Silicon Valley gaming company. It rewards toxic masculinity while challenging the women with an onslaught of casual and overt misogyny through Tony, the manager and Rohm, the CEO. Cybil, inspired by disgraced Theranos CEO, Elizabeth Holmes, is determined to win at any cost. She constructs an elaborate lie to win the game, but finds it comes at great cost.

Overtly, you could view the women’s journey as a cautionary tale warning women to beware ambition. Yet, beneath the surface lies an allegory that aims to indict the systems that oppress and objectify women and celebrate toxic masculinity.

Silicon Valley, Hollywood, Washington D.C., corporate America–each system fails our culture. The media they produce and the ways they function, strangle innovation and imagination in favor of a brutal and cruel kind of capitalism.

In terms of Mirror Game and the central theme, the phrase, “It’s not personal, it’s capitalism,” is no more than an excuse for bad behavior that negatively impacts both the worker and the consumer, and eventually the one at the top.

As an aside, I encourage everyone, if you haven’t, to check out The 1619 Project. It draws a direct link from slavery to our modern economic systems.

Ultimately, one hopes a piece can speak for itself and that the ideas don’t weigh too heavily on it. Any artistic endeavor, particularly one as collaborative as new opera, must offer the very talented artists it assembles space to articulate their experience. Above all else, this piece must allow the audience member the freedom to discover it and perhaps enjoy it on the way. 

More James Ellroy than La La Land

teacup-2325722_1280Everybody who lives in Los Angeles seems to love it. I have yet to meet an exception. Even my cynical friends confess their undying attachment to it. It’s their everlasting commitment to the Entertainment industry, that abusive boyfriend of careers. Good looking, arrogant, James Dean bad boy, aloof, yet occasionally interested, the Entertainment industry holds people in its spell. No matter how much it rejects them, they run back whenever it calls.

A town too small, yet too big. In love with itself yet too insecure to appreciate anything new borne from its womb. Unless an artist receives approval from New York or other competitors, she does not exist. Sounds like sour grapes, but it’s just an observation. Ask Mark Ruffalo. Nobody worked harder than he to get representation in this town, one man shows, dozens of mailings, tireless networking. Then he goes to New York, has one good show and L.A. clambers over itself to get to him. One agent asked him, “Where have you been? Why haven’t we heard of you?”

As any true narcissist, L.A. gazes upon itself in full loving adoration and calls anything the establishment does as good. The L.A. Times regularly bathes the L.A. Opera, the Mark Taper Forum, and The L.A. Philharmonic with glowing reviews. I often wonder if that dude even goes to see the shows. La La Land swept up awards not because it deserved to, but because it was a love letter to the industry.

Once, as I exited the freeway and stopped at the light I saw a young guy with long brown hair and a stoney expression. He held a sign that read, “Musician. Hate L.A. Trying to get out. Please help.” I don’t know how effective that was, but it was the only time I saw anyone openly admit to hating L.A..

I attended dozens of industry parties when I first arrived here nearly ten years ago. I found I had two things to offer, well one really, fucking. Gross, I know. But this is a gross city and I didn’t have a career or a body of work to offer anyone. Just a body. Once somebody assessed that I wasn’t important enough, sexy enough, or young enough to help them, they’d be on their way, eyes darting around the room, hunting.

I almost dated a gorgeous guy with a million dollar smile until I found out he lived in a bedroom in someone’s house so he could lease a brand new BMW and pay for acting and writing classes. He wasn’t even good.

That’s L.A..

Miranda Frum wrote a piece about how a hypnotist to the stars helped her quit smoking in The Daily Beast this week. She’s a model with a famous journalist father. Frum gets her opportunities the way most people in L.A. get them, nepotism and looks. Just read her pieces in The Beast and you’ll agree. It’s like Tom Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson. I read a piece of her’s in Vogue once and nearly fell asleep four sentences in. Writing isn’t easy folks. Take a course. Oh, but she did. I worked at a screenwriting training facility to the stars 12 years ago where she received private tutoring. Have you seen anything she’s written?

Frum loves L.A.. In the article she writes about cerulean skies and perfect cloudless days. The hypnotist charges $800 for an in person session. There’s the option to stream him online for $9.99. She chose the $9.99 option for obvious reasons, right? Because she doesn’t have $800 to spend on a single session, right? No, she chose it because she didn’t want to drive the 45 minutes from Hollywood to Santa Monica. In the end, however, she makes the drive and visits the dude and is now living a charmed smoke free life writing on her glorious balcony and drinking her Ayurvedic tea.

That’s L.A.

My L.A. is more James Ellroy than La La Land. “You hate it so much, why don’t you leave?” You ask. What’s the alternative, New York? I don’t know the answer. I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. No, that’s not true. I want to be a writer. I just don’t know how to be it.

Tip Out Head

Everything’s been a little ish lately. My head is a sieve. My sense of direction is like a bat whose lost her homing device. That’s it. No homing device. I was late to the vet. Because I hate the vet. Because Chloe hates the vet. Everyone hates going to the doctor. But not everyone loses hair. And she loses hair she will not grow back. I was late to a job interview…a good one…so there’s no real excuse there.

But I am not becoming. And working in jobs I hate is no longer an excuse. Now I must face the greater obstacle. Me. And there it stops. The wall. I am the wall I cannot see around. I am the world I cannot step beyond.

I moved out to Los Angeles to shake loose my thoughts and tip out my head, that heavy thing filled with muddy waters and tiny rooms. Sunlight, lots of sunlight, I thought, might burn away the dreck weighing down my body. Instead I found the blinding sun didn’t purify, it scorched. I looked for a dark hole and retreated. Outside there was so much dust and sorrow.

I got stuck in many jobs I hated. As I was stuck in my head. See previous post. But I’m free now. And I’ve got to stop sabotaging it. See previous post. That post I wrote could follow me, if I don’t take it down. I should. I want to keep working in the beauty industry. Yesterday’s interview was for a beauty line I like a lot.

But more than anything, I want to develop a writing life. And to do that, I need to write out the immediate stuff. The stuff swirling around in me right now in order to get past it and write better stuff. Every writer goes through mediocre periods. What was it I heard Prince once say? “When you write as much as I do, not all of it’s going to be great.” See, that took balls. It took heart. It took demons to write like he wrote. It also took a vault. He never knew what he might use in the future. So, this blog is my vault. The difference between us; even his mediocre is better than everybody else’s.

I can get better. But only if I write all the time. So, forgive me. I’m going to be mediocre. And angry. There’s a lot of anger in this swirling pool inside my head. So, you may be subject to that as well. I’ve managed to keep it at bay for the last year or so, but I’m opening the flood gates, because good artists are not careful artists.

For those of you who prefer fun, funny, carefree reading. That won’t be this. Even my cat fiction is dark. I’m about to kill off my favorite cat in a cat dungeon at the hands of cat torturers. Maybe. Maybe not. Anyway, that was my first instinct, which usually means there’s a better one out there.

The featured image for this post is obviously Psycho. Hitchcock was great. And prolific. Can anyone tell me of a time when his prolificacy got in the way of his greatness? I thought not. Well, shoot for the stars, get the moon. Or a bird. As Tippi Hedren did.

I’ll stop now.

 

 

 

Breaking News: Auguste Rodin Hides Out In Los Angeles

municipal_artLos Angeles hides her secrets well, especially on a quiet Thursday in July. Atop a hill, facing the Hollywood sign sits Barnsdall Park, an unassuming place often taken for granted by those who know it and invisible to those who don’t. A thick canopy of trees shades walkways and tiny wrought iron tables and chairs perfect for a picnic for two. There’s a theatre, a building where kids learn how to paint, and its crown jewel, the Los Angeles Municipal Arts Museum Gallery—a cumbersome name for such an elegant and modern space. Continue reading “Breaking News: Auguste Rodin Hides Out In Los Angeles”