Well, my anniversary week is coming to an end. For those of you who need to play catch up, I have been celebrating my 6 years of living in Bacchanalia...or some people prefer calling it Los Angeles.
All week I've been revisiting J. Nicole Brooks circa 2004, fresh off the boat from the old world Chicago. I was armed with hope and determination to change the world. One headshot at a time.
I used to visit the ocean, a lot. When Rusty Schwimmer picked me up at LAX the very first thing we did was go to Playa del Rey with a bottle of champagne and giggled, because I was embarking upon a new adventure. If it weren't for Rusty, I'm pretty sure I would have packed up my bags a long time ago. She was among the first to tell me how awful things were going to be living here. And she was right. I've encountered all kinds of heartache and misfortune. Most of it funny, in hindsight. Here are some of my favorite mental breakdowns:
SLICK'S TOP FIVE FUCKED UP MOMENTS IN LA
1. Riding the bus from West LA to Hollywood to hang with friends. On that bus ride of terror I encountered a man with projectile vomit, and a tranny with dirty feet. Traumatized, I wept for days on end, would shutter at the sound of hearing Spanish being spoken, and wondered why the fuck I moved to the 5th circle of hell.
2. After sneaking away from work, to drive across town for an audition, I was pulled over by a CHiP and subsequently had my car ticketed and towed for expired tags. I was left on Venice boulevard with no money and a fist full of tears. Thankfully Rusty "The Worlds Greatest Jew" Schwimmer saved my ass.
3. My first meeting with a theatrical agent consisted of him looking me over like a Sudanese leper with one titty. His disdain for me was abundant, but he pretended to be nice. His interest perked when he asked me about another actress' (Linara Washington--a dear friend and superb talent) career. He was clearly smitten by her, yet continued to treat me like overweight Toni Collette without makeup. He asked me about where she trained, who repped her, and if I could connect the two. He didn't even bother asking me if I wanted to sleep with him. A total waste of time.
4. After 9 months of living in LA as a single woman, a man finally asked me out on a date! But the knuckle head showed up, and conveniently "forgot his wallet". Sorry asshole, pussy don't come that easy.
5. My first year here, I couldn't afford to go home for Thanksgiving. No restaurants were open, and I didn't have any dinner invites. So my then roommate and I got really stoned, ordered cheeseburgers from Lucy's on Pico Blvd and watched a King of the Hill marathon. The worst part? The mothafuckers forgot the cheese on my burger. Nobody, I mean NOBODY eats hamburgers!
As I continue to run across old journals, cards of encouragement, photographs, bus passes and check stubs I revel with glee. I'm still not where I'd like to be, but I'm still not done fighting either. Friends have become engaged, married, divorced and have kids. Have cute little homes, drive cars with transmissions, and can afford to shop in one grocery store. Sometimes I wonder if I've missed that boat. But I just keep thinking about Lucille Ball and how she didn't "make it" until she was nearly 40 years old. On screen she was a clown--a true performer. But in private, she was classy and demanded respect.
So as I don lace gloves and peel back this can of tuna for dinner, I realize that I am very much like Madame Ball. And depending on the weave I'm wearing, I too can be a funny red head, with class.
So raise your mason jars to the worlds next Sudanese one titty-ed leper comedienne :
J. NICOLE BROOKS
ciao for now fuckas!
next blog: HOW BOMBS ARE CONNECTED TO DEATH.