I didn’t go to Dubai. The trip was cancelled at the last minute on Thursday, moments after I had pulled my passport from the desk drawer and made a list of everything I had to get done before the flight on Saturday. I had a feeling that would happen, since it’s happened before: some big company decides to do a shoot at the last minute, then realizes how much money their silly idea is going to cost and finally decides to abort. I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed, as it would have been great to have seen that part of the world. And God knows I need the money.
Today is Memorial Day here in the U.S.A., a day to honor our fallen heroes. I suppose some Americans somewhere do, but most of us just get drunk and Bar-be-cue for three days. (So it’s like any other weekend but three days instead of two). The traffic in Venice has suddenly become terrible, long lines of cars crammed with people trying to find parking somewhere, anywhere. There’s a gas station next door to my building that sells parking spots. In the morning the sign reads “seven dollars” but my mid-afternoon it’s up to twenty bucks. Of course, after waiting in traffic for an hour people will probably do anything to get rid of their car and get to the beach, which is one of the last places around that is still free.
In other news, I went to the premiere of the movie “Badasss” the other night. Mario Van Peeble’s film about his dad Melvin, the godfather of black independent cinema. The screening was at the old Egyptian theater in Hollywood, a great venue, and the packed house loved the film, despite its mediocrity. It’s a good story, about one man who never gave up on his vision or his passion for movies despite many obstacles in his path, and I couldn’t help but be inspired. But the movie itself was quite corny in style, and Mario Van Peebles, playing his own father, never missed the opportunity to take his shirt off. I can only wonder if that was a character trait of his dad or his own choice. Regardless, the audience gave Melvin and the film a standing ovation, which seemed to say to me that it doesn’t always matter if the films themselves are good or bad, the fact that they got made is an accomplishment alone. I can definitely relate to that.