Week 32: When one door closes…

I decided for this week’s trip to take Southwest to LA, and thanks to the genius Wright Amendment here in Dallas, I had to go through San Antonio. As luck would have it, San Antonio was experiencing severe thunderstorms and flooding so I got to land and take off in that weather. Thank you, Congressman Wright.

I only had two goals for the day: lunch with my friend Page and watching David Beckham’s debut with the LA Galaxy. I was able to accomplish both easily and effortlessly. Page lives about 10 minutes from LAX so I called him as soon as I landed and set a time for lunch at a restaurant called Piknic right around the corner from him. I love this place because they have the most superb sweet potato fries. After lunch, Page and I spent some time chatting and getting caught up since we hadn’t seen each other in close to 2 months.

From Page’s I was off to Santa Monica to watch the Galaxy game at a sports bar called Yankee Doodles’s on the 3rd Street Promenade. Long time readers of these travelogues will recognize the Promenade as my time waster of choice thanks to its ample shopping and outdoor setting. Before the game, I stopped by the Adidas store to grab a David Beckham t-shirt. The Galaxy game was against English powerhouse Chelsea and since both teams are dressed by Adidas, the store was plastered with Chelsea and Galaxy kits. I failed to mention one of Chelsea’s kits is BRIGHT yellow, almost green, coupled with their royal blue kits and the white, blue and gold of the Galaxy’s new kits, my eyes were under severe duress.

I had a small wait for a table at Doodle’s so I waited in the bar where I met a lovely couple from the UK. The guy asked me if I was interested in soccer, which I said yes, and then he said he didn’t see what all the fuss was about for Beckham. I told him that the US was different as most people gravitate towards his celebrity, looks, wife, etc, while soccer fans will appreciate what he is trying to accomplish by bringing attention to the game here in America. I asked him if he was a Chelsea fan and he scoffed at the thought telling me he’s “Tottenham Spurs all the way!” and toasting my water with his pint. When my table was ready I wished him well and was off to watch the game and eat dinner. Surprisingly, the place was crowded like normal, but with more people interested in the Galaxy game than the 2 baseball games on neighboring big screens. So much so that the bar cheered when Beckham entered the game in the 72nd minute.

Stuffed from my chipotle chicken wrap and with Beckham shirt in hand, I headed to Glendale to stay with my friend Todd and his wife Catherine. Todd is shooting a pilot this weekend so we watched some of the footage they shot and I can’t wait to see the finished piece. Just some really gorgeous stuff.

Today, I had the rare treat of sleeping in before heading to class. The first half of class was dedicated to Craig leading group assessments of each of us in what he affectionately referred to as “the chair of judgement”. The way it worked was one of us would go up and sit in the chair next to Craig, he would invite comments from the group and then add his own which was then followed by what that person needed to work on. Craig praised me for being the grounding force of the group, being a good listener, bringing serenity and patience to my work. My classmates noted I have the rare skill to stand still and allow an uncomfortable silence to build then deliver a single, powerul line, that I bring speceficity to my work, and I appear intellectual and commanding. I was told to work on “losing it” on stage and allowing myself to get really pissed and/or be loud and angry. Also, I am apparently way too humble. This went on for the 5 of us as Ellen was in Michigan. I really thought this was a good way to self-assess the work so far. We could tell each other what he loved about them and what we’d like to see them do. Nothing was ever negative and I credit Craig for making the entire Level 4 a completely safe enviroment and really bringing a positive vibe to the room every Sunday. I’m really going to miss working with him because I think we’ve done more as a group, and I can say I have individually done some of my best work under his direction. And now he’s gone…

(Quick aside: We started out with 15 people on Day 1 of Level 1, now we’re down to 6 and even the teacher has left. The irony is not lost on me.)

After our break, we worked on a couple of scene ideas and Craig revealed that our new teacher is going to be Holly Wartell. She handles the Montage workshop and if there had to be a replacement she’s one of the best ones for it. I’ve heard great stuff from her and 3 of the people in my class have taken her workshop so I’m anxious to see what it’s going to be like when Level 5 starts in 2 weeks.

After class it’s the same routine – drive to the airport, return my car and fly home, but this time it was with a short stop in Albuquerque. Man, the Wright Amendment is awesome.

I mentioned this just a few sentences ago, but I’m off next weekend. Then I will start preparing for the next 12 weeks which I can guarantee will be the most important 12 weeks of my life….

Miles Traveled: 2,748
Total Miles: 79,354

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