So to recap, Bad Kitty and I are in LA on a photo shoot for Turning Leaf wines. I did some blogging for them and they picked four bloggers to come to LA to be shot for an upcoming ad. An ad that I've since found out will be in Oprah and Real Simple and InTouch and More...and others.
We were picked for our writing skills not for our looks (which is awesomely awesome), but as it turns out, I will be representin' for all the plus-sized laydeez out there. Everyone else that I saw was model-riffic, especially the lovely Rebecca Woolf. Yeah, so, uh...(cringggge) REPRESENT!
Day one of the shoot found us on Abbot Kinney in Venice trying to get as many outdoor pics as possible because a storm was coming. We finished just as raindrops started to fall. We scrapped the planned beach shoot in Malibu because it was still raining, and spent day two of the shoot in a glass house perched on the edge of a canyon in the Brentwood hills.
We drove to Brentwood from Santa Monica in the pouring down rain with the world's most adorable photographer. Our talented, takes-pictures-of-real-famous-people photographer who was kind enough to pick us up on a stormy morning and who waited for us to get coffees and who the eff did we think we were anyway making her wait like that?
The house had its own guard house next to the privacy gate. As soon as we arrived at the house, the property manager greeted us at the door. He was practically grinding his teeth and twitching with nervousness as we stood outside getting soaked in the pouring rain (who designs a house without a covered entry way?) about to step inside with our soggy shoes.
Someone managed to blurt out, "Did you want us to remove our shoes?" to which he exhaled, "Yes." So we did and he relaxed slightly. We entered and went downstairs to the media room (projector screen bigger than my house) to put our stuff down, and by the time we went back upstairs, a veritable "yellow brick road" of towels, cardboard, carpet remnants, and mats had been laid down creating pathways all over the house. We were obviously not meant to stray from those paths.
As soon as people put down their cups on the kitchen counters, Property Manager was there to whisk them away, then quickly wipe up any residual condensation. "The counters are porous. They stain easily," he muttered, then went about his business stalking the photo shoot like only a crazy OCD-addled person could (or, you know, someone with an "LA kind of job" whose ass was constantly on the line).
I started poking around the house and the kitchen which was amazing albeit totally unusable. My attention was immediately drawn to the pasta pot-filling spigot over the stove. I always thought those were an absolutely brill idea. It was pushed back against the mirrored backsplash (see? these people don't cook) so I gingerly reached out to touch it. My intent was to loop a finger around the faucet to pull it towards me so I could photograph it, but instead of looping my finger around a solid metal piece it ended up around the faucet handle, and as I pulled it towards me, it turned on, thereby flooding the stove like so many waterfalls.
At that point, Bad Kitty disappeared faster than you can say, "Type-A Property Manager had a heart attack! Call 911!" I felt my butt cheeks clench in fear. I grabbed the first towel I could see and began sopping up the water. I looked around and didn't see Property Manager so I kept mopping up and wringing out, mopping up and wringing out until I heard, "Ummmm. What happened here?" from behind me.
"Oh, uh, the faucet. I was...and...it turned on. And so, cloth...wiping... and there," I wiped up the last drop and chirped. "Cleaner than when I started!" I handed him the cloth and got the fuck outta there.
After what seemed like hours, it was finally time for Bad Kitty and I to take our photos. I had to kneel and pretend to read some magazines. I had to come up and down stairs dozens of times. I had to throw fruit at Bad Kitty over and over again while she perched precariously at the top of the world's most dangerous flight of stairs. After a while, the house started smelling like a cross between an Illuminations and a Bed Bath and Beyond from all the crushed citrus.
A word about the stairs. And the house.
As I mentioned above, turns out were were in Fitty's old house. And it was hella gangsta. The house is was now owned by a conglomerate of folks who spend $2000 a week on staging the place. We know this because the owner stopped by and told us ALL about it. Ad nauseum. And on and on. All the abstraction expressionist/pop-rip-off art in the place was also on loan. ("You like? You want to buy? You leave me check.") It was Roy Lichtenstein knock-off followed by Frank Stella knock-off followed by Jeff Koons knock-off (though with Koons, how can you really tell?) followed by a bunch of LeRoy Neiman knock-off (I mean, really, isn't he knock-offy enough already?) paintings of celebrities. My inner art history major/Getty Museum-internee was cringing inside. I think FItty would have been cringing on the inside, too.
The house also had stairs every. freakin. where. Stairs with extra-sharp edges opening onto very hard marble floors. We heard that Tobey Macguire was looking at the house but he was worried about the stairs with his kids. AND RIGHTLY SO. You dodged a bullet Tobey, plus your kids were just one organic cranberry juice spill away from royally fucking up the kitchen counters.
As luck would have it, the next phase of the photo shoot had us at those same kitchen counters sipping wine and chopping vegetables. "Pretend cooking." I commented on the ubiquitous yellow pepper that is in every food-related magazine ad, and grabbed peppers and tomatoes and started chopping while the camera snapped.
"Be more whimsical! Have fun!" said World's Most Adorable Photographer.
So, with Journey blasting, I proceeded to make two cups out of the red peppers, fill them with red wine, handed one to Bad Kitty and we toasted (sloshing red wine everywhere) and chugged and refilled our peppers again. Then it was Gallagher time once more, this time with tomatoes and with a few squishy tosses, we were on our way to destroying the goddamned porous, acid-hating kitchen counters once and for all. Then "Mr. Anal Retentive" Tasmanian-Deviled himself into the kitchen and we had to stop immediately and clean everything up.
I have to say, after being on the shoot, I have a great deal of respect for everyone who works to make things like this happen. There is so much waiting around and doing nothing, or at least appearing to. Bad Kitty and I tried to convince each and every person to start an anonymous blog, I mean, can you imagine the stories? Everyone was so nice and patient and you can just tell that they are used to dealing with total a-holes a lot of the time. The PA was so sweet and took all our joking and sarcastic ribbing with a smile until I finally said, "You can say 'no.' Or tell us to STFU. I can tell you are used to always having to say 'yes.' So say 'no!"
To which he just smiled.
We started the day at 7am and ended at 5pm and like that it was over. Two days of the best time I've had in a long time were over. I am so glad that Bad Kitty said "Yes!" when I asked her if she wanted to go to LA with me in 72 hours for 3 days. There's no one else who would have gotten it. No one else who I would rather have spent my time with. That's what BFFs are for. As a result of that experience, an idea that is magical like the unicorn was hatched. But for that, you'll have to wait.