Confessions of a Hollywood ‘Nobody-‘ #MeToo

 

When I was 11, when I first told my parents I wanted to be an actor or a disc jockey (both of which I later became), I was told the entertainment industry was ‘off limits’ and to confine my career ambitions to the scholarly, economic, medical or legal professions. I was only a kid then, so I didn’t know what antisemitism was.

I ended up at Stanford on a volleyball scholarship, and met the late Bobby Frankel, a horse trainer so connected he got me an audition for a Coca Cola Commercial, which got me that coveted Screen Actor’s Guild Card.

At 19, I dropped out to conquer Hollywood. The first #metoo was a friend of my father, a ‘has been’ producer working on the MGM lot, which was known for Lorimar Studio’s Dallas and Knott’s Landing. He asked me out to lunch, which seemed innocent enough. He told me he’d made Angie Dickenson of “Police Woman” a star by putting her up in an apartment, paying for her acting lessons, etc., and that I should do the same. I was apalled, stood up from the table and fled.

I was doing TV commercials, but wanted to break into ‘theatrical.’ To do that, I needed a SAG franchised agent, so I sent out pictures to agents. This was in the early 80’s. There were less roles for women than there are now.

I got a phone call for a general interview with Billy something or other….I’ve forgotten his name, but he told me I had a pretty, heart-shaped mouth and it would look good wrapped around one of his friend’s c#@k. He wanted to take me to a party that night that he said was well attended by producers and directors. I realized he was a pimp more than an agent and filed a complaint with SAG, who never did anything about it.

A little later, some friends of mine set me up with a superagent from Creative Artist’s Agency, the agency who represents producers, directors, screenwriters, writers and actors. CAA ‘packages’ products and can often get a young actor in a project along with their A-listers. After dinner, this guy put the moves on me. I resisted and he started yelling at me for wasting his time. He told me I was stupid and this was how things got ‘done’ in Hollywood.

This happened quite a few more times before I finally surrendered my dream and moved away. During my years in LA, I managed to land 8 TV commercials and quite a bit of union voiceover work for video games, but could never ‘crack’ TV and Film.

Now I know why. Harvey Weinstein was right.

#metoo

My thing about film directors and the “auteur” theory

Peter BergThis is former actor, former director, writer and now uberproducer Peter Berg. I first saw him in “The Last Seduction” with Bill Pullman and Linda Fiorentino, both people deserving of work and hardly ever working. But Peter Berg, first in Chicago Hope, then off to “Friday Night Lights” a producer/director job with Interscope….he’s developed some really interesting work over his career and does delightful cameos in his stuff. Right now he’s playing the Miami Dolphins owner in “ballers.” I follow this guy around like crazy.

Other directors who put the ‘auteur’ stamp on their work

the late Robert Altman

Quentin Tarantino

Ingmar Bergman

Oliver Stone

and so forth. Often you can judge if a movie is good by who produced or directed it. This is my theory.

Words…why they turn me on?

AlLiliPulPink

This is what Sunny South Florida will do to you if you go walking, etc.

Vertiginous: Steep, high, causing someone to become dizzy.

Parapet: A low protective wall.

Riverine: Of a river or a riverbank. What context, I wonder?

Pileated: Having a cap like a mushroom. Maybe a hat is what they are speaking of.

Purloined: Steal, thievery

Leaving this link got me banned from a Facebook site…what gives?????

 

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The site was “I went to Rancho Santa Fe elementary school” (North San Diego County, just east of Del Mar.

The Admin reminder was ‘we want to be nostalgic, swap stories and keep things light.’

Most of the time, I did exactly that. I told some whoppers about listening to Dr. Demento, throwing oranges at cars and seeing Rocky Horror Show when it opened in London’s “West End,” their “Broadway.” Our teacher was scandalized but we were in the same row all the way across the theatre and there was no way she could get us out of there when Tim Curry started doin’ the can can “I’m a sweet Transvestite From Transylvania….uh huh”

The attention I got as a story teller and a published writer made people angry.

On my final visit (under someone else’s name) I asked,

“So when my book about growing up in the Ranch is released you don’t want to know about it?

Anyway, here’s what got me banned. maybe somebody felt guilty

 

http://www.bphope.com/blog/bipolar-strong-slow-learner-with-racing-thoughts/

Words of the Weak

 

This is supposed to help our mood. I don’t know about you but I woke up soooo depressed today. Once I got to the music and the computer much better.

Sobriquet (can’t remember context)  Nickname

Probity (2016 campaign) Morals

inimitable (Prince)  Cannot be copied.

Dyspeptic  (2016 campaign referring to a candidate) indigestion or irritability.

Mantel (can’t remember context) just what it means. A mantelpiece.

My Image, Shot by Vera Anderson of LA

On talent and long term spousal abuse….

You may have noticed that I changed my image from the James Dean wannabe in the wifebeater t-shirt, complete with scowl. Back then I was in mixed mood psychosis and got the photos taken by a German photographer who understood light and shadow. Sort of a Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo ‘personae’ thing. I didn’t want to part with it and I took a poll and numbers were split. I don’t want people to think I’m the type of rebel who is ‘anti-everything.’ I stand for as much or more than I stand against. I’m not angry at the world. I fight for my health. so I chose a picture I’m fond of at the request of two ladies who know me well. I’m smiling.

It was taken by a woman who photographed me here and there my entire acting career, a brilliant, talented gal named Vera Anderson.

 

She was married to a guy who had untreated, or self medicated bipolar disorder. For anyone over 40, do you remember the very early days of Cable, the ‘Z’ channel, similar to what “Sundance” is now?

Vera’s  husband, ahead of his time, pioneered it.

 

His role models were Jack Nicolson, Roman Polanski, Sam Peckinpah, Martin Scorcese.

He would have LOVED Quentin Tarantino.

Bipolar/substance abusing, refusing his meds, he beat her and she left him. He stalked her relentlessly and the day before his marriage to another woman, he begged her to come back. She said no and he shot himself in the head. “That’lll show you.” He was an ass.

After his death she went on to write a book called “A Woman Like You,” about all the women who endure long spousal term abuse, finally snap and kill their husbands only to serve life in prison;  no one factoring in the effects of PTSD or whatever you wanna call it.

It didn’t seem fair to her. She’d been down that road and bought the T-shirt.

The proceeds from the book went to charity. She had always wanted to direct film and she did one really good film that won an award at AFI (American film institute) but never got picked up by a distributor called “The Dogwalker.”It was a little film about the redeeming aspects of having to care for a little dog. You’d have loved it. Every time Vera took my picture I looked like myself, but better. She was the only photographer that ever ‘got me.’ If I write my book and it gets picked up, I’ll look for her yet again to see if she’ll snap me up.

I’m on a Charlotte Rampling Kick

ramplingolder

The hostess of horror is back with a new film, “45 Years”

Charlotte Rampling specializes in roles that attempt to normalize the most horrific. I call her the ‘hostess of horror.’

I became aware of her when I saw a Mickey Roarke Robert Deniro movie about selling one’s soul to the devil (an old theme if ever there was one) and she played a New Orleans Voodooienne who met her bloody end before they could extract her prophesies and spells. I learned about her role in “The Night Porter,” Reveled in her role as serial killer “Dexter’s” unconditionally approving, supportive and loving psychiatrist who specialized in childhood trauma and two recent films: The role of the stern, black and white “Women Must Endure these things” mother of Keira Knightly in “The Duchess.” It’s a terrific film also starring Ralph Fiennes as the uncouth Duke she is forced into marriage with. Then another film with Keira Knightly called “Never Let me Go” about using British Orphans solely for the purpose of organ donation. She played the head of the institution that schooled these orphans into thinking they were serving a high purpose parting with their parts one by one until they weakened and died. Now she’s back in a movie about a wonderful marriage shattered by something horrific. I can’t wait to see it.

She’s the model of a cosmetics campaign for Nas Cosmetics, joining octogenarian Joan Didion as a fine example of the grace of aging. What could be better for us? Sometimes life is horrible but we have to make the best of it and see light in the dark, as she seems to.

Mystery Shopping Story

Confessions of a Mystery Shopper

I was once a high-valued corporate spy, investigating customer service everywhere I went by working as a mystery shopper. After a year of luxury brand espionage, I went inactive.

Why would I forgo hitting posh hair salons on the house, free smells, scrubs, and soaps while receiving hand massages? Wouldn’t I miss playing ‘let’s pretend I’m rich and famous’ while being measured for Haute Couture I’d never pick up?

After 22 years of living and working full-time with Bipolar I, I fell into a depression so deep I had to quit a stimulating, high paying job. I applied for disability insurance and was immediately approved. So I’m that sick. Eventually I felt better.

My best friend was a Mystery Shopper.  She took me to lunch at incredible restaurants while chattering about overdue reports for ‘shops’ she’d already done.

She said she’d show me the ropes; warning me about companies selling lists of companies. She said they were scams.

I signed up through the Mystery Shopper Providers of America (MSPA). The MSPA represents both shoppers and hundreds of mystery shopping companies. There are ethical standards both are expected to uphold. There is work outside this network but I was warned it was unreliable. Things like not getting paid.

I registered with five companies my friend said she enjoyed working with. All of them were upscale. Two of them represented restaurants only. I filled out endless personal profile forms. It was interesting to study each brand’s corporate culture and customer service requirements. It was thrilling to spy on their employees and inform on them. I became hypomanic.

There were drive-thru banks, movie theatres, and car dealerships. The shops that paid the most were boring economy hotels that required a weekend stay and a 100-question report due the next Monday. I was so elevated, I just couldn’t stay in one place that long.

My grandiosity got over on me at the ‘just looking’ drop ins. By then, I was beginning to hear things. The handbags all screamed “Take Me Home!”

Once I had to purchase and return shoes on a credit card. I was ashamed. How could I be such a horrible, lowly creature that I couldn’t afford a pair of flats?

What really cost me was equating money with value. If I didn’t have enough money to keep something I wanted, I wasn’t anyone. What a mindwarp.

My last run involved six desirable shops at high-end cosmetics counters. My payment was one hundred dollars per, to be used for purchases I could keep. I was offered a complimentary makeover. While she was touching my face, the saleswoman kept intoning, “You should buy this, your face needs more moisture,” etc.

I dropped over 700.00. Even though I had been compensated 600.00 in cosmetics, I lost 100.00. And that’s not including gas and online time spent on reports for these projects.

This also happened in my restaurant jobs. We were supposed to bring a friend, but they didn’t give you enough for two. Not wanting to seem stingy, I always overspent.

Eventually, I realized I was spinning my wheels, and had racked up five thousand dollars in credit card debt. I went online and deactivated all of my profiles. I made a significant shift.

I see the importance of giving back to the world, leaving something good in my trail. Even though I’m on disability, I want to be a creator, rather than someone who has to buy things all the time in order to feel whole.

I began to write, study nutrition, exercise, make jewelry, and try new recipes from the newspaper to improve my meal planning and cooking. I feel better about myself.

As a person with bipolar disorder with a tendency towards mania and overspending, I don’t need additional triggers. I have friends with bipolar disorder who hit every sale, and have finally stopped urging me to take them there.

About the only time I go to a shopping center is during the holidays or to see some art film that’s not playing elsewhere. I go to the grocery store nearly every day. That’s enough time consumerism for me.

Read the rest of Allison’s posts for IBPF here. Allison has also written for NAMI Not Alone and has personal blogs on WordPress and Tumblr.You can find her on Facebook where she has a closed group to share coping strategies for living with bipolar disorder. 

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Movie: “The 33:” semi-underground release emotionally …groundbreaking!

Miners work in dangerious, death defying conditions. There is no OSHA in Latin American Countries. Some countries in South America have corruption and are influenced by big businesses such as mining. Antonio Banderas and Lou Diamond Phillips, (Henry in “Longmire”),Tell me something I don’t already know.

The country knows the mine has a fissure, making it unstable. They send the men down anyway. When the mine collapses, the miners see that there aren’t enough food rations for the 33 of them and the ladders supposedly built for them to use to climb out of the mines in exactly this circumstance aren’t even finished. They are way too short to even get them out of the refuge. (their version of a ‘Panic Room,’ sort of)

Everyone scrambles to protect all the responsible parties, leaving the wives barricaded outside the mine by a chain link fence. Gabriel Byrne does a star turn as a government mining expert with experience in these matters. It takes them a while before they decide whether to silently give up on their miners or make the herculean effort to try to dig them out.

Gimmicky physical metaphors like 33 miners gathered ’round with their helmet’s spotlights all turned on, searching in darkness where hope may not live. The 8-second screen wipe of pitch black, leaving us waiting like they are. Casting villainous roles with well-known actors like Bob Gunton, who played the jail warden from “Shawshank Redemption.” Coming out of hiding was Chilean actor Cote De Pablo (Ziva David from NCIS) in a role that didn’t deserve her. Juliet Binoche, unrecognizable and layered playing a betrayed Latin American Wife, courageously waiting for the men to be saved….or else

Go see it. Thar’s Gold in That Thar Hills.

Remember this face?
Remember this face?

We R Rguing about the Gabor Sisters at home!

My husband and I are talking about Sirius’s FM’s channel the innovative “Outlaw Country.” You are as likely to hear Johnny Cash as you R to hear ZZ Top as Johnny Cash or even Patsy Cline. What he thinks is interesting is a song written by an oldster and later popularized by someone like The Beatles. Both songs would be aired on this cool station. It also plays Meredith Brooks and Lucinda Williams, both who are newer artists. Then we got to talking about TV Land and Green Acres vs Beverly Hillbillies. I told hubby that I had lived next door to Zsa Zsa’s daughter in the Hollywood Hills in 1999 and that Zsa Zsa was not known for acting but by marriage to Conrad Hilton. He disagrees. We looked it up. I’m right. Eva was the Green Acres actor. Zsa was the only one of the Hungarian sisters to even have a child. When I was psychotic at the very end of my stay there I thought I had children (I am childless), used to run down Laurel Canyon and buy groceries to make them dinner. Dad and I talked on the phone and I told him I was making dinner for the kids, who were being babysat at Zsa Zsa’s daughter’s house.

Frightened, he tried to make light of a grave situation. “Allison,” he said, “YOu don’t have any kids, remember? I assured him I did but after I hung up I realized he was right. I needed inpatient therapy for a second time in 10 years. Those actually are not bad stats for a person with bipolar I w/psychotic features.