Tuesday, June 27, 2006

DAY 35

Last Friday night E and I went to see Joe Jackson at The Avalon. (That's not him in the picture above, I'll get to the guy in the picture in a second.) Joe opened with Hometown. I love that song and I guess that's how I started thinking about actually being "from Los Angeles."

Then last night, E and I went to see James Ellroy talk about his work (yeah, that's him in the picture). Mr. Ellroy is from Los Angeles and, like me, he just moved back to his hometown. He talked about how he hated L.A. for so many years and that led me to reflect on the downside of having Hollywood in my backyard.

But what finally caused me to set pen to paper was something a woman I hadn't met before said to me at the Ellroy event. She said: "So you [lowers voice to a near whisper] aren't in the industry...?" [smiles tentatively] "E said that was a good thing ....?" [more tentative smiles]. Don't get me wrong. She seems like an outstanding human being. Really. But she said it the way people used to whisper "cancer" or "divorced." As though there is something bad or shameful about not being "in the industry."

It's not just her though. In industry trade journals when they announce weddings and the spouse is not "in the industry" do you know what they write after the spouse's name? "Non-pro." What does that really mean? "Not a professional?" I'm a practicing effing attorney. As in, I have a PROFESSIONAL DEGREE. But if I married E, as far as Variety is concerned, my name would be: "Mrs. E, non-pro." Like the only way you can be a "professional" in this town is if you are screenwriter or a producer or what-have-you. Maybe at the next gig I'll whisper to women I just met: "Are you a pro?" Don't suppose that'd go over so well.

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