Distractions Soothe the Doom: A 2021 Summer Story

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My summer of escapism is just what the hippy dippy doctor, who resides in my cluttered mind, demanded I take. What wonders New York City, Los Angeles, and constant talking can do for one’s weary soul. Why think about the deep stuff when you’ve got pretty dresses to wear and fruity drinks to gulp. Why ponder when you can wander through the muck?

All zombie apocalypse, I dreamed of NYC and now NYC will forever be remembered as the place my daughter Arabella and I met Lorde. Lorde, my actual savior now that I’ve ditched Catholicism like my mind ditches reality.

Traipsing through SOHO on our annual NYC trip, I sniffed Lorde out on day one. Her cheekbones gave her away immediately; they gleamed with sharper edges than the skyscrapers. She was briskly sauntering in the opposite direction and it took one second for me to recognize her, grab my daughter — a true Lorde devotee, and say, “THAT’S EFFING LORDE AND I’M NOT KIDDING,” in the sternest voice I’ve ever used.

God praise Lorde. Lorde and Arabella

Arabella turned quicker than the world on Meghan Markle, and ran after Lorde softly saying, “Ella, Ella.” Only a true fan would know to use her real name and Lorde turned and had a small conversation with Arabella, then me. We stammered our shared adoration, how many times we’ve seen her play live (two together, four for Arabella). I complimented her on her sublime Colbert performance and it was off with a picture!

Lorde could not have been more gracious. I like to think of her as the Fiona Apple of this generation and meeting her only cemented her place as the coolest pop star right now. The rest of our trip to New York City was magical but nothing can top meeting Lorde.

Trigger warning: Demi Levato’s a phony.

Los Angeles and a Plane Trip from Heaven

Before the plane took off, I met someone I will never forget. My seatmate was a seasoned 30-year old L.A. woman who’d been in the family biz for years, with roles on Silicon Valley’s “Bear is sticky with honey” episode, Chicago Fire, and a slew of commercials and theater. Lucky for me, her handsome boyfriend — a fellow actor with a robust resume — was across the aisle. His distance left his lovely lady all to me and she regaled me with Hollywood stories for five hours.

She was mesmerizing, enchanting, beautiful and yes, I am obsessed with her. The object of my fascination shall remain nameless but will forever be cemented in my mind. She looked at my L.A. itinerary and finessed it into a tour de force of coolness. Thank you, fine friend and let me know when you issue that restraining order.

Where was Harry Styles? Laurel Canyon Country Store

Triggering Demi Levato

Within one hour of landing, my husband and I arrived at the scene of Demi Levato’s crime against low-fat humanity: The Bigg Chill. I boldly entered this famed L.A. ice cream shop and ordered a low fat concoction that would drive poor Demi into the eight nervous breakdown. The ice cream was fine but the cackling laughter erupting from my mouth was much more divine.

Feeling Lana Del Rey’s hypnotic pull, Laurel Canyon was next on my itinerary. A playground for rock stars, actors and eccentrics since the 40s, Laurel Canyon was staggeringly lovely. We stumbled upon the Laurel Canyon Country Store, fictionalized in The Door’s song “Love Street” as a place “where the creatures meet” and I had the best lavender latte I’ve ever tasted. I gazed at the beautiful people noshing on deli sandwiches surrounded by a desert cornucopia of understated coolness.

If Anything Happens to Me, Call Tom Cruise

What’s weirder: Catholicism or Scientology

Then it was off to the Church of Scientology to investigate the creepiest religion since, well, my 45 years of Catholicism.

We pounced on the large campus, miming for the many cameras everywhere. While filming, a fit and uniformed man biked over and politely asked how we were and what we were doing. I shared that we were interested in Scientology and he directed us to the entrance for a …TOUR!

At the entrance we were greeted by two pretty women and a uniformed man, given gloves and signed over our life to aliens for admission. The paperwork requested personal information and what we were looking for in regards to our visit. It was multiple choice and I answered “help with stress.”

Our tour guide was a beautiful, tall, blond woman named Krista. She was knowledgeable and intelligent – and a little robotic. She never stopped smiling but her eyes reflected a twinkle of regret. I never lied to Krista and was genuinely interested in her stories. I shared that we had recently left Catholicism, that I’m interested in Scientology, and that I knew a lot about the religion from the news and pop culture. She directed us to interactive screens where we watched dated videos about Ron Hubbard.

Covert photo opportunity. I did it all for Beck.

Then we walked by an E-Meter, a “religious artifact that helps the auditor and preclear locate areas of spiritual distress or travail.” Yup, that’s the Scientology explanation and it’s bat shite crazy.

Krista offered us a turn on the ol’ E-Meter and of course I obliged. I took off my rings and plastic gloves, and grasped the metal for it to do its voodoo magic. That E-Meter went higher than my blood pressure every time my doctor tells me the signs of a stroke. I have no idea what was happening but do know that E-Meters are a part of auditing and ultimately the information gleamed is used as collateral against “suppressors.” Krista asked about my obvious anxiety and after telling her that I take anti-anxiety meds, Krista’s calm façade showed twitches. As Brooke Shields knows, Scientology’s biggest enemy is psychiatry!

We left shortly after. As we walked back to our car, the Church of Scientology’s foundation seemed shakier. An old man using a walker looked confused and a middle aged woman waved excitedly to us as we passed by. Both looked lonely.

New York City and Los Angeles were so much fun, we saw friends who we haven’t seen in 20 years and the vacations reminded me how vital human connections are. I hiked to Griffith Observatory, went to Bravo’s TomTom Club and went on a booze cruise in NYC, but don’t you know it’s the people I met that I remember the most. For such a curmudgeon , perhaps I am really a people person.

Places I loved

I hope this isn’t too travel bloggy but here’s a list of hot spots I visited and dug.

Laurel Canyon Country Store– 2108 Laurel Canyon Blvd., L.A. The ghost of beautiful people are in the lavender.

El Candor, 3701 Sunset Blvd. L.A. Fine drinks and Mexican fare.

House of Galbi, 15927 Ventura Blvd. Encino. So. Much. Deliciousness

The Comedy Store, Hollywood. You can feel the history.

Trove, 2008 Westwood Boulevard. A vintage clothing store with authentic vintage!

Citi Bike NYC. I’ve never felt better than riding a bike through NYC.

Eszett. 3510 West Sunset Blvd. L.A. Mouth wateringly delicious food.

Boy Scout Trail to Griffith Observatory. The Boy Scouts nailed this beautiful hike.

My splurge (vintage hat). Purchased at Trove.

Shake the holiday horror by ridiculing Kayne West & partying like Ed Sheeran.

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Don’t trust that smirk, I’ve been hating the holidays since 1981.

I don’t think this is going to knock anyone off their pleather recliner, but I detest the holidays. Not even a drunken Christmas party can push me into the holiday spirit. Don’t worry, I feign happiness and muddle through with the whole damned thing: I select the most outrageous tree I can find (while inwardly whining about the cost), I hide that creepy Elf on the Shelf and spend gobs of money on a bunch of presents that I know I will defiantly vacuum up in eight months.

Blame it on my bad childhood. Why not? I blame everything else on it.

So, this holiday season, I outwardly smile and squeeze into last year’s ugly holiday sweater while guzzling enough alcohol to think that Elf on the Shelf is edible. I bought myself an expensive party dress for a party that I’ve not received an invitation, and I daydream that my obsession with the Church of Scientology will someday materialize into me joining the cult and boycotting Christmas.

Ho-Ho-Ho!

But hey, there’s always important stuff to take my mind off my holiday blues.

Kayne West is a Joke without a Punchline

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Kayne, this is how you do a mental breakdown correctly.

Even Kayne’s breakdown is boring. Can’t this guy use Britney Spears, Savior of Mental Breakdowns, as a guide? She did institutional-level madness right in 2007, she used props like an umbrella and an electric razor. Kayne’s got a porn star wife and two kids with silly names.

What is Kayne going mental over? That he sold his soul for Ray J’s gal or that he’s a complicated artist with no real art? Kayne is such an amateur, in the fashion world, his love life and with his own mental undoing.

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Looks like love, but it smells like money.

I want to laugh at Kayne Wests’s public meltdown, but he’s not even cool enough to be funny.The man is a joke and his talent is slipping away as quickly as his marriage is dying. I don’t even know where to start: his clothing line consists of beige leotards with a passion for camel-toe and his mother died from complications of budget liposuction.

Royalty, rock stars and redheads.

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How do you party like a royal? Ed Sheeran’s face just got more interesting.

How do I miss these party invitations?

I hope that Ed Sheeran was very numb on the night that Princess Beatrice sliced his pale cheek while jokingly attempting to knight one-hit wonder & “You’re Beautiful” crooner, James Blunt.

Yes, I’ve got that right. In a very unfortunate (or kick-ass) party, Princess Beatrice, daughter of toe-suckling Royal bad girl Fergie, sliced poor Ed Sheeran’s face with a sword while attempting to knight James Blunt.

I can’t believe the bloody Brits are acting out like this, when it’s the good ol’ USA that just got Trumped.

Angelina’s & Brad’s Divorce: Bleaker than ‘Allied’

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Angelina appears as pissed off as she has since, well, since she was born. What did this Midwestern boy do to cause such vitriol?  This divorce is looking worse than the box-office returns of every non-animated movie Angelina has ever made, produced or even breathed on.

Make no mistake, Brad Pitt is the clear winner here. Angelina looks petty for taking their divorce so public when she’s always asked for privacy involving her army of brats, and he frees himself from Angelina’s soulless clutches. In the words of a now-deceased friend, she’s day-old donuts and he’s Brad freaking Pitt.

The Weeknd Just Saved 2016’s Pop Music

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Bella Hadid & The Weeknd: At least it’s not Gigi Hadid?

I have a real thing for The Weeknd and am happy that he released ‘Starboy’ and drugged his way back into 2016 before it quickly became the worst year of pop music on record. Let’s just forgive this Ethiopian King of Bad Boy Pop for dating permanently-scowled ‘Housewives of BH’ spawn Bella Hadid because he’s a pop star and he can.

In the world of celebrity sisters, these Hadids are better than the Kardashians & Jenners. Bella is far cooler than her older sister, Gigi Hadid, whose hosting of the American Music Awards was almost as cringe-worthy as Ciara’s stab at the same gig last year.

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Gigi Hadid- Move over Ciara, we have a worse awards show host.

How did I forget that Milo V. existed?

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Milo, I forgive you for ‘This Is Us.’

I never realized how much I missed this vision of male facial hair done right until he strolled onto Gilmore Girls and trotted onto my worst nightmare, ‘This Is Us’. But, it’s okay, Milo, ‘Gilmore Girls’ was excellent and I appreciate how many times you disrobe on ‘This is Us.’

Yes, this is where I lose my audience, right? I’m about to make fun of the perplexingly popular drama starring fallen star Mandy Moore and that hot guy from ‘Heroes.

‘This is Us’ is a sucker punch to the lowest common denominator- America’s heart. What a weep fest, for a bunch of unlikable characters.Let’s throw in an obese woman, a dying long-lost father, a celebrity with low self-esteem AND a lying mother. Wow, did the writers secretly have a seat at my Thanksgiving table?

And, Mandy Moore’s acting is as bad as her portrayal of Ryan Adam’s grungy wife.

Well, happy holidays to you all, I am going to start on the Best & Worst of 2016 soon. Something tells me the bad may outweigh the good!

Just don’t get me any freaking Christmas gifts because I didn’t get you any.