Bean, the destroyer of worlds.
The first leg of the trip took us and two other couples to Solvang, a little piece of Denmark along the California Coast. We chowed down on aebelskivers, bought too much wine and too many stuffed olives. I got a terrible sunburn, which is to be expected. I always get sunburned. I could burn under a 60 watt bulb. I bought a sun hat, though a bit after the fact.
Less than a day after we ground back to Los Angeles, and with not nearly enough sleep, I left Bean in charge and hopped a plane to Seattle. There was a lot to cram into not nearly enough hours. The main reason for the trip, what made it write-offable, was the premiere of The Dark Horse at the Seattle International Film Festival. The film was written and directed by one of my closest friends, the lovely and talented Cornelia Moore, and edited by another BFF, the less lovely though equally talented Ben Dobyns, a fellow Dead Gentleman.
It rained the entire time I was in Washington, and I loved it. There's a thickness to the atmosphere of the northwest, a fullness to it -- rain, mist, clouds that begin as fog and hide the mountains from view -- that you just can't get in So Cal. Add to that the novelty of there being green belts between cities, of random greenness in undeveloped places. Here, nothing is green that isn't planned to be so, that isn't irrigated, and the empty patches are gray and brown and yellow. You can see that when you fly out of the place. In Washington, the emptiness is full of growing things, of overgrowing, overflowing green. I miss it terribly. I wasn't born there, but the northwest is my home. And if I'm lucky, it's where I'll leave my bones.
I got in late Monday night with just enough time for Mom to humiliate me at pool . I chalked my multiple losses up to fatigue. I got a good night's sleep, and she wiped the floor with me the next day. I have the most amazing ability at pool to scratch from anywhere on the table. And my tactic of making Mom laugh so hard at my ineptitude failed to throw her off her game. So I stole her car and drove to Seattle.
I had lunch with Corrie's producer, a big wheel in the Seattle film scene, and pitched a few ideas he seemed to like. I reconnected with my folks at the Seattle Bach Choir rehearsal that night. It's a choir, one of many, that my Dad conducts. They're preparing for their tour of Europe. The bastards. Three years after we move to L.A., they're touring internationally. I sat in the pews as they ran through the program, and watched my father -- a wizard with a choir -- weave their voices together. And I got a bit misty. I miss choral singing. I miss watching my father conduct.
Wednesday was the premiere. I crowded into the sold-out SIFF cinema with five hundred other people to see The Dark Horse. The movie itself -- shot entirely in Washington with much of the production on Orcas Island -- was marvelous, entertaining and surprisingly emotional. Corrie set up three Hollywood endings, and went with none of them. I'm not going to give any spoilers, but the way it ends is not triumphant, but bittersweet; the problems confronting the family aren't so much solved as repositioned; and though the characters change in satisfying ways, life isn't candy for them when the movie ends. The lights came up to enthusiastic applause, and I could only just sit there and think "Wow, she's gonna make more movies." And if the response from the crowd was any indicator, she certainly will.
On Thursday, there was just enough time for Mom to destroy the last lingering traces of my self-esteem at pool before I had to fly back to L.A. I got off the plane in Burbank, crossed the street, and picked up a rental car for Leg Three of this extended trip -- my cousin's wedding, about sixty miles outside of San Francisco.
Wifey and departed at 3:30 AM for the seven-hour drive. We arrived to find that there was a problem with our hotel room. Rather, there was a problem with my aunt and uncle's hotel room. We were going to share a room with them, but when they arrived, they found themselves in a one-bedroom -- not what they'd reserved. So by the time we got there, the concierge informed us that they were giving us our own room, completely free of charge. I suspect my firebrand of an aunt was involved. We accepted, and spent the next six hours face-down on a king sized bed. (Incidentally, I sometimes find it hard to sleep without a small cat standing on my back or face.)
The wedding itself was simple and sweet. And hot. I would have gotten another sunburn if not for my awesome anti-sun hat. After the ceremony, we danced long into the night. Wifey showed members of the wedding party how to dance to 80s bubble-gum pop. I spilt my pants while doing the limbo. It was a great party. I got to spend time with aunts and uncles I never see.
We took the 101 back to L.A., even though the route was longer, and passed by Solvang where the extended trip began a week before. We reluctantly gave back the rental car and picked up our old 2001 Taurus from the shop. The wiper fluid dispenser still doesn't work.
It's nice to be home. I won't be going anywhere for a while, since Bean's forbidden me to leave the apartment. So it's back to the grind, which basically is waiting for production company execs to get back from vacation and give us an effing verdict on our pitches. The waiting is long, boring, and doesn't pay -- but hey, at least I get to work from home.