Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Popeyes Hollywood As Real As Real Hollywood Gets

Popeyes Chicken, Hollywood and Cahuenga, a favorite spot of pimps, murderers, ho’s, actors and writers. A must see stop for any tourist who really wants to see Hollywood. Plus Little Richard has been known to do the occasional pop in.

Being a writer in Hollywood with morals and a vision means sometimes you have to humble yourself and suffer for your work. It means you make sacrifices. You don’t waste your energy or talents writing crap for game shows or the C.W. When someone calls you with a tempting ghost writing gig that would solve all your financial problems you have to say no. It takes years to recover from polishing up someone else’s crap so you try to stay away from what normal people would refer to as work. You save yourself for that one script or novel, that one great piece of work, that will push you to the front of the line and gets you the power of people returning your calls and e-mails and giving you free swag at all the awards shows. Or at least when you finally bail out of Hollywood for the mountains you can live with yourself.

Meanwhile, while you wait your turn you try not to humiliate yourself to much. For instance interviewing for the writers assistant job on “Will and Grace” and not getting the job. That’s humiliating. Beyond humiliating. Of course I probably shouldn’t have stopped by Woody Harrelson’s trailer right before I went in to meet the producers. My bad.

Of course the majority of suffering is monetary. Money? You have none. Well really you have an adequate amount of money, but only if you lived in a city like Portland, Seattle or Chicago. But in Los Angeles or New York, forget about it. It’s $4,000 a month just to survive and that’s only if you were lucky enough to find your house or apartment more than 5 years ago, before prices skyrocketed.

Which brings me to another humbling ritual for many writers, actors and artists in my neighborhood. Popeyes Chicken on Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard. The Tuesday’s 99 cent 2 piece chicken special. 2 battered greasy pieces of dark meat chicken bathed in fat and oil that makes no promise that it doesn’t contain trans-fats. While my friends are dining down the street on $40 sushi rolls at Katsuya with Justin Timberlake, I’m down the street standing in the 99 cent chicken line with Just Homeless and his crew. Hell yeah its’s humiliating. It’s also funny. In a sad way. And if it doesn’t motivate you to work harder, than nothing ever will.

I urge all tourists who want to know what it feels like to live and suffer in Hollywood to go there on a Tuesday. And get in that line. The sights, the smells, the human tragedy, the desperation inside that place, it’s not only the underbelly of Hollywood, it is Hollywood.

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