The LA Weekly Theater Awards

Artist's depiction of me and Kiki Wistione walking from the parking lot to the LA Weekly Theater Awards

The LA Weekly Theater Awards. My mono-ped buddy Kiki Wistone invited me to be her escort when she attended the annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards because an actress-pal of hers named Shannon Holt was nominated for an honor. For my worldwide readership based outside of the SoCal area (and I'm not kidding about that; last week somebody in Germany spent 3 minutes 48 seconds reading my thoughts about the death of Roger Ebert), The L.A. Weekly is a local tabloid that publishes paragraph-long small theater reviews that people occasionally glance at as they're leafing to the back to see the ads for erotic massage and laser hair removal. Once a year, the Weekly tortures 95% of the people who actually read their theater reviews (which is to say, the actors who appear in the productions that they savage) by not nominating them for one of their awards. Having never been nominated for an L.A. Weekly Theater Award myself, I have always been one of the outcasts too bitter to attend the ceremony (which is open to the public). But having done no theater in the past year, I was finally able to rationalize the paper's failure to honor me to the point that I was able to accept Ms. Wistone's invitation to be her arm candy for the night. But the event's planners fucked me over yet again, this time by scheduling the ceremony on the one night of the year that Los Angeles was windy enough to hold anti-gravity tests for NASA. And having the shifts in atmospheric pressure blow me all over Vine Street is bad enough; having Ms. Wistone in tow turned it into a test of my usually Ghandi-like patience.

To illustrate (those of you located in Chicago or Alaska will doubtless smirk at this situation, but anyone who resides in those rough hewn wildernesses is in no position to sit in judgment of the self-centered pussies that inhabit L.A.), picture yourself as a hot chick who has just spent the last three hours having her hair done who is then required to walk through a wind tunnel to reach her destination. Now, add to that the detail that you are a one-legged hot chick who has just spent the last three hours having her hair done who is then required to walk through a wind tunnel to reach her destination. If we aren't within at least the sixth circle of hell by now, think of yourself as a bitter would-be actor who hasn't worked in three years going to a ceremony to lavish praise on working actors while listening to someone whine about tough it is to be a one-legged hot chick who has just spent the last three hours having her hair done who is then required to walk through a wind tunnel to reach her destination. I accepted it all with the quiet dignity that has allowed the stock prices of Tums antacid tablets to skyrocket. Somebody really should give me an award.

Jesse Merlin and me at the LA Weekly Theater Awards (above) and how we SHOULD have looked (below)
Jonny Award winner Jesse Merlin, whom I bumped into at the ceremony. I make it a point not to attend any awards show where I know any of the nominees, since I am apt to recoat the walls of the theatre a gruesome hew of red when my blood pressure causes my circulatory system to explode after I hear that some hack who was once lucky enough to rub shoulders with me won a trophy that should rightfully have gone to me - and only then because they managed to crap out something tolerable for once based on the inspiration they got from being in my presence. Such was the case with Mr. Merlin, who rose to fame playing the tight-trousered Captain in my legendary production of U.S.S. Pinafore and went on to exploit that notoriety into winning a nomination as part of the Best Musical Ensemble for Silence! The Musical (a musical version of Silence of the Lambs for the more dim-witted of you). When Mr. Marlin & Company were named the winners of the award, I led the crowd in cheering them as they mounted the stage and spent the rest of the evening fawning over them and telling them all how great they were. Granted, I never actually saw the show but I figure a little sycophancy could never hurt if I'm ever going to win an award of my own. But just to play it safe, I made sure to have a picture taken of Mr. Merlin and me with his award. Not only because it may come in handy at casting offices and singles bars to take out of my wallet just to prove that I know the guy; but I can correct some of the injustices handed down to me by God. Thanks to the magic of Photoshop, there's proof that Jesse Merlin was there to congratulate me the night that I won my LA Weekly Award. Pictures don't lie.

Shannon Holt accepting an LA Weekly Theater Award
Ms. Wistone's pal, the fore-mentioned Shannon Holt, who went on to win the award for Best Comedy Performance by a Female for a production of The Government Inspector. Since I had never met Ms. Holt prior to the ceremony and she won an award that I could only be eligible for if I had a series of painful operations and hormone replacement therapy, I was only mildly annoyed that she was the recipient of an honor that should have rightfully gone to me. Because of the myths indicating that the world was going to end last year (they turned out to be false, although some of the people who watched the season premiere of Mad Men would disagree with that), the event was named the "Post-Apocalypse" Theater Awards and Ms. Holt came suitably attired for the theme, somehow managing to look lovely while wearing a gown that looked like it had been shredded by attacking zombies. She also had a contingency of well-wishers cheering her on whose glowing tributes of warmth and admiration didn't sadistically reverse when she was out of ear-shot (unlike my praise of Mr. Merlin, which reverted to condescending insults as soon as went to the bar to refill his Shirley Temple). In fact, Ms. Holt's group of friends behaved so uncharacteristically of actors (not only being happy for her success, but failing to even suggest that they could have carried out her award-winning performance better if they had played it themselves) that I quickly began to realize that they actually were zombies. It explains both their bizarre behavior and Mad Men's lackluster season premiere. They must have eaten the show's writers' brains.

Yours truly with Mara Marini. Not bad, huh?

Enemies List favorite Mara Marini, who stunned me by unexpectedly encountering me at the ceremony and throwing her magnificent body at me with a friendly hug to say hello. It became painfully obvious in the seconds afterward when her face turned into a mask of terrified shock that she had momentarily confused me for one of the stars of the new Fox reality show America's Top Burn Victims because as soon as she realized who I actually was, she quickly excused herself to return to her date Dennis Rodman. Fortunately for me, she didn't realize the mistake before I managed to have this photograph on the left taken of us to prove that we were once breathing the same air. Thanks to Photoshop trickery mentioned in the listing about Mr. Merlin above, I have lots of photos of me and Ms. Marini, like this one recently taken at an L.A. watering hole:

The truth is that while it was taken when we were at the same bar (although I had spent the entire evening hiding out in the air duct off the ladies room in the hopes of getting a whiff of a paper towel Ms. Marini used to dry her hands with) and even (after slipping a twenty dollar bill to a disgruntled bus boy) drinking from the same glass, I am shown fifteen minutes after Ms. Marini left the establishment with her entourage for an after-hours dance club (where my face is too well known to the bouncers for me to even approach the door without walking away with a disfiguring fist imprint in my face). But the picture of Ms. Marini and me at the L.A. Weekly Theater Awards is one of the few taken of us in the same place at the same time that doesn't also depict a surly police officer or angry bodyguard reaching into frame to reshape my larynx. I suppose I owe a shout-out of thanks to the cast member of America's Top Burn Victims that she mistook me for, but I'm told that he had ironically passed away of his injuries at the exact moment that this picture was taken. At least we were both in heaven at the same time.

My world-traveling compadré Rob Vestal, who spent the last several months in Colombia but had murmured that he intended to return to the land of his birth (presumably with several balloons of hallucinogenics hidden in his anus). That finally came to pass this week when Mr. Vestal posted the abrupt Facebook status "Back livin' in Mt. Olympus, bitches!" At first, I pictured him residing in the mythical home of the Greek Gods, getting drunk on nectar every night while clad only in a loose toga and engaging in anal sex with titans going by the name of Zeus and Apollo. Then I realized that Mr. Vestal probably just meant that he was now living in the suburbs at the base of the Hollywood Hills which is also called Mt. Olympus. Other than that small detail, his lifestyle should be more-or-less identical.
Welcome home, Rob! Be sure to use plenty of lubricant.