Tag Archives: Hollywood

My Meeting with Courtney Love, A True Love Story

PhotoCredit:SheKnows.com

PhotoCredit:SheKnows.

When I was with my boyfriend, (now ex) and I got to know his kids better, I marveled at their impeccable timing; better than any Borscht Belt comic. Their opinions were unfiltered, and they were often unsolicited.

One day, I sat down next to my boyfriend’s son in the living room, and settled in for some mindless (is there any other kind?) television watching. Out of nowhere, he asked, “Have you ever worked on movie sets?”

Startled, I whipped my head around. “What?” Hearing this innocent nine-year-old boy say “movie set,” made me laugh. It had been years since I’d worked on a movie set, and for a moment, I forgot that I actually had.

“Yes, I have.”

He continued. “Have you ever met any famous people or celebrities?”

I rarely talked about my life in Hollywood with my boyfriend and his kids, and I wondered what had prompted these questions.

“Sure, I’ve met famous people and celebrities.”

“Like who?” he asked.

And with that, my mind went tabula rasa. After a slight hesitation, I replied, “Cyndi Lauper.”

He crinkled his tiny face, disappointed. “Who?”

I should have seen that one coming. He was relentless. “Were you in any movies like you see in the movie theater?”

One minute we’re watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and the next, my résumé is being called into question. Was he going to ask me for references next? Again, I hesitated because I had forgotten my own credits.

I stared at this cherub. I was so nervous being the Girlfriend Mom. I wanted to see where the role would take me but I also didn’t want to forget how I got there; in a living room with a child, who was interrogating me like a murder suspect.

I looked over at him. “Okay, you got me, I’ll talk.”

My writing partner and I wrote a screenplay that received all kinds of Hollywood buzz; the kind of buzz that first-time screenwriters dream about while they’re writing in smelly corners of the only Starbucks in town that doesn’t have a restroom. I always wanted to be a card-carrying member of one of the most exclusive clubs in Hollywood, if not in the entire free world.

A top agent signed us, and we dined with studio executives and producers who pitched us movie ideas. “A ballet dancer succumbs to lethal plantar warts and is forced to make a tough decision: live with constant pain or go under the knife, which could lead to infection and end her dancing career. While lying on the operating table, the anesthesiologist professes his desire for her and her warts. They fall in love, but the operation is botched, and she never dances again. It’s Erin Brockovich meets Black Swan by way of Love Story.”

One day we had a meeting with Courtney Love. She wanted to pitch us a movie idea. It was surreal. I was green to the ways of Hollywood, but the effect that being noticed can have on one’s ego? It’s astonishing. I walked a little bit taller. I got so ahead of myself that my shadow struggled to keep up.

Ms. Love was coming off a string of box office hits like The People Vs. Larry Flynt and Man on the Moon. She was a serious and couture-wearing actress now; no longer known just as Kurt Cobain’s wife and the lead singer of Hole.

We rendezvoused at Ms. Love’s home in the Hollywood Hills. I expected tall hedges and barbed wire fences, and then realized she didn’t live in a prison. She’d didn’t even have a gate; even my parents have a gate.

Her manager greeted us at the front door, and as she ushered us in, my partner whispered to me. “We take matches or something from the bathroom as a souvenir.” She was always joking.

I thought it would be nifty if we had a trinket from Courtney Love’s commode. My friend Katy brought me back rusty nails from Cher’s new Malibu beach house when it was under construction. She and her wife were friends of Cher’s, and they knew what a huge fan I was, so they brought me a memento. It was supposed to hold me over until they could set up an actual meeting with the Dark Lady herself. I’m still waiting for my face to face. (If I wait much longer, it’s going to be surgically enhanced face to surgically enhanced face.)

We sat on Courtney’s tailored linen couch in the library, and I already imagined future meetings with Ms. Love as our relationship blossomed. I lived in Seattle for a year and a half during the early days of grunge, so I already felt a kinship. Never mind that I spent most of my time there working backstage on such distinguished theatrical productions as A Shayna Maidel at the Stroum Jewish Community Center.

Ms. Love sauntered into the room, looking fabulous. Her conservative blond bob, Dolce & Gabbana leather pencil skirt, Burberry blazer, and, I believe, newly sculpted nose screamed, Here I am, motherf’er. 

From the moment she said, “Hello, nice to meet you guys,” to our departure an hour later, she was effusive and long-winded. “Did you know that this was Ellen’s old house? I had it redecorated, natch. Do you like the Stickley chairs? Have either of you read Proust?”

Before I had a chance to recall what Proust had written, she was discoursing on the virtues of anal bleaching. She insisted that we go to her favorite place Pink Cheeks on Ventura Boulevard—because who doesn’t want a pink and refreshed-looking butthole?

SIDE NOTE: I left this part out of the story because he was a child.

We stood up to leave, and walked to the front door. I looked in the direction of the kitchen, and caught a glimpse of Courtney’s daughter, Frances Bean, who was six years old and looked exactly like her father.

In the end we failed to impress Ms. Love, and the experience became just another in a long list of pitches, promises, and potentials.

Shortly after, my partner and I parted ways due to creative differences. I remember during one of our last conversations she said that I was being didactic. I shouted back defensively, “No, I’m not.” I might as well have added, “I know you are but what am I?”

I had no effing idea what didactic meant and I looked it up in the dictionary when I got home.

Didactic: intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive: in the manner of a teacher, particularly so as to treat someone in a patronizing way. Okay, maybe I was.

My boyfriend’s son sat up on the couch, looked at me, and cocked his head. “So you weren’t in the movies?”

 

 

I’m over at The Hollywood Journal today. Check it out.

Dani Alpert living the dream with Courtney Love in the Hollywood Journal

PhotoCredit: HollywoodJournal

Several years ago, or maybe it was a decade (who can remember), my then writing partner and I wrote a spec screenplay that received all kinds of Hollywood buzz. And Courtney Love took notice. 

You know, the buzz that first time writers dream about while writing in dark corners of Starbuck’s that don’t have restrooms. I had always wanted to be in the running, a contender, on the radar, in the game. I was living the dream. READ MORE HERE about my special time with Courtney Love. 

The Voice Brought Us Closer Together

Voice-shirtsMy boyfriend and I watch The Voice together every Monday night. And Tuesday nights. And Wednesday nights if it’s one of their extra special shows.

He’s become quite the music aficionado. This is coming from the man who didn’t know who Joni Mitchell was when we were first dating. Yes, I judged. And yes, my boyfriend corrected me, when I thought that Joe Scarborough was the NBC newscaster. He’s not, that’s Chuck Scarborough. My point is, we are learning from one another and that’s a beautiful thing.

When we’re watching the singers, he talks about their pitch, melodies and which one of the performers has the most commanding stage presence. I do believe that he’s even uttered the word “Diva” once or twice. My being a musical theater and anything singing and dancing, FAME inspired, dork (and sometime singer myself), it turns me on.

All of this is to say that music is a universal language. How interesting it is when two people come together, bringing with them two entirely different skill sets, tool boxes and cultural references.

In the past, it has sometimes shocked me all of the crap that my boyfriend doesn’t know. And in return, I sling my crap at him, which often leaves me scratching my head and wishing that I paid more attention in school, instead of practicing my autograph on the cover of my social studies book. (Cover courtesy of my mother and her adeptness with a brown paper bag)

Naively perhaps, I thought that everyone knew who Joni Mitchell was. Sorry, last time I’ll bring that up I promise. I am sure, although I’d have to ask him, which I’m not about to do because I’m too lazy, that he would’ve assumed that I knew what a “put” option was, as well as how hedge funds work. But alas, he would’ve made an ass out of the both of us.

I spent my entire life living with, and surrounded by, people that were in the creative arts; writers, actors, musicians, dancers, performers, onstage, offstage, on camera or behind the camera. Living in Los Angeles for as long as I did, cut me off from the outside world. It is not only possible, but it is almost a foregone conclusion that living in the city of angels stunts one’s growth and limits one’s peripheral view. It did with me.

It was all that I knew. As short sighted as it may have been, I had no reason to look outside the compound. When I met my boyfriend and his kids, I thought, “What the hell is this? Don’t you guys have headshots? A resume? Who’s your agent?”

It has taken me a long time to adjust, transition, and accept the fact that not everyone is in the entertainment business and that everyone does not know what I know. When I moved back to New York, it all hit me square in the face.

At times, it takes a lot of restriction on my part not to yell at boyfriend, “How can you not know that Streisand dated Don Johnson and that they made a record together?” (enjoy)  Sometimes it’s as if we speak two entirely different languages. I’ll say, “It’s a writing gig. (beat) No, I’m not getting paid but it’s great exposure.” My boyfriend will cock his head. “I don’t understand. Why would you do anything for free?” Other times, he’ll explain that  he has to, “Do the due diligence first, and see what my return will be on the 1039. It’s in the pro-forma.” My eyes will roll back into my head.

It’s about patience, tolerance and non-judgement, which no human being is an expert at. I’m not always on my best Kabbalah behavior, so when my boyfriend doesn’t know what a Movie of the Week is, I want to open a can of, “what rock have you been living under” on his tight Portuguese ass.

This is what I’ve learned. We do not know the same shit and it is a blessing. I keep my mind and heart wide open, and I learn. And just because my boyfriend doesn’t know how debilitating it can be when your muse doesn’t show up for her appointment when you’re trying to write, it does not make him any less of a person.

I’m choosing to focus on what we do have in common. The Voice. There’s also sex. We have that in common as well, which is also a universal language, but that’s another post for another time.

Now This Is Hollywood!

Many years ago, when I was crawling my way up the show business ladder, which, by the by, has a shitload of rungs, I worked as a wee assistant to a literary agent. It wasn’t a big operation. It was more like a mom and pop shop, only without the pop. That’s right, just me and Agent Lady, who liked to announce when she was going to the toilet, as she tucked The Hollywood Reporter safely under her arm, so she could catch up on who was doing what to whom, while sitting on the crapper. Can you say class act? Neither could I.

To make a long story short, the only awesome and interesting moment on the job was when I answered the phone one early morning, only to be greeted with a hello from Mr. Sean Connery. Agent Lady hadn’t come in yet, so Sean and I could have an open and honest conversation. He asked me how I liked working for Agent Lady and I told him that she shat a lot. I asked him when he was going to get it together and do another Bond movie because he was the best James Bond out of the whole lot of them.

That’s not really how it went down, but he did call, and we did exchange pleasantries, and he was funny and his voice does ooze sex. I think I may have had an orgasm while he was giving me his call back number.

Besides that one phone conversation, the job was a big fat bore, but then again, how exciting is answering phones and copying scripts? Exactly. SO, when I got engaged (now divorced) I traveled back and forth from L.A. to NY, planning my wedding and it got to be ridiculous. I decided to give my two-week notice. Here is where there was a breakdown in communication between myself and Agent Lady.

She accepted my two-week notice, but when you read the enclosed letter, maybe she didn’t. And when my two weeks were completed, she was out of town, so yes, I did go to the accountant, who I had formed a relationship with, and asked for my final check. I admit that perhaps it wasn’t cool but I was SOOOO young and I didn’t have a lot of experience in these matters. However, my departure was not abrupt. It may have upset her because I think she thought we were bf’s, but I did finish my two weeks and then I skedaddled. I did not disappear. This was complete hogwash.

Anyway, I just love the last line. Why else would I have kept the letter for eighteen friggin’ years. Connery thought it was poppycock as well.

 

 

To Shave Or Not To Shave

I know I talked about unshaven legs and armpits in a past entry (see: On the road again… geographically & professionally) but apparently I’m not finished.

I was shooting the shit with a fellow instructor at the Pilates studio today. “I just think the women should shave their legs before coming to see me. It’s irresponsible. I have to touch them. Would it be so horrible if at the very least they wore long work out pants?”

Her eyes bugged out. “Are you serious?” She said this with great disbelief. I thought she was kidding, so I reiterated.

“Yeah, I’m serious. Are you serious? I’ve got to feel that shit.” I think she was genuinely appalled at my seemingly intolerant attitude.

“I don’t think it’s such a big deal.” At which point I glanced down at her feet, only to see several hairs, the length of yard sticks, coming out of each of her big toes. Of course she didn’t think it was a big deal. I curled my lip.

“All I’m saying is, I think it’s socially unacceptable and in bad form.” I didn’t really feel this strongly and militant about it, but I had her hooked and wanted to see how far I could go.

She looked at me like I wanted kids who wore glasses to be rounded up and hauled off to some remote facility in Jersey. “I’m just a little shocked.”

I was confused. “You’re shocked that I’d be anti leg dreadlocks and armpit nests? Why? Because I believe in saving the planet, a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage, so you think I’d believe in letting it all hang out? You can’t lump me in with the, my body hair is au natural and therefore beautiful, line of thinking people. I am not that girl. C’mon. I don’t think it’s too much to ask to think about your trainer and ask yourself whether they want to get their hands all tangled up in that mess.” And with that my fellow trainer smiled and walked away. Ah, agreeing to disagree.

I’m all for letting your freak flag fly but there’s a time and a place. And if I’m busting my ass helping you to obtain your optimum lengthened and most ideal posture (which I’m happy to do) then please, clean it up, because it’s not the time nor the place.

What kind of society would be if we thought it was acceptable for women to go to their gynecologists for their pap smears without showering beforehand just because it went against their daily hygienic beliefs and they wanted to save water? I’m not a huge fan of the shower. I’ve gone a day (or seven) without bathing, but I would never forego washing and shaving before a pap, especially since my doctor’s going to be up close and personal with my hoo hoo. Have some compassion. It’s the same thing with Pilates. I want my clients to think of me as their Pilatecologist.

I understand the whole, free to be you and me feminist angle. Wait, no, I take that back. I don’t understand it, nor have I ever really thought about it. I only recently read about the Second wave feminists and I still don’t understand what the big hullabaloo is about. Do what moves you, speaks to you and resonates with you, but I implore you to leave the leg and armpit vines at home. Yes, I’ve heard that for some it’s a cultural and social mores issue. Great, social more all you want, at home, not in the Pilates studio.

I get it. Shaving is a personal preference, not unlike foregoing red meat, or choosing a standard versus an automatic vehicle. However, when it affects another person, i.e. me, get that friggin razor out and start mowing. I never thought of shaving as a social or man conceived idea either.

And I know that certain Mediterranean cultures don’t consider it essential for a woman to shave her legs. My parents were hippies in the 60’s. I know that the whole unshaved legs became a natural thing to do during the “hippy” movement. Okay, fine, but if you’re going to train with me, and you’re unshaven, you better have been playing in the mud at Woodstock or recently moved here from Greece.

Fuck it. I’m liberated and I shave. What does that mean? Jesus Christ, must everything we do or don’t do, be analyzed, and given some deeper meaning, label, or attributed to some flaw in ourselves or society? Hairiness is unrestrained animal sexuality. Shaving keeps women in a state of innocence. Shaving denies a woman’s visceral self. Huh? Long hair and beards are for dirty hippies. Dirty foreigner v. Clean American. Someone has a lot of time on their hands, thinking about all of this. And now I’m beginning to think her name is Dani.

I just reread the above. “Wow, why the rage?” For one, because I do think that people need to have regard for others. My other truth goes deeper. Not too deep, perhaps just beneath the surface. When I look at my current situation and what I’m doing now; training to be a Pilates instructor after 20 years in the entertainment business (hanging with Jennifer Love Hewitt and Courtney Love-and others named Love) touching hirsute women, I wonder, with a mix of sadness and disappointment, “How the hell did I get here?”

When I was kicking it with studio executives and performing stand up comedy at the World Famous Improv, I never thought I’d move back to New York and become a Pilates instructor. The questions of how and why force me to retrace my steps (and missteps) and mull over every decision I made, every opportunity I lost, and every fear I let cripple me. I think I’m still mourning a life that would never be (that of a 19 year-old rock star/playing Streisand during the Main Event years in the movie of her life/Vegas Showgirl) and perhaps I still have more work to do accepting what is. I’m no genius but maybe this has something to do with my less than tolerant attitude.

I apologize hirsute women, but I’m coming from Hollywood; pioneers in anal bleaching and vaginal rejuvenation. You’ll have to be patient with me. A couple of hours after my confrontation with my fellow instructor, I looked over at her client laying on the mat, and saw the woman’s armpit. Oh, dear lord, I wish I hadn’t. That woman could’ve been a man. This acceptance thing may take a while.