Today was a relaxing day. I traveled down to Venice to visit a family friend named Gena who lives literally 30 seconds from the beach. Ok, a word on LA. I can't think of anywhere else in the world where 30 minutes in one direction is gangs shooting each other, 30 minutes in another is the most expensive housing development on the planet, in another 30 minutes is the global center of entertainment, and 30 in another is the beach. It is a bizarre world I live in.
Anyway, this friend's house is very cool, not very big but perfect for someone who's single who doesn't mind giving up space for living on the frigin beach. Gena's apartment has this little outdoor area where we sat and had a beer to catch up and inside it feels like any summer house on Lake Winnipesaukee. We then took our short stroll to the beach and I got to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean, checking off one of those life goals, even if the water was a good deal colder than you would think for Southern California. We then took a walk down to see muscle beach and all the fun things there is to do on the more touristy bits of Venice Beach. It's sort of like Miami except in Miami's case the city was being built with an eye toward making it look pretty, since it was meant to be a tourist destination from the get go. Venice on the other hand used to be a crack haven and thus there a tons of weird little shops and vendors everywhere and lots of basketball courts, bike paths and the like. I will say that the city of LA has done a good job of making sure there's really something for everyone. Gena was then kind enough to treat me to lunch where we promptly took a pic of palm trees to send to my mom to make her jealous (this was Gena's idea and not mine). All in all, it was a nice diversion from the normal job search and it was nice to see a friendly face. I was also very proud coming back because the 405 was jammed all the way to Santa Monica and I've been here long enough that I knew I could get off at Santa Monica Blvd and drive to Beverly Hills where I could take Coldwater Canyon. That doesn't mean anything to most everyone, but I gave myself a little pat on the back.
Anyway, I was home for about an hour before I went out again to Hollywood to catch Eric of http://theimprovstudent.com/ was having a birthday improv show and celebration. The show itself was interesting for me, as it was longform and was only a two person show, two things I have very little experience with. Afterward we went to Gillians "pub" on Hollywood Blvd which is an odd place. All the waitresses are dressed like it's Hooters and all the beers are 3 dollars. $3! I had a beer and met some of Eric's other classmates and improv buddies, all of whom were very friendly and very interested to hear about classes at the Groundlings. The longer I'm here the more I'm realizing that the Groundlings has a bit of a rivalry with the other improv theaters in town and has a bit of a reputation for being an overly competitive SNL factory. Which I guess is good and bad. I mean, usually when your competitors dislike you it means you're doing something right, but on the other hand all the troupes have their own systems that work for them. I happen to be drawn to the Groundlings' more short-form and character based improv, while others might prefer long form. It's really a matter of personal preference. Anyway, I had fun tonight and met some new faces, always a good sign.