The other night I went to dinner at the home of The Hollywood Advisor, “Jason” who owns a little cabin (“Worst home in Malibu” his wife calls it) nestled into a canyon, mockingly rustic, but worth millions.
They had just returned, from their yearly six-week jaunt across several continents. The family skied in Switzerland for a few days, then dad flew them to Peru, and they ended up in Brazil and came back home to Malibu.
“By the way, the food sucks in Peru. Bourdain is fucking wrong,” Jason told me.
Wife is Selena, a toned, Bulgarian born woman in her late 40s fond of red wine and yoga. Her stunning daughter Samanatha is 13 and goes to school at a private academy near the Pacific. The boy, Igor, is also handsome and quite scientific, showing off his new telescope on the back deck within the gurgling sound of the creek.
The aura of the evening, sounds, on paper, relaxing, yet Jason, who directed an Oscar winning film in 2000, had clenched teeth and some annoyance at what’s been happening with his life. He was tense, perhaps because he strictly abstains from alcohol.
“This whole town is fucking nuts. I take meetings, sometimes two a week, and I meet with A list people, and then projects seem to get off the ground, and I’m attached for big bucks, and then they pull the rug out from under me,” he told me as he stir fried tofu and organically harvested shrimp.
A doorbell rang and Jason commanded aloud, “Alexa open the front door!”
The front door opened by wireless butler, and in walked Carla, a tall, long-haired actress in her early 40s who was carrying a small white dog in her arms. The dog and the actor excited Selena who hadn’t said a word to me yet ran up to Carla and the dog and embraced them.
“Do you love Fergie? Isn’t she amazing?” Carla asked blue-eyed Samantha.
“Yes! She’s like the most amazing dog ever!” Samantha responded.
Selena, the wife, who had been curled up on the sofa, jumped up and asked Carla if she wanted something to drink.
“Do you have any red wine?” Carla asked.
“Yes, try this. It’s so amazing!” Selena said as she poured two-buck chuck into a glass.
Selena patted Carla’s hair. “I love your hair. The color is so amazing.”
“Thank you. I go to Ronnie. Your guy in Venice. He is so amazing,” she said.
“I know. He is just like the most amazing haircutter ever. Amazing,” Selena said.
“Is Pushkin coming?” Carla asked.
“He’s supposed to,” Jason responded.
Pushkin was their friend, a 5’6, NJ born, reality TV producer who reinvented himself mid-life, painting $7,000+ artworks out of Crayola crayons, which featured renderings of 6 foot high, childlike disciplinary commands from grade school, “I promise not to throw spit balls in class!” which were drawn 20 or 30 times on one oversized canvas and were now beloved by all of Abbot Kinney and that 30ish crowd from the Church of Amazing.
“Pushkin just spent $40,000 on succulents at his new house! And then they had to rip them all out because his new girlfriend hates them,” Jason said as if he were recounting a story of horrific tragedy.
“This is my buddy from Reseda,” Jason said to Carla, introducing me.
“Oh hello! I heard about you. Don’t you do watches or something? You design them and sell them online?” she asked.
I had given Jason a wristwatch in November, which somehow was now on Carla’s wrist. “I love this! Jason gave it to me! It’s your company right?” she asked.
It was the watch I had given Jason as a gift, which he re-gifted to Carla.
It was like that with Jason, you found out about something he did by accident, his duplicity was never an outright lie, just an omission of fact. You were never quite aware of the whole honest story with him.
A few years earlier we had been together on a Sunday morning for breakfast in Santa Monica. I asked him what he was up to for the rest of the day. “Oh, nothing. Probably go home and crash on the couch,” he said. A few days later on Facebook were photos of his daughter’s birthday party that day with some of our mutual friends.
“It’s such an amazing watch. I wore it to the art show and Pushkin complimented it. If Pushkin likes it, it must be gorgeous!” Carla told me.
We nibbled at various small plates that Jason produced. He was enamored of a certain French butter that came in a small straw tub and he insisted we all dip our potato chips into the butter and savor its exquisite foreignness.
“This butter is amazing!” Carla said.
Selena and Samantha also dipped their potato chips in and said, almost in unison, “Oh my God. This butter is amazing.”
Carla spoke about her home in Sardinia and she invited Jason and his family to come visit her in July. “We probably will stop over in Sardinia because we are going to Egypt, Russia and Japan in August.”
“Do you think Pushkin will be in Sardinia too?” Carla asked.
“I know he is going to the art show in Rome so I assume he will be able to go. But “The Slob” is going into production in August so I’m not sure he will be able to.
“The Slob” was a new reality show with Britney Spears where she transformed slobs into stylish men and women. It was, sadly, going to be Pushkin’s final Executive Producing job in Hollywood. His art career was taking off, and he was starting to sell each Crayola creation for $15,000.
“I think the concept is so fucking brilliant. I mean it’s so amazing to take a slob and make him look great. Only Pushkin would think of that!” Jason said.
We drank a few more glasses of wine and then Jason took out a jar of olives. “Try these. They are so amazing!” he said.
Towards the end of the evening, Igor came up to me, rather empathetically, and asked if I wanted to look up at the moon through his high-powered telescope.
We went out onto the deck and peered into the heavens, contemplating a universe above and beyond Los Angeles.