Diary Of A Hollywood Refugee

Monday, January 03, 2005

I Am A Hollywood Refugee

So many people have asked me why I left Hollywood.

On 9/11 we entered into self examination and re-examination - but for me this self examination happened several years earlier and was instrumental in my decision to leave Hollywood, and "the Biz" after having spent 9 yrs in LA, and almost 15 yrs in the film entertainment industry.

The more real I got the more unreal everything around me in Hollywood seemed. The shallowness that was so prevalent wore thin.

I like musicians, actors, people, music, tv, films, and books that engage me emotionally, psychologically and intellectually as well as sexually. I like both emotional and intellectual availability in people. The Strokes and Phantom Planet are two bands that I like because they speak to me in all those ways.

They have a Lou Reed /Velvet Underground quality to them and their music, an authenticity that is refreshing in these times of manufactured stars. And these guys are cute! If you can engage my mind and your hott as well, I am going to go crazy over you!

Pop culture and Hollywood are both seductive forces; there is a glamour to Hollywood and to celebrity that can be very seductive and also very dark.

Hollywood, like Fame, is a Pandora's box where both beauty and ugliness pour forth.

Success is unattainable or fleeting and today's IT LIST celeb soons finds his/her way onto tomorrows shit list; "friends" are transient, spirituality is kept hidden, vulnerability will destroy you, your ego will battle with your Soul for control over you, the world constantly wants a piece of you, even when there is nothing left for you to give and those lurking in your shadow constantly seek to usurp your fame.

"In Bees As Honey Drown" Alexa Vere De Vere reminds us that some choose to settle for
"fame without achievement, to seek tangible rewards first and then go through the motions of art to get them. Wanting fortune and fame, they put all their efforts into attracting money and attention and applause, rather than cultivating talent, all in the hopes of expanding the"self" with popularity and status."
Hollywood demands perfection, accepts mediocrity and celebrates failure.
It's so easy for todays celebs to lose favor with an audience, fans, and the media, and if that's their measure of "self" (the fans, the buzz of the media,the trappings of fame) then what do most have left when that disappears?

We all love to hear the buzz that drives the swarm of the media, but rarely does anyone want to watch as bees in honey drown.

Under the glaring spotlite of celebrity it's hard to find and connect with anything that's real.

My non-Hollywood friends, who I had known for years, suddenly wanted me to open the curtain for them to access this inner sanctum they believed I was privy too. And while I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I enjoyed then, and still do enjoy today, the perks that Hollywood offers to those who are a part of it, like my favorite dessert, it can never truly nourish or sustain me. And while I still get to enjoy those perks, I do so while living away from the glaring spotlite, away from the daily grind of dealing with egos and icons; I do so from a safe distance, from the place I am now.

But even at this safe distance, the glaring intense spotlight that the celebs I know and associate with sometimes choose to bask in, can still be blinding to me. The irony is that while celebs love the attention the spotlight brings them, believing that the attention connects them to many people, more often than not it creates a state of isolation, separation, and distrust.

And what loneliness is more lonely than distrust?

And for those of us who work or worked in the business of Hollywood and found themselves on the perimeter of the spotlight daily, the results are or were often the same.

I met a popular rock icon years ago at a bar owned by celeb friends, that he chose to work in- althoough he didnt need the money . He was suffering through a creative block and it was clear that he was conflicted about the bands new found fame and what the spotlight of celebrity was doing to him creatively and personally.

One of my favorite songs, "The Long December", expresses the downside of fame beautifully. "Its one more nite up in the canyons...its one more nite in Hollywood..if you think I could be forgiven..wish you would..the feeling that its alot of oysters but no pearls, all at once you look across a crowded room, and see the way the "light attaches" to a girl"(you can subsitute guy/celeb).

Remy Zero's CD which features" Save Me" - Smallville 's theme song- seems to be about stardom in Hollywood and what it does to people. Songs like "Save Me""Hollywood High", "Improbability" and the hidden track "Sub Balloon" all seem to express the conflicts and challenges that are inherent once this Pandora's Box is opened.

When the spotlite gets too big and too bright; when the light that shines on a celeb gets too intense; they need friends around them to keep them grounded and to deflect the light away from them.

But that state of distrust, that I mentioned before, sometimes keeps those much needed friends at bay.

The LA scene feeds itself- but it's not the scene I ever really had trouble with. The scene is what it is - you wanna play in it's waters - you learn to swim with the sharks and I swam with the best of them.

Where I had a problem is with what happens to some people under the glare of the spotlite who choose celebrity over integrity in their personal lives. That was hard on me then and still is even at this safe distance.

During my 9 years in Hollywood I was privileged to work with and befriend wonderful, successful, talented people, some of whom are still a part of my life today, but in the end I realized that I saw far too many devils in that angel town, and I knew I had to escape.

That's why I became- and still remain- a Hollywood Refugee.



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