We had a good, relatively uneventful drive down on Monday. I wound up taking the lion's share of the driving, and even took us over the infamous grapevine - without realizing I had cruise control, no less. (It would have been a lot easier with the cruise, as the grapevine has stretches of steep climbing that alternate with level parts - so I'd find myself going slowly up, then suddenly tearing along at 90 when it leveled off.) Overall, I kinda drove like a bat outta hell anyway - my excuse is that the other drivers were going as fast (and some even passed me) and also that I5 is like Texas roads - long, straight, and barren, which together made me want to just get there already. Plus, the van is a v-6 with tons of pickup - it just wants to spring forward. So we made pretty good time.
We checked into our little hotel and decided to wander down Hollywood Blvd to see what was going on. We stopped into a pool hall (excuse me, a "billiards club") for a couple of games of bad pool. Jovino and I are pretty well matched as far as being lousy pool players, but I don't care. Bad pool is just as much fun as good pool, in my book - and less competitive too.
After talking for a while back at the room, we fell into bed and I tried not to fret about the next day's appointments, checking out the various makeup artist schools. I have been plagued by doubts lately. I know for sure that I want to do it, but which school should I invest my savings in? I tossed and turned for hours. I am just about to the point of making a kaiser appointment to deal with my ongoing insomnia issues. It often plagues me, and sometimes I think I would do anything just to be able to sleep when I need to, despite my concerns about dealing with the medical approach. I'm inching ever closer, every time I waste hours awake when I really need my sleep (and energy) for the day ahead. I don't know.
Tuesday dawned, earlier than I'd have liked. I got up with just enough time to quickly shower, do a little makeup (I figured I shouldn't go in barefaced) and hit the road. Fortunately for me, Jovino had taken me on a little tour of the schools on our way into town. This was SO thoughtful of him! He'd remembered me saying that I usually only get lost if I haven't been somewhere before, but once I've seen someplace, I'm fine. So he drove us past both places where I'd scheduled appointments, and we talked about the best way to navigate between them. I felt so loved - and it turned out to be a total lifesaver, as I hauled my tired ass over to the first appointment. I sure did appreciate his thoughtfulness in doing it when it would have been so much easier to just go straight to our hotel and settle in. He's a wonderful partner!
I arrived at the first place (only a bit late) and toured the school, then met with the founder. This meeting was not what I'd expected as she wound up almost grilling me on what my plans were and how ambitious I was. At one point I asked her if she thought that there was something wrong with wanting to work on regular people, or did I have to want to put makeup on models and movie stars to be worth training. She seemed to appreciate this, and I do understand her point - her school is expensive, and the training extensive, and it might take some time to make back the investment of money (and time - it's a *10 week* program.)
Afterwards, I sat in the van, made some notes, then headed off to the next school. Before the trip this school was actually looking like the most likely candidate, as it was less money and less time, and it seemed to cover most of the same things as the more expensive school. Although, I was rather taken aback to discover that it was located in a strip mall in Burbank. Hmm.
I arrived and was met by their admissions person. She showed me around, then wanted to know what questions I had. I asked a few basic questions, but was already starting to feel unimpressed by this school. For one thing, the staff all seemed overly made-up, and in a rather cheesy style too. (Remember Merle Norman?!) The admissions person (whose makeup was just not well done at ALL - she should take the class she's selling!) actually exclaimed to me "you're into makeup - but you wear so little! I guess your passion is putting it on other people?" I responded, "well, it's daytime..."
...and besides, my current hair color is "I'm about to add the funky dye" platinum blond - you just really can't wear a lot of dark makeup with really light hair. It looks like crap. Not even slutty, just plain bad (Unless, of course, you are trying to be punky, or at least it's night time.) In fact, I can hardly wait to switch back to my more usual vivid hair - it's just not fun for me to have to be so pastel. But I figure I should use this as a learning opportunity to better understand how to do makeup for very light hair before I let myself go back to pink or burgundy. ; )
Also, they seemed to make a huge deal of their founder's Hollywood film work - the office had bronze face casts of such stars as Clark Gable, Bruce Lee, and Angelina Jolie. (Yes, next to each other.) I was not impressed by this - but then again, I'm just not starstruck. I mean, sure, it's cool - but if you really want to sell me on your school, why not show me work your students have done?
Then, I was given the opportunity to talk to a former student who was working for them. She was enthusiastic and friendly (of course) but a couple of the things she said turned me off this school completely. The biggest one was this: "you have to forget everything you think you know about makeup and learn our method."
A big part of what appeals to me about this kind of work is that it is creative. I have already come up with what I think is a pretty clever innovation in how to get lipstick to wear longer, and I imagine that I'll likely come up with more of my own ways of doing things. At least I hope so. I think that in any creative endeavor, to be told that there is only one right way to do something is the kiss of death. It should be about the results! And I am not willing to sublimate my creativity to someone else's idea of what is right and wrong. So much for that school! (Also, compared to the one I'd been to earlier, it seemed hopelessly rinky-dink.)
I thanked them for the tour and hopped back into the van. What to do? The school I'd just visited was right out. The good school was crazy expensive, and the idea of spending 10 weeks in LA was really unappealing. Hmm. Well, I needed to grab some groceries to stock the little fridge in our room. I didn't want to just hit up 7-11 and it hadn't occurred to me to bring snacks or trail bars. Next time I know I'll remember!
Driving around in search of a grocery store was getting frustrating. I know nobody walks in LA, but doesn't anybody cook in LA either? I was just about to give up when I spotted a deli/grocery - next door to yet another makeup academy, and one whose name was familiar to me as the founder also has a line of stage makeup. I parked and hopped out to take a look.
This place seemed much more together and serious than the previous one (their students actually wear white lab coats, and the makeup studio seemed quite well appointed) but I still was not sold... mostly because their focus was primarily on makeup for film and television, which isn't what I'm looking for. I was certainly glad to talk with them for comparison's sake, though.
What to do? Well, I don't have to decide right away. Much to think about.
As a side note... while I was driving back from the 2nd school, my cel phone rang. I don't always take calls when I'm on the freeway, but callerID informed me that my ex Peter was on the line. He is notoriously hard to get ahold of, and besides, if I answered I'd be able to tell him that I was driving on the LA freeways *right then*! You know I had to do it. It turned out that he'd called to tell me he and his new wife are expecting a baby (I'd actually guessed that was what it was as soon as I saw it was him calling - and then he said "I wanted to tell you before you hear it from someone else" that clinched it - also, I could just hear it in his voice.)
When I told him where I was, he said "cool! Ram someone for me, ok?" Since I was in my own vehicle, I said "how about I just flip someone off for you" and he said that would be fine... so I did it right then and there!
I have to admit that I am totally not shocked or surprised by this news, and in fact I look forward to seeing how this unfolds for them. They are both such "type-a" always in control people, that I think the whole experience of having a kid (especially as smart, determined, and wiley kid as the two of them are likely to produce) will be really good for them both.) I'm really delighted for them! So that was a nice little interlude.
Jovino had spent the day at an art museum, and we reconnected and then hit up Melrose street for some shopping and hanging out together. Of this, all I can say is: Thank God for Serious! They were the one shop I wanted to be sure to hit up, and they did *not* disappoint. Not only do they have fun clothes at reasonable prices, but I am about a Medium in their stuff, and in many of the other stores my size 8 ass would be about an XXL! (In other words, I'd rip out anything I had the temerity to try on.) As expected, Serious did me right. Yay, new hoochy outfit!
It was starting to get dark, so we drove back to the hotel, and grabbed some yummy Thai food from a nearby place. Back in the room, we checked out the LA Weekly and various websites, looking for something fun to do. The best bet seemed to be Boys' Night Out at Circus Disco. We changed and grabbed a taxi.
Circus, formerly the Ice Palace(!) turned out to be a cavernous space filled with mostly chill, friendly guys and a few women. It was ok, but nothing special, until I suggested we check out the upstairs lounge. We found a small room with an unassuming looking DJ presiding over a packed and very happening dance floor. DJ Sal was dropping a lot of current hip hop/clubby booty music, artfully mixed and cut up. Woo! We found ourselves a spot on the crowded (but very friendly) dance floor, and there we remained for the rest of the night. AWW YEAH! I have to say this was the hilight of our trip.
2 am came too soon, and we effusively praised the DJ (slipping him some cash as well) before heading out into the night to grab a taxi home. In turn, he gave us his latest mix CD, which had many of the mixes he was dropping in the club! Thank you DJ Sal! You have two new fans.
The next morning we were rudely awakened at an early hour by the sound of pounding hammers overhead. Ugh. Checkout time was 11:30 - double ugh! We'd been considering staying over for one more night, but thoughts of being awakened the same way again clinched it - we'd hit the fashion district fabric shops and then the road. Next time we're staying at the Standard - or with friends!
Unfortunately, I found myself feeling really queasy and feverish shortly after we parked in the district. I got some tasty Indian food, but could barely make myself eat anything. Nevertheless, I insisted on walking around and seeing the fabric shops, but sadly felt way too out of it to buy anything. Too bad, because the prices for fake fur were roughly half what they charge up here. Around 4 we hit the road. Jovino drove most of the way home, but eventually I recovered enough to take the wheel for the last leg of the trip. As soon as we got over the grapevine I started to improve. His theory is that I was having an allergic reaction to LA itself, and getting out of town helped. I'm just glad it went away as quickly and mysteriously - and quickly - as it came. It's good to be home. I'm SO happy to be back in Oakland!