Grad Trip: Sleepwalking in Hollywood

I’ve wanted to go to L.A. my whole life, probably since I’ve longed to be a performer for as long as I can remember. When we were driving up from San Diego, it was almost unbearable. What ensued was an otherworldly adventure of highs and lows.


Day 1:

Mild traffic comes as pleasant surprise. Sunset strip. Check into The Standard. Freak out about awesome room. Get ready.


Night 1:
Take cab to Improv. Treat ourselves to delicious dinner & drinks. Spot Tyler Christopher. Maintain eye contact long enough to confirm his identity and text my GH fans at home. Amazing waitress tells us to line up for seating. First in line. Front row seats. Wait eagerly for 30 minutes. Warm-up comedian/poet takes stage. Announces Russell Brand. RUSSELL BRAND!!!!!! Eye contact. After hour and a half, faces hurt from laughing so hard. Wait forever for sketchy cab. Cab driver speaks to himself in foreign language. Back to hotel in one piece. Moon over spectacular night. Sleep.


Day/Night 2:
Breakfast in hotel restaurant. Get ready. Drive to Burbank. Conan check-in. Wait for hours in what appears to be a human cattle drive. Rounded up to walk to studio. See limo on the way. Look inside open window. Charlie Sheen. Accidentally and immediately laugh. CS: “Thanks, man!” Wait more. Walk more. Third row of Conan studio. Wait more. Opening act makes us laugh. Band comes out. LaBamba serenades us. Andy comes out. Show starts. We cheer. Conan comes out. We cheer louder. Next hour: Conan, laughing, Natalie Portman, Chris Pratt, more laughing, more Conan. Show ends. Conan sings to audience. Walk back to car riding incredible high. Hotel. Room service. Sleep.


Day 3:

Leave wonderful hotel. Cruise Hollywood Boulevard. Walk portion of Walk of Fame. Check out Kodak and Chinese Theatres. Walk more Walk of Fame. Leave L.A.

I realized I could never shorten our L.A. experience to one entry unless I left out a large portion of description, and I’m okay with that. Besides, I’ll have some fresh stories to tell everyone in person.

I will say this: Los Angeles is an alternate universe. I found on leaving that I simultaneously loved and hated it. The absolute drive for power behind the culture was captivating, but the pretentious adults complaining a row behind me at The Improv were obnoxious. The mixture of rich and poor, famous and everyday, was beautiful, while the road rage and homelessness was ugly. I was terrified in some moments but fueled by pure excitement in others. At the end of the day, the sounds of Sunset coming through our open balcony door rocked me to sleep. Maybe we’re in a dysfunctional relationship, Hollywood and me.

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