Hello friends back Stateside and elsewhere, As promised, here is an extended account of my amazing Land of Oz Roadtrip in photographic form!
I am now on my third week of real post-grad-school life. Just kidding. It’s more like Here is the highlights reel of Dani’s life post-graduation. I was going to do a graduation post but the sweetest best friend a girl … Continue reading
People are all,
“Heeeey Britt, it’s so cool that you’re a Big Time LA actor these days. Your life must be soooo exciting and glamorous. Show us a little bit of that Red Carpet Slice O’ Life!” **
To which I say:
(I’ve seen the edge of my Soul and it is Dark.)
**actually, I’m pretty sure no one has ever said this, ever.
**But, I am wrong, and you have in fact said this, or want to say this, please approach me. You are good for my ego and I love you.
…Well, I suppose that TECHNICALLY this is my 29th trip around the sun, but Earth Culture assures me that I am 28 years of age. My Saturn is returning. And all that stuff. Planetary. Thank you, Neil.
And now, today, on this, the 4th Day of the Month of May (it rhymes!), about 7 weeks after my actual, special Friday-the-13th birthday (whoops), and about 970 weeks since my last post (sorry), here are a few things to catch you up on in the incredibly not-boring goings-on of my life:
1.) I’ve got Homes in Different Zip Codes.
Read as: “Vagabond”.
I currently reside in Park La Brea, Altadena and Echo Park (I promise you I am not joking), with pit-stops in places like Culver City, Silverlake, and Hancock Park in between. What can I say? My sterling house-sitting reputation precedes me. As a wandering artist subletting her room, I am not complaining.
2.) Continuing on with the vagabond theme: I’ve been on more airplanes this year than ever. (And I hate flying.)
… I think I’m getting better at the whole flying thing, though. I’ve got a supplement-popping, face-covering, booze-in-flight drinking system that works for me, so don’t worry about it.
‘Cuase let’s be real. I’m not flirting with that bitch mono again.
I just got back from Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson, where Birds of Neptune won the award for Best Dramatic Feature!! Holy CRAP! And if that wasn’t an honor enough, the film was also selected to screen again on the final night of the festival for the “Best of Fest” celebration. …An encore screening? Yes, please!! Thank you, Tucson! 😀
Up next on the festival trail? Mammoth Lakes Film Fest at the end of the May. Hopefully you’ll be seeing me all over the globe promoting this film. This is just the beginning! 😀
WOOOOAAAA! I am on cloud 9 from this, truly. Tucson was such a special, surreal, magical place, and this recognition is such an incredible honor.
5.) I still self-employed and loving it.
6.) Dani and I went aboard The Queen Mary to witness the marriage of our dear college friend Hillary:
…Which made me think that perhaps I should live on a boat at some point in my life. Because, COME ON.
So, basically — Two Evil Actors, the Content Creators, are stampeding your way SOON, betch!! Mark my words! FEAR US!
8.) I am writing a lot of music these days. I hope to record my stuff later this year, so I will keep you posted on that. All of this material is all super personal to me so it is SCAAAAARY. Which obviously means that I have to do it. 9.) Speaking of recording music, I had the opportunity to record music with my very talented brother for the first time in March.I was lucky enough to be in Seattle for an audition when my brother Nate and my cousin Cameron were recording the first EP for Nate’s music duo, NW Passage. (Think of Nate Harris as the Ryan Lewis to NW Passage’s Macklemore. He is a genius.) They asked me to record vocals on some of the tracks. It was SO fun.
Look! Cute photos of me and bro in the studio!
10.) STILL speaking of recording music– I have finished recording basic vocals for the first No Vanquished album! It won’t be long now ’til we release and UNLEASH this music into the world!
And I am in a constant state of reconciling this emotional and geographical dissonance.
12.) I took a few covert Portland visits this year to feed my heart.
Short and sweet and sad, it hurts me a bit to come back to Portland now. It confuses me and makes me wonder where I am supposed to be. I don’t think it will always be that way, but…. what is it they say in that one song?
Yeah, something like that.
Anyway. My heart is in Portland. Y’all knew that.
13.) Surprise, Mom! I got a new tattoo. I was born ass-first on Friday the 13th (it ALL makes sense now, right?!) and my birthday happened to fall on Friday the 13th this year. So, naturally, I needed to get a Friday the 13th tattoo.
I must note that Dani and our good friend and housemate Raisa got Friday the 13th tatts that day as well. Because we are part of a gang.
14.) I am officially the USC MFA program’s biggest stage-mom. I could not be more proud of my Dani, who recently completed her THREE SHOW REP (AND NY & LA Showcase!), each of which, I saw two times. Trust me, I would have seen these shows every night they were running if I could clone myself. This girl inspires me everyday. True to her nature and talent, Dani killed it in each show with every character she lived in, but her portrayal of Nina in The Seagull especially took my breath away.
Nina is SUCH a difficult role to nail, you guys, and it takes a REALLY gifted, insightful, brave, and effective actor to be able to play the arc of this role. It was one of the most incredible performances onstage I have ever seen and I wish I could show each and every one of you her incredible work. I feel stupid even talking about it because I can’t quite find the words to quite articulate how much I look up to my best friend and how proud of her I am.
So, I’ll just dumb-it down by saying: “YOU ARE AMAZING, DANI!!”
15.) As if the film fests I am already going to haven’t been enough, I decided to party-crash a good chunk of the Newport Beach Film Festival with my new Aussie friends that I met at the Arizona International Film Fest.
I drank a lot and ate a lot and consumed 7 s’mores at one event and had a very nice time, thank you.
Also, I felt fancy.
16.) I am really itching to travel. I hope that the stars align to grant me an international trip (or five) this year. I think the odds may be in my favor.
(Come on, come oonnnnn Birds of Neptune International Premiere..!!)
17.) I’ve decided that I really want a pet but am truly TOO VAGABONDY and poor to be a good dog or cat mom (see #1 & #2 above).
18.) SO I’ve made many new dog friends around town. (Also my ulterior motive for all of the house-sitting I do.)
21.) Okay… uhh.. god… thinking of 28 things is actually pretty hard… let’s see, um.. ….I’ve been eating a LOT of pizza lately? Like, a lot?
25.) Okay, let’s get real here for a second. Because 2EA believes in that shit.
After all, we are real humans with real feelings.
So… sigh. Okay.
Though the external evidence of this post may suggest otherwise, I have a pretty sad heart right now. For the first time in, well, ever, I am unclear of what is next. My internal compass, which is usually pretty strong, is not so strong right now. I don’t know what it’s supposed to mean or what I am supposed to do. I feel sad and scared and slightly stupid. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain and weird to talk about. Depression has been a thing. Top Tier / Grade A / Boss-Level Heartbreak has been a thing. Crippling anxiety spiral has been a thing.
And yet, here I am. Still bravely loving, still going hard at my dream, still refusing the conventional day job…
I am doing my best. I know that one day I’ll crack the happy code. One day I won’t feel so misplaced and scattered and alone-on-an-island-y.
Luckily, I have learned more about myself and what I truly want out of life during these weird heart times. I’ve had to make some really hard decisions, decisions that more often than not have left me with the exact opposite outcome of what I thought I wanted, and through this, I am learning to trust. I am learning to trust my instincts and the order of the Universe. I am learning to breathe into my decisions and into my follow-through. To tell those I love that I love them. To not expect anything back. To be vulnerable. To be a voice of reason. To be a hard-ass. To be a softy. To be what I need for myself in this moment. To acknowledge that no one and nothing is forever, yet allow myself to take comfort in the feeling that some people and some things never truly leave.
Perhaps knowing what I want has somehow made the path I travel seem more indirect or treacherous. Maybe I’ve finally realized the true challenge of committing myself 100% to living the life I want. This is not a life of allowing cop-outs and stifling my feelings and feeling obligated and beating myself up. I realize now that there is nothing more challenging (and more important) than taking care of myself and taking care of my sweet dear heart in the same way that I wish to take care of those I love. It’s no easy thing.
And let’s be real, being a human is just fucking hard.
26.) I’ve also had the feeling that this year may be the kick-off to some very important self-discovery:
I’ve discovered that I feel the most myself when I am on the move. In transit. Exploring. Adventuring. Wandering (I’m sure you’ve picked up that vibe in this post so far). This is also when I feel the most lonely.
There is still so much to discover within myself and sometimes (most of the time) that internal terrain is so rocky. I cry every time I am in an airport. Every. TIME. It’s an odd feeling: always leaving the ones I love, always coming back, this weird ping-pong sensation — but there is truly no feeling that compares to the huge hug feeling from a loved one upon arrival or departure — that pure happycryjoy or happycrylonging –that is the shit that makes me feel alive.
Sweet sweet incredible Dani threw me a surprise party the night of my birthday in March and I seriously had no idea. I felt so loved.
28.) Let me say it again: I have the very best friends in the world. We build slip-n-slides in our backyard out of trash bags, tarp, and baby oil.
In closing, so far, 28 is looking like this: A little bit scary. A lotta bit fun. I may accidentally sprain an ankle trying to get a running start down that Big Slippery Blue Tarp of Life, or belly flop in a way that fucking HURTS and knocks the wind out of me, and I may cry about it for a while, or curl up in the fetal position for a sec, but I will always get up.
And, let’s just call it like we see it, folks: Really. I don’t even take that shit off for slip-n-slides.
Thank you for reading, friends. And for your love and support in my life. You keep me going. ❤
And now, for the portion of the blog where Britt and I tell you THE MOTHAFUCKIN’ FUTURE. The FUTURE, biotches. We know what you’re thinking. “Okay, 2EA is back. What the hell are they doing?” Great question. We have no … Continue reading
To the middle-aged pilot dude who I sat next to on United flight 5484 on January 6, 2015**
((**No, I was not sitting in the cockpit. Although that would’ve been rad.))
I just wanted to thank you for the awesome career advice you gave me. Because you dated an actress that one time you totally know everything there is to know about being an actor, and you were so insightful to recognize that I’m not actually a real actor. Seriously, thank you so much for calling me out! You’re totally right! You’ve never seen me on a TV show, and I am definitely not famous, so I am definitely not an actor! Why doesn’t anyone else get that? I am a total fraud! It was also super thoughtful of you to do this while I was trapped in a metal death cage hurtling through the air and strapped to the seat next to you, so I couldn’t escape the conversation. Normally, I would tried to set you on fire, or set myself on fire, or set anything that happened to be near me on fire, but since I couldn’t take my lighter through security I was safe from that fate, and I was able to really listen to your wisdom. Oh! And I know you were asking me about who took my headshots, because apparently your ex-girlfriend got her headshots taken by the “top photographer in LA,” so I just wanted to follow up and show you my headshot so you can either approve or disapprove of it.
I still am not sure who the “top photographer in LA” is, because I’m 95% sure that is not a thing that exists, but this shot was taken by Daniel Scherl, who has like a super pimped out resume and stuff. And this is just a test shot! I was just helping him test a new lighting setup! He’s like, really fucking good and stuff! APPROVE OF ME/HIM/US!! VALIDATE ME!! No? You’re just going to punch me in the soul with all of your dumb thoughts? Alright Mister Pilot. Hmmm now how can I prove to you that I am, in fact, an actor. I mean, you are totally right, I am not signed with CAA, the most influential agency in the universe, like your ex-girlfriend was, but I swear to you, the agency I was telling you about that was fool enough to sign me in the PacNW, Ryan Artists, is a real thing. I know you’ve never heard of them, but like, you’re a pilot, so that makes sense. They even got me a job this one time playing a nurse in a training video for a bunch of hospitals. AM I LEGIT YET?? Oh my God do you want to see my resume?? I acted onstage at the Lincoln Center once! I was in theatre companies and stuff! I can sing opera! I was in “Nunsense: The Musical” when I was a teenager!
Can I send you my taxes so you can see how poor I am too???
WHY WON’T YOU LET ME JUST SIT ON THE DAMN PLANE AND READ MY PAPERBACK IN PEACE?
((Ugh. I’m lying. I WISH a giant shark had taken down that plane and put me out of my misery, but unfortunately we were flying over land, so I was out of luck.))
Well Mr. Middle-Aged-Privileged-White-Pilot-Man-With-Impeccable-Knowledge-of-the-Entertainment-Industry-and-World, No, you have never seen me on your favorite TV show. No, I don’t have $2000 headshots and a big ole fancy douchey agent. But that doesn’t mean I’m not an actor.
You are right: baking a loaf of bread does not make you a “baker.” You can’t just wake up one morning and decide that you’re an “actor.” But once you’ve baked 10,000 loaves of bread, if you don’t have the courage to call yourself a baker, then you’re a fool. It doesn’t matter if someone hasn’t heard of your bakery.
I’m getting my goddamn Master’s degree in acting. I’ve spent at least 10,000 hours doing it in my lifetime. No one is going to give me the validation of calling me an actor except myself, and at this point in my life I have the self-respect to do just that. I’ve had this conversation too many times with too many people, and And you know what? Even if I HADN’T worked on acting for 10,000 hours, I WOULD STILL BE AN ACTOR. There are too many people in the world like you who want to invalidate the arts as a profession for us not to call ourselves actors and artists and writers. We don’t need your approval to be artists.
So forgive me for prioritizing my novel over your ignorant, judgmental commentary in the guise of fatherly advice, and forgive me for doing this at the end of our flight: Maybe if your stupid airline hadn’t canceled my original flight the day before because a STUPID PILOT landed at the wrong airport or delayed our flight today by two hours because the STUPID PILOT overslept, I wouldn’t have been up since 3:30 a.m. and totally incapable of human conversation. Although human conversation doesn’t seem to be your strong suit either, so I guess that’s cool. I hope that the next time you sit next to an actor on a plane, it’s a real actor, so you can have a real conversation. I mean Jon Hamm looks like he is flying mega-first-class, but still. Maybe you’ll get lucky.
All my love, Dani
P.S. To all of those actors/artists/writers who have sat through countless conversations with people who try to devalue or invalidate what you do, or who otherwise try to make you feel like an illegitimate human, here are a few suggestions on how to avoid these conversations in the future.
KA-BLAM! 2015! Things are going great. Your career is taking off. You’re sort of, almost, over your death-fear of airplanes. You’re in love a little bit. The RAC album is on loop in your head. You walk with swagger. You look fly as hell. Things are GOOD.
2015 is gonna be GOOD.
FUCK YOU, BETCH!! YOU GET MONO!! BWAAHHAAAA!!!
Mono. Mono?!?! I somehow have mono. Who even GETS mono anymore?! Is this not a middle school thing?! I’m a grown-ass woman! And, yes, thank you to Every-Person-Whom-I’ve-Ever-Told-That-I-Have-Mono, no, I’m not kissin a bunch of rando-s up in here. I know exactly where my mouth has been, thankyouforyourconcern. It’s just– AGHHHHH– how did this happen?! And could this have come at more terrible time?!
I remember saying to Dani sometime last year when I was going a million miles an hour and my life was hanging in a delicate balance of Crazy / Awesome (any given day): “Ha! You know who could never, EVER afford to get something like mono?!”
Fun fact. It took me 36 (or so) attempts to write this fucking post. Because I keep getting too tired. TOO TIRED TO LOOK AT A COMPUTER SCREEN and TYPE FOR A MINUTE. I will get through part of a sentence or a half a thought and then completely lose my will to live.
But that’s okay. I keep at it. I will finish this post purely because I’m a stubborn asshole. Persistence. I’ve got that in spades.
….What is the point of this post exactly? How will I know when it is over? Will I ever get through the tunnel of this sick-vortex? I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but all I know is that if I don’t finish this post today, THE MONO HAS WON.
But really. I feel like I’m a prisoner in my own body. I could get into the nasty, woeful details, but I feel snarky today so I’m going to take that as a good turning-point-in-my-health sign and go with it. All you need to know that this is Day 11 and this is hands-down the sickest I’ve been in my adult life. One night (Night 4, I believe), I was home alone and sincerely thought I was going to die. True story. (I didn’t.) (True story.) You also probably need to know that I’ve watched all of the episodes of Parenthood and cried into my pillow (and it SUPER hurts to cry but not as much as it hurts to eat and drink. And be idle. GodDAMN it hurts to be idle…) and called my mom practically every hour on the hour. Maybe you didn’t need to know that last bit, but there you have it anyway. Slice of patheticBrittsicklife.
I’ve been super lucky though. I have the best friends in the world. I’m fairly certain I would be dead right now if nursemaid Dani wasn’t here making me eat and taking me to the doctor and the pharmacy and writing with me and loving on me and saying encouraging things like, “you’re gonna make it, kid!”.
I just need to get stable before I take off on another jetplane on Friday. That is my goal.
But you know what guys, you know what?! I am still making genius art whilst on my death-bed! Dani and I shot this beautiful piece starring my hand and her dino set. It confronts the complexities of universal longing and interspecies love, as well as bravely tackles the issues of diversity, ignorance, and the thread that binds us all together (love). I hope you enjoy.
I hope that constitutes a “button” on the end of a barely-passable stream-of-consciousness sick post. You get what you paid for, betches. I woke up like dis. Pucker up, lemme kiss yaaa.
Super Mono Girl, OUT.
…the Twins are Back. Tell a friend.
Which do you like better? Our obnoxiously omniscient, loud (yet attractive) voices inside your head at all times as we litter the Interwebs by spewing our lives’ details all over the frickin place?
Or the beautiful, comforting silence of our absence?
Too bad. We are the going back to the loud option. NO ONE IS SURPRISED.
‘Sup bitches. It’s me again. Britt.
And me, Dani.
And we are Two Evil Actors.
As you may recall, in October of 2013, Britt moved to Los Angeles, and I peed my pants with excitement at her glorious arrival. And you were all thinking, “MY GOD THEY’RE IN THE SAME CITY NOW!! IT’S A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF TWO EVIL ACTORS POSSIBILITIES!!” And then we were all like… WE WERE TOO BUSY LOVING EACH OTHER TO WRITE. AND WE’RE SORRY.
But! Here’s what we’ve been doing while living together and being awesome.
2014 in Review
This is like our Christmas card to you. Except it’s late. DEAL WITH IT.
Dani fixes the garbage disposal
That’s right, bitches. I single-handedly took apart the sink, fixed it, and put it back together again. LIKE A BOSS. I will never do anything ever again that makes me respect myself more. Except for right now, when I fix it again, because it’s broken again. Exactly a year later.
Britt is unemployed for like nine-million years and plummets down a death-spiral of depression and angry clown dreams.
…Enough said. It was a rough month.
Dani stops thinking about the apocalypse and starts thinking about a bike tour
Yup. Like since that one time when we went to Aldo over the summer I’ve been obsessing about buying silver sparkly jelly shoes just for nostalgia. I don’t even think they are in stock anymore. Some other place might have them but it wouldn’t be the same. I want THOSE ones. They remind me of being six.
I think the point is, I think about being a kid, like, ALL the time. And wearing jelly shoes.
Exactly. Like that.
Well. For the years of 2012 and 2013, which is a solid two years of my life, and I mean ALL THE TIME AND ALMOST CONSTANTLY, I was thinking about the impending violent end of human civilization as we know it. You want to talk about dystopian literature with someone? I’M YOUR GIRL. You want to theorize about the many ways in which climate change might dramatically kill off large portions of the human population in the next 100 years? I HAVE IMAGINED THOSE SCENARIOS. It was a terrible mental habit, and yes I have a series of mostly-joking-but-really-I’ve-thought-this-through plans for surviving various scenarios, but I finally managed to break this habit! …By planning a 1500-mile bicycyle tour with a budget of $0.00 and having never done a bike tour before!
D, let’s be real. You were pretty much just finding an excuse to prepare for the apocalypse some more. But with bikes. My plan was to take about a month to ride the approximately 1500 miles from Portland, Oregon to Los Angeles, California with my post-apocalypse partner-in-crime Sister Suz.
So instead of constantly thinking about a food shortage or water war, I spent over half of 2014 wondering if I had enough gears on my bike and learning how to at least crudely repair every moving part on my bike. I rode hundreds and hundreds of miles. I spent hours at the Bike Kitchen. Starting in February, I thought about little else besides this trip.
Britt gets what she wished for and works a horrible corporate accounting job of death
Dani does Shakespeare’s worst play
Have you ever heard of “Pericles: Prince of Tyre”? Yeah that’s because it’s a bad play. They think that a couple of Shakespeare’s lackeys wrote it while drunk in a bar and then turned it in to Shakespeare and he was like, “What the fuuuuuu? Oh shit I don’t have time to fix this I’ll just add some pirates. Who wants shots??”
Britt turns 27. Her Saturn returns. Which, we hear, is good.
Dani becomes a valet
That’s right, I too have a menial service job. Now I’m OFFICIALLY an actor in Los Angeles. Turns out I’m really good at parallel parking. Please hire us to work your event. I’m poor.
Britt begins tutoring
You know what’s better than being an Internal Auditor? ANYTHING. Heh. Well. Specifically: Being a TUTOR! With kids! (Mostly big kids.) This job is so much fun, you guys. I work for the coolest company around (Quantum Tutors), I have the best boss in the History of Ever (Anna Clark), and sometimes I even get free food (Seder Dinner, yo!). Not only do I get to help students feel confident about themselves and their abilities, I get to up my Geek-Status a level or two (I teach math & SAT prep, people). It’s a win-win. Throughout the rest of 2014 I will work to try to tutor enough kids that I can leave my various accounting jobs behind. This is my quest. This is my goal.
Britt flies to Portland to witness the collegiate graduation of her little Not-So-Little bro
Go Pilots!! That’s TWO Harris Pilot Grads for the price of ONE! …Okay wooa wooaa that is definitely not true. UP, you made double-bank offa our tuition and infinite student loans. You’re welcome. Pilots till I die.
Britt does an E-Cig commercial and studies with Larry Moss. Not like those should in any way be lumped together. But I’m an evil actor, biatch. I lump what I want.
Unexpected lesson #274 that I’ve learned from being an actor. It is more painful to chain smoke electronic cigarettes for a single day while shooting a commercial than it is to chain smoke real cigarettes on the set of a feature length film for multiple weeks.
Unexpected lesson #275 learned from being an actor. If I look at a rock the wrong way I will start weeping uncontrollably.
It turns out Antigone is a really brutal play and it will get at all of your inner Freudian tragedy. It also turns out that Larry Moss is a genius acting teacher.
Dani and Britt witness Sister Suz graduate with an MSW in Wizardry.
Dani writes her first feature-length screenplay
It’s a coming-of-age story set in rural Idaho that forces a girl and a community to confront their old, stale beliefs about race and identity. I wrote it because I wanted to examine how racism is subtly ingrained in the majority mindset, and how microaggressions allow oppression to continue in more extreme ways. There are also jokes in it.
Britt performs at the Hollywood Fringe Festival
I worked on a parody of The Twilight Zone in which five episodes from the series were brought to life ON STAGE. There was a gremlin on the wing of an airplane, water was spat into Britt’s face, I heckled some audience members, more water was spat into Britt’s face, I wore a mask of my own face on my actual face (meta) and I just went from third person to first person twice to third person then back to first person and I’m not quite sure why. I also played a guy named Drunk Dino. He was my favorite.
Dani hikes 200 miles
See those two beautiful women? That is Sammi and Jenny, and they made a pact to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail (that goes all the way from Canada to Mexico) over the course of the next 7 years. Because they are the best humans in the world, they invited me along. In less than two weeks we hiked over 200 miles, which is about half the state of Washington. On multiple occasions, I thought my feet were going to fall off, but I discovered more internal strength than I ever thought possible and formed deeper friendships with these women than I ever thought possible. It was totally life-changing.
Britt and Dani get married (okay, Sister Liz does, but let’s avoid technicalities here).
In a fit of pure madness, Sister Liz included Dani and me in the group of women who would wear matching dresses and stand by her on her wedding day. Needless to say, everyone at the wedding reception was forced to “bend over and make their knees touch their elbows” to the sultry sounds of Lil Jon in his wedding classic “Bend Ova.”
Dani almost rides a bike
So by now I had rebuilt every moving part on my shitty used bike by hand with shitty used bike parts and jerry-rigged a trailer to go on the back of my bike. I had lost my travel-buddy Sister Suz to a job in Los Angeles, so I was going to do my first bike tour, 1500 miles, totally solo. (Anybody see any problems with this plan so far?) I created an instagram account called daniridesabike to document my journey.
And then, as you might expect, I had total equipment failure and was shut down before I could even really attempt it. My shitty beginners craftsmanship did not hold up to coastal winds and passing semi-trucks, and it became clear that the solo bike trip was a terrible, terrible idea.
Britt and Dani take a road trip
Luckily, I was driving back to Los Angeles in my sweet new ride (2003 Honda Accord, bitches!) and needed a driving buddy to talk about boys with and blast Beyonce. Dani was stuck in Portland with all her bike gear, so she hopped in. I always wanted to go to San Francisco and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge,
and I always wanted to go on a road trip with Britt,
And we were trying to figure out the perfect song to play as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at night with all its pretty lights.
Except Britt‘s phone wasn’t working and time was running out.
At the perfect moment, XO from Beyonce’s new album randomly came on and melted our brains BECAUSE WE LISTENED TO THAT SONG OBSESSIVELY AT NEW YEARS 2014. It was one of those perfect moments that is hard to describe. That song is what it feels like to be in love.
Which we are. *Sigh*
Dani hikes 100 miles
Once our badass road trip was over, I was pretty bummed. After all of that hopeful planning and preparation, for my bike trip, I had failed. Just straight up set a goal and failed miserably. I had nothing to do for a month and my mind was starting to return to its old habit of constantly daydreaming about the apocalypse. I needed to reset. So I did the logical thing. I bought a couple maps, tossed all my backpacking gear in the trunk, and drove to Mammoth Lakes, California. I set off on an 8-day, 100-mile, solo backpacking trip in the Inyo National Forest and Yosemite back country. Just me, my gear, and all this pretty:
Dani turns a Quarter Century OLD.
BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. We moved the couch to the backyard, had a little campfire, and drank much wine. All of my beautiful roommates handmade me beautiful gifts, and my beautiful Britt wrote me an amazing song and made everyone at the party sing it. I also ate 5 different kinds of gluten-free baked goods.
Dani starts rehearsing her Master’s thesis, The Three Play Rep
Britt joins a social-change punk-rock band
Britt moves into a REEAAAAL room! After a year of living in a fake one!
Okay okay so maybe these look exactly the same, but I PROMISE YOU I am a little bit more like an adult now because I have walls for walls and not sheets for walls. Also I have my own bathroom and shower and closet and kitchenette so THERE.
Britt celebrates her One Year LA-Versary
This was probably the most challenging year of my life and definitely the year of the most growth. I could not be more full of love for the people I have in my life and I’m so incredibly lucky to live under the same roof as my best friends. I win everything.
DAMN STRAIGHT. Britt freakin’ killed it this year and fought like a badass to work towards living the life she wants to live. I could not be more proud of my girl.
Britt is self-employed. AKA Professional Life Scavenger.
Step Two: Drive to Hollywood for a work meeting. 8 MILES
Step Three: Drive to Calabasas to tutor a student. 24 MILES
Step Four: Drive to San Pedro for rehearsal. 50 MILES
Step Five: Drive home to Echo Park to pass out. 26 MILES
Total-Distance-Driven-in-Britt’s-Average-Day: 120 MILES
Total-Waking-Hours-Of-Britt: 17 HOURS
Total-Taylor-Swift-Jam-Sessions-in-Car: CANNOT COUNT THE NUMBER. TOO HIGH.
Britt does a light classic Greek comedy.
You may have heard of this hilarious romp. It’s called Oedipus the King and it involves a lot of incest and self-mutilation. Apparently 2014 was not done making me do super brutal and Freudian Greek plays. Also, there is nothing quite like standing around outside in the rainy cold by the coast half naked and covered in body paint to teach you about commitment. THEATRE IS HARD PEOPLE.
Dani goes to Russia
Ok not actually. But I did start rehearsing a play called “The Seagull” by which is set in Russia. So in my mind I’ve been spending a lot of time in Russia. Part of the Master’s thesis. More to come on this subject…
Britt and Dani have a very, VERY Ke$ha Chri$tma$ (again).
Britt is going to Slamdance
A film I did in 2013, Birds of Neptune, is having its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT!! Holy BALLS!!! This is such a huge honor. I am so proud of my BON fam. The festival runs alongside Sundance, so we will be able to take advantage of all of the fun and badassedry that is attached to that, as well. But basically… I am freaking out. Like a little girl. SO. Excited. ————
….anything you wanna know more about? Write it in the comments and we’ll retro-actively post. Just live that shit all over again, like it’s No Big Deal.
Stay tuned for a sneak peak into our 2015 Evil Plans to Take Over the World. BECAUSE WE’RE BACK Y’ALL! BACK WITH A VENGEANCE!
HELL YEAH! BETTER WATCH OUT WORLD, WE ARE COMING FOR YOU! WHY ARE WE YELLING?! WE SIMPLY CANNOT STOP. OR MAYBE OUR CAPS LOCK IS BROKEN AGAIN… FUCK.
FUCK. I THINK THAT IS WHAT IS HAPPENING, ACTUALLY. BRITT, WHY ARE WE SO POOR?
I DON’T KNOOOOOOWW
D & B
If you came here searching for some sexy gossip, I’ve gotta be up front with you. Imma be talking shit.
You know what I’m talkin’ bout, y’all. You had those big Christmas dinners last night, you had a big cup of coffee this morning… Okay I promise that I won’t spend this entire blog post talking about shit. I mean it is the Christmas season after all, but technically Christmas is over so let’s get down and dirty.
Like shit, this story begins with food. And like both food and shit, this story is deeply personal.
We are omnivores, which means we have a huuuuuge range of food to choose from. If you live in the USA, you live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world. This gives you, theoretically, even more choice when it comes to how you feed yourself to stay alive. But the weird thing about the USA is this:
- 2/3 of adults in America are overweight or obese.
- 1 in 8 adults live in a home that is food insecure. (Meaning they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.)
In other words, America suffers simultaneously from both hunger and obesity. On a large scale. Now, I’m citing research compiled by the Food Research and Action Center, but this fact jumped off the page at me from Michael Pollan’s book almost 7 years ago because it just seemed so weird. How can so many Americans be so unhealthy? And why are people suffering at both extremes? What does that mean? How is that possible?
I am an average American, and a 90’s kid. I grew up with Cinnamon Toast Crunch for breakfast, milk and cookies after school, and the food pyramid to guide me. This food pyramid:
Check out all those grains at the bottom. Those will come back to haunt me later. This whole thing will, actually. This is the USDA food Pyramid from 1992, when I was 3 years old. About ten years later, in beautiful, stark, sparsely populated, highly Republican Idaho, the concept of global warming will enter my young consciousness. A concept which I discover is related to food in ways I never considered. Al Gore came to speak at the Boise Pavilion, and I discovered that the American meat industry is responsible for more of our greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars and trucks on the road combined.
But for a dumbass teenager living in a land where vegetarianism is a totally foreign concept in the early 2000’s, this became the “Doritos and Coke” diet, and was both socially isolating and unhealthy. I was the weird kid at Shari’s who wouldn’t order bacon, but I was eating soy products 3 meals a day. I gave that up; broke down and got a bacon cheeseburger and wild fries at Good Times by the mall. But on my way to college, The University of Portland Honors Program handed me Michael Pollan’s book and told me to move to Portland a week early to study food sustainability. Something inside me was set on fire again, and I guzzled down information about government food subsidies, big business lobbyists, and all of the stuff that goes into making your food before you even walk through the doors of the grocery store.
I began to reprogram by brain. Food is incredibly personal, and way more emotional than food activists and fitness enthusiasts like to admit. I am passionate about the evils of industrial food, but where do I put that memory of my Grandmom emptying her pockets to buy us a big bag of cheeseburgers from McDonald’s? What do I do with the sense memory of the bacon cheeseburger my best friend bought me when I was sobbing from my first breakup? Chocolate milk that your Mom used to mix for you. Baking a Betty Crocker birthday cake from a box and then eating the leftover frosting with graham crackers. I felt like Monsanto had been bribing me with emotional currency and poisoning me with corn syrup.
By Junior year of college I had become a vegetarian again, and most of my diet consisted of home-cooked meals that my roommate and I concocted out of our CSA box, also known as Community Supported Agriculture. My friend had started a small organic farm after graduating from college, and he delivered huge boxes of beautiful organic veggies to our home once a week. My fond memories of Cap’n Crunch and Mac n’ Cheese became nothing more than fond memories, and I was the healthiest I have ever been. I still drank beer, ate grilled cheese sandwiches (Tillamook Cheddar on Dave’s Killer Bread, obviously), and ate cake when I felt like it, but I was more at peace with the way I was living on this planet.
Fast forward to Monterey, California. July 2012.
Or as I like to think of it, the month that I stopped shitting. I’ll never forget the friendships I formed, the mentorship I received, or all of the stuff I learned about improv and art. But mostly, I’ll never forget the gastrointestinal trauma that began that month and that has not stopped since.
I moved to LA and began grad school.
I forged artistic bonds and deep friendships with sweat and blood.
I stopped dating. I am a 20-something blond actress living in LA–you’d think there would be a little bit of romance in that, but it is hard to feel like putting on a dress and going to a bar when you are thinking about your own shit. Literally.
Yeah, y’all. I told you this shit was personal.
Fast forward again to India, summer of 2013.
A life-changing two months of spiritual growth and self-discovery. I rode a camel, a horse, and an elephant. I played with children in the Himilayas. I did yoga in the middle of a flash flood. And I got super, super sick. Repeatedly. My GI problems were exacerbated by the stress of traveling, eating unfamiliar foods, the vengeance of an angry god, whatever. When you don’t poop, your body starts to fill with bacteria and viruses.
I got the flu three times while I was there, and the third time ended with my host family driving me from doctor to doctor in the extremely under-served region of Ladakh, trying to get me some medical treatment. Despite being sick so much, I had an incredible trip, and I had actually canceled my return flight and bought a new one for three weeks later in order to extend my trip and see more of the country. But with a violent fever racking my body, deep circles under my eyes, and no color left in my skin, crammed in the backseat of my family’s car as we crept along the base of the Himalayas, I decided it was time to go home. I changed my flight back and returned home, my head and stomach swimming after two months of extreme paradise.
After I got back to the United States, I felt defeated. For over a year I had been trying every possible modification to my diet I could think of. I stopped eating wheat, I cut out dairy, I cut out alcohol, I tried eating meat again, and nothing seemed to help. The doctor that I saw when I got back shrugged his shoulders and referred me to a specialist, who could see me in about a month. I walked out of the doctor’s office with a referral sheet, an appointment for a month later, and a feeling of helplessness.
In India, Ayurvedic medicine is very popular. In Ayurveda, you eat foods which specifically help balance out your body, and the treatments are things like massages and colonics. The idea is to detox your body of things that you’ve had to make you sicker, and food is the medicine which keeps you healthy. It is a long term health regimen. Naturopathic medicine, which is much more common in the United States, draws from both Western Medicine and more holistic medical approaches like Ayurveda. Western medicine had shrugged its shoulders at me, so I called a Naturopath.
After a million questions and a thorough examination, the Naturopathic Doctor told me that I had a leaky gut. Ummm… gross. That sounds gross. What else is new? Basically, my intestines couldn’t absorb certain food molecules. So the rejected molecules were taking revenge on my picky intestines by slamming through the walls of my intestines and breaking into my bloodstream without permission and without being properly broken down. Then my immune system had to create antibodies to attack and break down the rogue molecules. Then the antibodies got super paranoid and just started attacking a ton of stuff in my body that didn’t actually need to be attacked. It’s called an autoimmune response. On my blood test, it shows that my body has autoimmune-levels of antibodies for Gluten, Corn, Dairy, Coffee, Hemp, Sesame, and basically all forms of joy and happiness. My gluten test looks like what it would look like if I had full-blown Celiac Disease.
At last, I knew the truth. I knew what the problem was. …And the problem? Where do I begin?
Food intolerance like the one I have develops over time. Our genetically-modified and industrially-bred wheat crops have an unnaturally high amount of gluten. This is because if the wheat you grow has a freaky amount of gluten in it, you can grow more calories per acre, and you can make more money per acre. Ultimately, this benefits not the farmers but the seed companies and the food manufacturers. The problem is that the human body has not evolved to break down gluten in that quantity. Now scroll back up to that food pyramid. Eat your wheat, 90’s kids.
And corn!! Oh my God I’m allergic to corn! Apparently, while I was watching Supersize Me and King Corn and reading Michael Pollan’s books, MY INTESTINES WERE LISTENING!! How freaky is that? Every time I ate wheat or corn my intestines were like, “No we don’t want any of that industrial bullshit” and then the wheat was all, “Fuck you, intestines, I’m gonna get into that bloodstream anyway” and then my body was like, “GTFO” and then there was an epic immune battle waged in my bloodstream.
It’s kind of amazing when I think about it. Activist intestines go on a poop strike to end industrial agriculture! Angry bowels stop pooping in protest to irresponsible farming!
…Or something like that. To cut a long story short, this journey as been a huge part of my 2013. I ended up going on an intense detox diet of ONLY VEGETABLES in the middle of my hardest semester of grad school yet. No alcohol, no caffeine, no sugar, no grains and 16-hour days of lose-your-mind acting training. I confronted a whole heap of memories and emotions tied in with food. And actually, what I discovered is that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am. I didn’t need coffee to get through the day, I just wanted it because it reminded me of a million beautiful moments and made me happy. I didn’t need a million things that I thought I needed, and in their absence I didn’t experience despair. The million beautiful memories I have tied to food didn’t just disappear when I became gluten intolerant. They are still just as visceral and beautiful and important to who I am, and now I have the opportunity to form new memories. Memories that aren’t tied to a food system that my intestines can’t handle and my heart and mind can’t get behind.
I made a large portion of the Christmas dinner last night for my family, and beside the turkey and the gravy, it was all vegan and gluten free. I told them all at the end of the meal, after belts were loosened, the stuffing was praised, and the kale was lauded. It was a beautiful meal that created lots of beautiful memories, and my family was happy to feast with me in a way that I could enjoy it with them. No one missed the butter or the wheat or the corn, and the quinoa stuffing was the first thing to get gobbled up off the plates.
Needless to say, Britt and I were active in a group text all Christmas day with our besties, and I feel the need to round out this post with a photograph that Britt was foolish enough to send to all of us. I don’t have any pictures of myself on the toilet, but I do have a picture of my twin of the toilet, and I believe it encapsulates all I’m trying to say about memories, food, touchy-feely stuff, and of course, shit.
I’ve been in this fair City of Angels now for two whole weeks.
…How do I feel, you ask?
Okay, well actually I can get on a plane and fly away, Ms. Poehler, but THAT IS BESIDE THE POINT.
The point is … I am overwhelmed in many ways, but… I love it here. I am learning so much about myself and this city, and about myself IN this city, everyday. It’s magical.
SO! In light of my new-found Los Angelinan WISDOM, let me share with you some of the things I’ve learned about LA so far (you know, ’cause I’m totally a local now):
Here are the things I have learned about LA:
-One should have at least $20 worth of quarters in the glovebox or drink-holder at all times. Those good old-fashioned parking meters still exist. Y’know.. .the ones that only take quarters? The ones located by the beach you happened to go to and therefore are your only option? Yeah, those.
-Trader Joes is a way of life. If you don’t have a TJ’s in your neighborhood, there is pretty much no reason to live there.
-Everyone is beautiful here. Sometimes I just stare.
-The “Waze “app is a god-send.
-You must plan your life around street cleaning. If you happen to live in a structureless vortex like I do at this time, you’ll at least know what day of the week it is because of your street cleaning parking violation paranioa.
-People are reeeally into juice here. $12-kale-coconut-elixir-of-life juice. I’m not against it. It’s just… give me twelve dollars please. So I can consume it.
-LA Parking signs make the SAT feel like cake.
-People wear long-sleeves/pants/winter-wear when it is 75 degrees outside. I was really proud of myself when I wore my denim jacket over a tank-top in 73 degree weather the other day. (…See?! I’m a LOCAL.)
-There are more parking patrol cops here than there are purse dogs. I know this is hard to believe.
-Every coffeeshop in Los Angeles has a group of actors sitting next to you bitching about their auditions and agents and acting classes. Or bitching about their lack of these things. -I am pleasantly surprised at how walk-able certain neighborhoods are.
-More often than not, traffic is traffic for no reason. Was there an accident? No. Was there a stalled-car on the highway? Nope. It’s just right-of-passage to spend an hour on the onramp to the 110. “That’s the only way it’s fair to everyone,” says the Universe.
-In the desk-job hunt, telling a potential employer that you’re an actor is not too far away from telling her that you’re a leper-werewolf-umemployable crazy person. Perhaps you should work at In-N-Out instead.
-I don’t get how everyone has so much money… and I have none. It simply makes no sense. -I found these fun things on the Interwebs that tell me all about the Best Restaurants in LA, LA Neighborhood Stereotypes, and Things People Say About LA (my favorite: “Los Angeles is like San Diego’s older, uglier sister that has herpes.”), so now I feel like I know everything.
-LA is Serendipity. I have had many serendipitous encounters and experiences so far and it fuels my belief in this place. LA is a current. You can fight against it or you can go with it. And in my limited experience so far, “going with it” is really the only sustainable choice. And going with this current makes for a very exciting ride.
Here are the things I have learned about myself, in LA:
-I am very very white and one day I will be a different, tanner shade of white.
– I fucking love my neighborhood. Silverlake is DA BOMB. I claim it in the name of REAL (Portland) hipsters. (I will show them the way.) -Going on Facebook makes me feel incredibly homesick.
-I would die without a smartphone and GPS on said smartphone.
-I have been sneezing and breaking-out like a mofo since I got here. I’ve been told this is normal. I guess this poor little Northwesterner is having trouble adjusting to the air quality!
-I need to watch more TV. Seriously. It’s my job now.
-I don’t know how I went through this much life without a Bluetooth.
-Oddly enough, I’ve been doing more hiking here in LA than I did in the Pacific Northwest. I guess I took it all for granted…?
– I love the street art here. There is so much to look at, everywhere. From the most beautiful, intricate mural, to harsh graffiti, to a simple doodle of a robot on the sidewalk– there are so many stories being told. I want to document more of my discoveries as I find them.
-I need a separate allowance for coffee. And for gas. And for parking.
-Some nights I will experience an overwhelming low or anxiety, then experience a day-long high upon waking the next morning.
-I can roll with it.
-I have my team. It is so essential to know that people have your back. I am so lucky to have my team here. You know who you are. I am so incredibly grateful for you.
But mostly, I have learned that this whole adventure is about me finding myself here. Finding myself in Los Angeles, getting to know myself in a scary new place. Being calm and clear in the midst of all this crazy. Yes, I’ve had freak-outs and breakdowns and “WHAT AM I DOING”s. Yes, I will continue to. But more so, I have moments of extreme clarity and purpose and know that I am where I need to be. I am fortunate enough to live a life full of big, beautiful love, even in a brand-new place. And that is pretty awesome.
You know what else is awesome?! WHAT I DID THIS WEEK! 🙂
Much of this week was spent job hunting (and I got one! Thanks, Accountemps, Los Angeles!), reconnecting with friends in the area, and spending quality time with my TEAM (once again, you know who you are and I love you!). I am also constantly basking in the utter joy of knowing that I am living in the same city as Dani (come November 1st, Dani, Suzzane and I will have our own place TOGETHER!). Holy. Crap. So rad!!
I also got to visit my family! My mom, dad, and brother spent this past week in Palm Springs for vacation, which is only two hours away from where I live. I drove out last Wednesday and stayed for a day and a half for some for some good, quality FAM TIME.
This week also brought me some incredible beach time:
with THIS lady:
We “studied” and “did work” all day long in our sandy ocean front, beach-towel office:
…But mostly we just talked about kombucha and men. (Typical.) I could get used to days like this.
I have been in LA for two weeks now. I’m surviving. I’m having fun. I’m getting work done. I think I’ve earned the overpriced juice that I’m going buy myself after I finish this post.
I keep finding places here feel like home; pockets of the city that feel like mine. Sometimes it’s a new-to-me bar, a friend’s living room, or a familiar coffeeshop that I had visited before the move here.
One of these places is a coffeeshop Suzzane and I frequent called Mornings Nights in Silverlake.
When I was getting work done there yesterday, I noticed that I was sitting between an advertisement that says “you belong here” and a sign hanging above the door says “welcome home”. I took a big breath and exhaled. I felt really happy in that moment.
I can’t wait to see what the next two weeks here will bring.
All of my love to you, my friends, I so adore you.