I Said Yes

 

Max and Trust

 

So much has been going on, and nothing at all has been going on. That’s how life rolls sometimes. For me, it seems that’s how it rolls most of the time.

 

All the same, my intentions of sharing things with you have been patiently waiting for me to get my ass in gear. As it’s now officially Summer, I feel the day should be treated with a modicum of reverence. To serve those feelings, I give you a glimpse or two into my world…

 

Vidalias

 

I’m making my way through 20 pounds of Vidalia onions. And I’m enjoying every damned one.

 

Tomatoes

 

We’re also starting to get some tomatoes from our little plants. I call them little, but a couple of the plants are at least 8 feet high and still growing. I don’t understand it any more than you. But I’m not complaining, because all the gods know there’s nothing as good as homegrown tomatoes, y’all.

 

Props Only

 

I worked on a film set for the first time in ages. It was a one-day shoot and I ended up dealing mostly with props. I declared myself to be the day’s Ice Cream Wrangler. Someone had to do it. It reminded me of how much goes on behind the scenes, work that will never be shown or seen. I respect the hell out of the professionals who make cinematic art. Because I got to be a part of this particular shoot, with such lovely people, I enjoyed the day more than I can express.

 

View From LACMA - Deathstar

 

I attended a crazy-cool happening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Throughout the exhibit space of Robert Rauschenberg’s 1/4 Mile, various musicians roamed about, improvising and collaborating to create soundscapes based on the work and the moment. It was trippy and, in some instances, inspired. Once I’d absorbed as much of the evening as I could, I walked outside and spotted work on the adjacent Death Star. It’s not really the Death Star. It’s architect Renzo Piano’s ambitious new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. It’s sure to be astounding, once it’s finished. But I have no doubt it will always be called the Death Star. As it should be.

 

Drinking Cask Ale Makes Me...

 

I also went to the kick-off event for L.A. Beer Week. I was a fish, I was. And I was happy about it, too. (Baker Jen is responsible for the sticker I’m wearing in the above photo. She’s cool like dat.)

 

Baby Hummingbirds

 

Baby hummingbirds got hatched, grew and have already flown away. Little Mama had built the nest and was keeping it warm before we even realized what was going on. Once those babies made their debut, they were in high-gear. They were only there a couple of weeks and then they were gone. Nature. Who knew?

 

Michael Watkins, Director of JPL & Me

 

I got my geek on at JPL‘s open house. When I spotted the dude shown above, I didn’t hesitate to embarrass myself. That’s Dr. Michael Watkins, the director of JPL and a rock star of the science world. Yes – I am that person. I do indeed nerd out for brains.

 

The Liza Minnelli Room at Feinstein's at Vitello's

 

And then there was this week. I was getting some exercise and passed by a place I’ve been many times. It’s a restaurant with an upstairs club. (The restaurant played into Robert Blake’s wife’s infamous murder. Yeah.) I walked past and doubled back. The upstairs club had a new name: Feinstein’s at Vitello’s. As in Michael Feinstein. I wasn’t sure when that had happened, so when I got home I looked on the interwebz and saw that last weekend was the official grand opening of the supper club. I also saw that Michael Feinstein himself had provided the entertainment during the grand opening, with a little help from his friend, Miss Liza Minnelli. Da fuh? I missed that show, which was a shame. But I saw that Melissa Manchester was set to perform during the week, and tickets were still available. I grew up loving that gal. As I sat at my computer, thinking about whether or not I could justify laying out the dough for a ticket, I realized I was singing her songs. I remembered the lyrics, I remembered the tunes. I bit the bullet and bought myself a seat for the show.

 

As I was flying solo that night, I had no idea where I’d be seated or with whom. When I checked in with the hostess, she asked if I was meeting anyone and I told her no. She asked for my name, which I provided, and she said, “Well Mikki – you’re about to make some friends.” Then she led me to a table where 3 men were already seated and engaged in conversation. The hostess said, “Gentlemen – this is Mikki. Mikki – this is Troy, Steven and Max.” She walked away, I sat down, and the 4 of us commenced to talking.

 

I’m a friendly gal and I’m generally a pretty good gauge of people’s decency. But I don’t rush into getting to know people and I don’t give out my digits all willy-nilly. I’m a fairly private person and I’m okay with that. So it was rather surprising to find myself having a mature, honest and soulful conversation with those 3 guys. And it wasn’t just me. They seemed to recognize that something unique was happening as well. The 4 of us were engaging in the manner of old friends. It was lovely. It was refreshing. It was crazy.

 

And the show? I don’t know what to tell you. Melissa Manchester took the stage, began her first song of the evening, and I started crying. (Gentle, happy tears, mind you.) And I smiled and cried right through to the end of the show. Her voice is as resonant and sonorous as ever. She is a beautiful performer. She kind of blew my mind.

 

Miss Liza Minnelli

 

It turned out that Michael Feinstein was also in the audience. So was Miss Liza Minnelli. That’s her in the hat, barely visible in the center of the above photo. Though you can’t tell from this pic, she was as cute as a fucking button. For reals.

 

Melissa Manchester and Troy

 

After the show, my new pals and I stayed for a meet and greet. That’s Troy with Melissa Manchester.

 

Melissa Manchester and Me

 

And that’s me with her. When you meet an idol, your glee just about cracks your face.

 

So many things that pop up in life require an answer. A lot of the time I say No. And let’s be honest – No is often the correct answer. But not always. Sometimes life invites me to say Yes. And sometimes I do. When I decided to go to that Melissa Manchester show, I didn’t know what the night might hold. I only knew that the kid in me really wanted to see one of my vocal heroes. I didn’t know she would be amazing. I didn’t know I was going to experience a sincere connection with 3 strangers. I didn’t know the 4 of us would be texting one another and trying to plan a get-together in a few months time. I didn’t know I would come away from the night as a better version of myself. Someone whose skin fit a little more than it did the day before.

 

The Stalkers

 

But that’s exactly what I got. Magic. All because I said Yes.

L.A. Beer Week

 

 

We are smack dab in the middle of L.A. Beer Week and boy are my arms tired. Not that I just flew in or anything. Just kidding. That’s the kind of joke I tell when I’m all happy and hopped up on beer. Which I’m not, though I was on Saturday during the Kick-off Event in Downtown L.A.

 

 

There were well over 100 brewers in attendance and Mister and I intended to do our hospitable best to visit almost if not all of them. It was a hot day, and we were feeling it. We took the train downtown, so that neither of us would have to stay sober and drive. And by neither of us, I mean me. Because y’all, 99.9% of the time, I am the designated driver. So hallelujah! I got to imbibe.

 

 

And imbibe I did. I made a beeline for the Almanac Beer Company tent, as they’re one of my favorite producers of sour beer. I was not disappointed, and may have gone back for another taste. Or two.

 

 

Mister had read about Ladyface Ale and that was another of our first stops. It was also another tent we hit more than once. Their Flamberge was amazing and I absolutely adored it. Truth be told, there were loads of excellent local brewers in attendance and we did our best to try them all. Even though Mister took photos of the beer taps we enjoyed the most, I only managed to mentally hang on to a few examples. I should blame the beer, but I don’t. Instead, I blame the heat.

 

 

Let me say again that it was hot. H.A.W.T. Both of us had slathered on the sun screen and we felt fairly prepared. I was drinking water and snacking here and there…

 

 

…so the beer wasn’t knocking me out or anything. But by the time our friends Cher and The Professor arrived at the event, I was fairly sated. But sometimes you’ve got to dig deep and show up for your mates. That’s how I felt anyway, so I kept on tasting. And watering. And snacking.

 

 

Another thing I did was treat the event as a true tasting, as in when I’d had enough of a particular sample (or simply didn’t care for it), I dumped my portion into one of the many swill buckets stationed around the scene. Honestly, I didn’t think much of that action until The Professor saw me doing it and nearly had a conniption fit. I’m fairly certain he suffered a small stroke when he witnessed perfectly good beer being thrown away.

 

 

After four hours of fabulous beer, it was time to go home. Cher and The Professor gave us a lift to the train station, then started their drive south. Mister and I boarded the train and talked about the day. Mister was working on figuring out how much we’d actually had to drink over the course of the event. For me, he guesstimated about a half-gallon. For himself, he doubled that. I told him he was crazy, because if I drank a half-gallon of beer I’d be so many sheets to the wind, I could be Martha Stewart’s linen closet.

 

 

Once we reached home, I started to think a bit differently. It was barely 5 o’clock and we were both struggling to stay awake. Even though we’d used sunscreen, the sun had broken through that barrier and had toasted various parts of our non-SPF-ed bodies. Too tired to cook, we ordered a pizza and put our feet up.

 

 

I was pretty pleased with L.A. Beer Week’s kick-off event. We had some amazing beers. The crowd was friendly and happy. All in all, it was a fabulous day. I can’t hardly wait for next year’s tasting.