Thursday, April 28, 2022

Learning to laugh again

I live 1056 feet -- yes, I Googled it -- from a bar. Not just a bar, but a bar and grill. I suppose in my younger years this would have been a dream come true. 

One thousand and fifty six feet is easy stumbling distance. That means I could drink as much as I wanted and never worry about driving home or getting nabbed by the Po-Po. "Look at Rich using young people vernacular, that's some serious street cred."

The Backstage Bar and Grill is no ordinary Bar and Grill. It sits directly across the street from Sony Studios. And those of you 13 regular readers who've ever been there know its ridiculous proximity. 

Of course back in the day, Sony used to be MGM studios. It's where many classic movies were shot, including The Wizard of Oz.

It's also where many of Hollywood's biggest stars plied their thespian wares. Stars like Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, and Seth Rogin. After a grueling day of reading other people's words, pretending to be a detective or a pilot or whatever, and having their every need attended to by hundreds of eager production assistants, many of these exhausted stars sauntered across Culver Blvd. for a drink. Or 5. Or 9.

In other words, the place has history, despite it now being the unofficial home to Seattle Seahawk fans as well as one of the hottest karaoke bars in all of LA. Nevertheless, it's still a classic dumpy dive bar, with no affectations that afflict so many other places on the Westside.

And yet in the thirty years that, I (that's a tough cookie to swallow) have lived in this house, I have never walked those 1056 steps to step inside the Backstage. 

That is until last week.

I met up with my new old friend John Hage, one of the best copywriters in the business who often snagged assignments I didn't get when we were both in the freelance game. John's also a Girl Daddy and we have known each other for 28 years. 

We never did much socializing, mostly because we're men and not particularly good at that shit, but we always make each other laugh 'til it hurts. As is evident in this photo, post being over served...

During our Wednesday (no Karaoke Night) dinner, we talked about everything from Ukraine, the demise of democracy, our cute and exceedingly young waitress, ex Precedent Shitgibbon, shitty advertising, my grieving process, our waitress and mountain biking.

I've always had an interest in mountain biking, particularly after seeing so many riding the same trails Deb and I used to hike. She hated them. But I always thought it looked like fun and a good way to burn off my excessive calorie intake. 

Now I'm shopping for a good mountain bike. So the next time John and I meet up it will be somewhere in Mandeville Canyon and involve tackling some tough hills and unpredictable hairpin turns. 

Though I'm sure it might end up with the two of us back at the Backstage.

Or the local Cedars Sinai Acute Care Center just down the street.


Anonymous said...

Love this story and love a dive bar!

Anonymous said...

I love that place! And man does it make me happy to see you smile. Fantastic post per yoozh