Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In the eye of a media storm

A wave of chaos is swelling up behind me. I can't quite tell if it is a good thing or a bad thing. It just is. And I am here waiting to see if it will crash on top of me swirling me under until my lungs explode or if I will hop up and enjoy the ride, sipping some sort of tropical beverage adorned with an umbrella. I would be lying if I said that I didn't like all the attention this blip on the interweb radar is bringing me. Hundreds of people so far sharing their support and their "good vibes" to me and my family. I would also be lying if I said I hope this whole thing blows over quickly.

I came to Los Angeles with a dream. I went to school to study theatre and film with a dream. I worked at Barney Greengrass with a dream backing up my every move. With the amount of industry heavies who came in and dined on a regular basis, there was a hope I held onto that somehow someone would help me get closer to my dream. Now, this doesn't mean I was sitting around waiting to be discovered. I would regularly go out on auditions. I would do plays in and around LA. I worked on short films. I took classes. I wrote my own plays. I am producing my own webseries. I submit myself daily to projects and casting directors and agents. I did what a struggling actor/writer in Hollywood is supposed to do, try and sell myself. It was my hope that if or when one of the producers, or directors, or casting directors, or managers, or agents who ate at Barney Greengrass saw me in something they would think, for five seconds, "I know this guy. Where do I know him from?" That five seconds could be all that I needed to help me stand out above the other guy. That was what I WANTED to happen from me working at Barney Greengrass.

What I got instead are thousands of supporters wishing me well and getting my back and a bunch of other people scoffing at how stupid I was to write anything about my work or my customers in the first place. I want to respond to both sides. To those of you who are sharing your feelings of injustice for me, thank you so much! All the messages and retweets make me feel like I did the right thing and make my consequences a little easier to deal with. To the other side, I have to admit that what I did might not have had my own best interest at hand. I did not think anyone, other than the 22 people following me, would read what I tweeted. That was my ignorance to the power of social media. I understand the concerns my management and Barney's corporate had with clientele wanting to shop and eat with discretion. I don't know if being fired was what I deserved, but it happened. I tweeted, I lost my job, I lost my health insurance and I accept that as the consequences to my actions.

This is what my five years at Barney Greengrass has brought me and I honestly wouldn't change it. I have no money, I have to move out of my house and my family and I have to stay at a friends house until I can get back on my feet or until Mimi's ice cream shop opens, I am behind on bills, every restaurant I apply to isn't hiring, but I wouldn't change that. Thousands of people are reading what I write. Any struggling writer would kill for that publicity. In a way I may be killing Jane Adams' reputation, or maybe more people know who she is than ever before. You're welcome Jane.

I have no idea what happens next. I can't even imagine, which is so strange because my entire life has been spent imagining what my entire life would be like and now every day is a new surprise. Not good, not bad, just something new.

For those interested.

I started writing a book four years ago as a way to create my imagined life and prevent catastrophe from happening. The book is about an actor on the verge of success (my imagined life) enjoying the benefits that come with success. He finds out that an ex lover has a five year old child that is his. (I was hoping that writing about it might prevent it. Turns out two years after starting this book Mimi and I had an unexpected pregnancy.) I am going to share a little bit of it. Justin, the main character, just finished a film "Silent Woods" that has the potential to win him acclaim and possible awards. I thought this segment would be appropriate due to Justin's philosophy on tipping.

!Warning! Adult content!

'Marissa is a 19-year-old pop star whose existence is based entirely on the success of her sister. She is marginally talented and completely unoriginal. Her two assets are the size C’s on her tiny-framed body. And for me, her insecurities of not living up to her sister gives me ample opportunity to take advantage of her without emotional remorse. After Clarisse and I broke up, Marissa started sending me letters telling me how lucky I was to get away from her psycho sister. To be honest both of the Donnell sisters are a little off. I think it might be a dirty daddy or dirty uncle complex. She would send me tickets to her shows and invite me to the MTV awards. She was seventeen, and while the image of penetrating that illegal twat tempted the hell out of me and kept me up late at night with visions of her tits in my face, I had to think about my career. If it ever got out that I was fucking a minor even if she was a superstar, it would destroy me. I did not want to be an R Kelley or Rob Lowe. It was actually Tegan who facilitated her and I coming together.

During the gestation period of Silent Woods, he would invite me up to his house off Coldwater Canyon to smoke some herb and talk about the film. We would mostly talk about music and who our dream-leading lady would be and how we would take turns dating her. On one occasion Tegan’s girlfriend Allison, daughter of one of the most influential directors of all time, was swimming in his pool with her friend Marissa. We went outside to smoke and as soon as we got to the pool I was blinded by the sun gleaming off a wet pair of amazing breasts it took me two minutes of staring at before I realized whom they belonged to. Marissa looked up shaded her eyes and screamed “Justin!!” She jumped out of the pool and pressed her wet little body against mine. The four of us spent the day swimming and smoking and I eventually found myself in Tegan’s pool house fucking little Marissa Donnell from behind without hesitation.

“I knew you were going to be there that day. Allison told me Tegan was meeting with you and she invited me over.” I hate the way she acts like she knows everything and always gets what she wants. Her smug little attitude confounds me. I don’t know whether to fuck her or punch her in the face. I’ll probably end up fucking her. I am not that violent of a person. She takes bite of my steak asserting her control over me. Trying to appear aloof, I drink my wine and stare around the restaurant. It’s a hapless venture. Every time Marissa and I meet in New York, we always eat at the same steak house and sit in the same dark secluded booth to keep our relations to ourselves. The only ones that interact with us are the maitre d' and our server who has been working here for the past 15 years taking care of some of the highest profile celebrity and political figures of the time. I am not trying to say that I include myself in this group even though the media would love to know who’s foot is creeping up my leg right now. I am fortunate enough to have met the owner of the restaurant at a party almost a year ago in the Hampton’s.

Marissa drones on about some designer offering to design something for a video or something. I am not quite sure what she is saying. Her voice turns into this dull hum interrupted by her annoying giggle. Is she on her phone or is she talking to me? I haven’t responded in at least twenty minutes. I drift away to this silent corner of my mind. The emptiness consumes me and I feel alone, isolated in this existence. The reality of who I am, what I am doing and whom I am with are just an illusion. They are a piece of a dream I held onto years ago. None of this seems right. Something is missing and I can’t figure out what it is. Everything I have ever wanted is here, right in front of me waiting for me to grab it. Success, money, fame, respect, I have it. I am the master of my world and the course of my existence, yet I am still alone.

Marissa’s foot presses against my dick snapping me out of my contemplation. Looking at her big brown eyes staring back at me as she sips on her Belvedere and cran and feeling the pressure of her foot longingly caress my crotch brings a smile to my face. This is my life. People would die to be where I am. Sometimes we need to control our sub-conscious before it takes control of us. I finish my wine and lean over the table and take her head in my hands and kiss her firmly. “I can taste the wine.” She giggles. I lean to her ear and whisper, “Let’s get the fuck out of here.” I lay down three one hundred dollar bills. I don’t even know how much the check was, but I assume it was less then that. They usually end up at about $150-$200, the rest goes to our gracious hosts. It’s strange how in my life hundreds are the new twenties. I always throw down $300 if I am eating with someone else. Add another $150 for every person at the table.

Only once have I miscalculated. I had dinner with Adam Sandler to discuss a project he was producing. We were going to play brothers from a dysfunctional home who reunite at their father’s funeral only to find out their father’s final wish was for them to follow this crazy treasure map he drew up years ago, filled with clues leading them to his hidden fortune only to find out his fortune was the two of them. Kind of a cheesy family pic with some funny bits of us on the treasure hunt. We bought a couple bottles of wine, dinner, I threw down $300 and we left. The waiter ran out after us. He was embarrassed to tell us that the bill was $325. I gave him two bills and apologized. Adam said something funny and gave him another two bills. The picture didn’t go through. Adam booked the new super hero trilogy, and I got “Silent Woods.”'


  1. Hey! Just wanted to tell you that although I own my own company now I waited tables for over 23 years. Some jobs I slung hash -- other jobs were laDeeDah fine dining. Still, I made a really decent living and had flexibility. It was good. I live in Austin, Texas. I see celebs here all the time. Although tweeting wasnt even invented -- I still told people who I know about the celebs coming and going into the restaurants I worked for. My bosses never EVER had a word to say about me talking "outta school" about anyone. I waited on Lance Armstrong -- so? he was a little gruff...but that's Lance. I waited on Sandra Bullock...she was sweet -- but she wanted --- CLEARLY --- wanted to be left along and kind of blend into the back ground (before she had Bess -- her restaurant here) and Michael Cain, Gerard Butler, Dennis Quaid (B4 his current marriage -- but during the times he was partying ALOT). Look...we waiters know how far we can go with people. We know to respect their boundaries....we also know that they are celebs and talking about them goes with the territory. Look...had someone walked a check on me and then stiffed me and THEN gave me attitude about it....not only would I have told everyone...but I would have laughed in her face had she given me attitude....but that's just me...and of course, I didnt work for any PART of Barney's.... But.... that's just me. Good on ya. I believe every word you said about how you were treated and how the deal went down with the check. Been there. Good luck to ya! Bonnie Munro -- Austin, Tx

  2. Hi,

    A critique of your writing (since you've put it out there):
    Why do you feel so comfortable and entitled referring to a human being's body as "that illegal twat"? You marginalize your narrator and characters. I see the correlation of being personally seen as only the bearer of a celeb's culinary desires, and your characters being only the bearer of sex. I can understand how that attitude can cross over from work to art. But just as you were a real person delivering food, so too your characters are bigger than sexual bravado. Your sexual desire doesn't give shape and substance to real people. Learn to see your narrator as whole, so he can view the world without checking in with his dick first.

  3. Hopefully you'll make the most out of all this media attention! By the way, if you need help getting your business plan together to open your business, get in touch with me! :)

  4. You really need to hire a wrongful termination attorney, like now, if you haven't already. These folks may have moved on with their lives, eating cheese, drinking wine, etc; while you're struggling through no fault of your own, and I say again, through no fault of your own. This is the USA, you have freedom of speech.

    Now, you need a strategy, a plan, and a course of action.

    Stop blaming yourself. I'm sick of these big corporations thinking they can do whatever they want when ever they want.

    As for Jane Adams, I would tell the whole world she got me fired from my waiters job that helped me support my little girl. You see she not only took food out of your mouth, but she took food out of your innocent little girls mouth whom had nothing to do with any of this.

    Jane Adams & agent didn't think of the possibilty that they would be making it hard for your daughter, when they complained to Barney's they only thought of themselves and how their sorry flawed character was exposed.

    Well Jane Adams & agent charaters are even more flawed because they failed to consider what the ramifications of their complaint to Barney's would cause for your daughter who depend on you to provide for her. There again, just like she felt she could leave the restaurant without not pay she feels she can get you fired from your job with no repercussion.

    She's a loser thru & thru.

    I hope you keep us posted. Don't let this rest your daughter is depended on you to fight this to the end. Sink or sail, keep your head up you will have a job sooner than you think.

    You should video everything. The move out of your home, how you are now living with friends, etc. & show/tell it to anyone who would listen.

    Back to Flo: How on earth can anyone who has bills and live this recession say they're glad someone got fired? or you an idiot or what? do you live in the USA? Have you heard of karma? Please just.... OMG whatever.

  5. Ya know Jon, it may take a while, but I'm betting that this will end up being the best thing that ever happened to you.. A job will come, and it's amazing that the buzz is still going strong (amazing because nothing has a worse case of ADD than twitter) Keep writing, and keep your chin will happen!

    I wrote to Barney's corporate yesterday, HBO the day before.

    Remember this. No one but your followers would have seen your tweet if Ms EGO hadn't had some staffer searching the internet for her name. No such thing as bad publicity huh?

    Her crying over one negative tweet...I bet she wishes now she would have sucked it up.

    Good Luck!!

  6. Good luck to you. I started following your blog yesterday after I read about what happened. I too blog. I also have a facebook. And I'm a bartender. While I didn't get fired, I did get spoken to regarding posting pictures of our parties online. Whatever.

    Keep writing. You are very talented.

  7. The situation that you've been put in will work out in your favor. Didn't you know? Every dream in theater & film needs a little drama.

    I'm looking forward to your book. I haven't been this interested in reading something in sooo long, let alone reading your blog is also interesting.

    good luck in everything you do!

    See you on twitter! -juchie

  8. I just read about your story - very sorry to hear that you lost your job. But I bet good things will happen for you.

    After hearing this story, I have no interest in supporting any project Jane Adams is involved in. Arrogance isn't an attractive quality.

    But when you do make it in Hollyweird, I bet you won't look down on the working people you encounter!

  9. Best luck to you, I found your story by chance on news and I hope I won't loose my job over the crap I write online sometimes both in English and French.

    Best of all luck to you et à la prochaine.


  10. I read about this situation you've found yourself in as a result of someone not paying a simple restaurant bill and you Twittering about it. Sadly, the fact that it got as far as yahoo news only helps play up the volatility of the service labor market, the lack of foresight your former employers have, and further validates my feelings that it was wise I avoid any involvement in the service labor pools. Not much I could say on your situation other then to wish you the best of luck with what may come next. I hope that whatever employment situation you find yourself in is both more fulfilling, enriching, and allows you to more reliably provide for yourself and your growing family. Best of luck to you.

  11. I like the "illegal twat" line, and surprisingly, enjoyed the rest of your "fiction" writing.