Wednesday night was poker with friends (+$3!) and then The Hobbit in 3DHFR. I enjoyed it a lot, and struggled home to bed at 1am. It would be the first of many long nights.
Thursday afternoon I arrived in LA and went to Bino's new house to discuss all the improvements he wanted to make. It was fun to take part in the vision. The view is incredible, and the home theatre is going to be fabulous.
We stopped and had truffle burger and fried chicken for dinner at Plan Check. Then we went to the SENS Research Foundation fundraiser featuring Aubrey de Gray. I met some cool people and had great conversations.
Then we went to the pre-party for XFF (Extreme Futurist Fest) at the Standard hotel. The "party" consisted primarily of a room full of crazy people hotboxing an entire hotel room. Not my scene. So we went and ate a snack with one of Bino's friends in the restaurant downstairs with the funniest waiter ever named Jay-mar. Thus ended my second late night at 2am.
Friday was the main event, XFF. Unfortunately, the "main event" got delayed by events and traffic and whatnot, and we ended up showing up around 3pm. Another friend of Bino's, Stephen, drove me when Bino bailed. The ride there, though long, was one of my favorite parts because Stephen is just a hilarious and interesting guy.
XFF is itself was a bust, as far as I was concerned. I assume there were a fair number of interesting people there, but the preparation for the event was crap, and the people were mostly stuck in ill-prepared talks. Few vendors, few alternatives to the main room. Overall, it was disappointing, so I grabbed a bus home.
I got my hopes up again when Bino invited me to a party smack dab in the middle of Beverly Hills. Literally next to Sachs. I borrowed a suit from Bino--his from college!--and we suited up with a bunch of Scotch in tow.
The party was *not* what I expected... I think I got 4 business cards and one "reel."
Once again, though, the night wasn't over. One party/night is not Bino's style. Instead, we headed to 7 Grand, a well-known LA whiskey bar. Thanks to Bino's pull, we skipped the line and went on in. All the bar tenders knew Bino, and it wasn't long before he'd gone to his car to get the Scotch back out and poor for them! It was a funny sight seeing someone serve the bartender. These guys were hardcore Scotch guys and they loved Bino's old and expensive liquor.
I drove Bino's car home and ended my third late late night in a row.
Saturday we didn't even make pretense at going to the XFF (although Stephen tells me it was better on day 2). Instead, I spent most of the daylight hours playing Twilight Struggle with Graydon. Bino helped me, but our combined inexperience was no match for Graydon's previous plays.
That evening we all went to Ray's Grinch party. It was fun--a bit of conversation, a bit of drinking, the classic reading of the Grinch-- but the toll of the previous three nights combined with Graydon's schedule sent me home at a modest 1030pm.
One might suspect that a Sunday night would be relatively tame, especially after the previous nights, but not in Bino-land! We visited friends in the morning, then hit Life of Pi in the afternoon. Bino worked more of his magic and got us better seats that the theatre offered us originally, and it was a pretty good movie. Then we went over to Stephen's house and hung out for awhile before dinner. Dinner was at a nice nearby Italian restaurant and Bino's friend Celine joined us. Then the 4 of us took off for a follies show.
The "end of the world follies" was great: tons of variety acts, music, comedic introductions, etc. A man made a bologna sandwich with his feat, another swallowed swords. There was a juggler and there were wonderful "silk" aerialists. The show was great, but the best part was the after-show. Many of the acts tried out new material, and the atmosphere was just totally relaxed. Cast members were heckling each other. People were dancing. And they finally pulled out a little burlesque!
Then after *that*, Bino and I hung around a little longer. At this point, it was pretty much just cast members and us. We got lots of fascinating one-on-one time with members of the play and Bino did some more networking. When the night started devolving into cast-only congratulations and champagne soaked revelry, Bino and I took our leave.
We got home at a relatively early 1am, but with my 630am flight, I ended up getting just 4 hours of sleep before hopping a cab to LAX. Even with sleep on the plane, I ended up crashing at my in-laws once I arrived in TN.
So, that was the exciting part of vacation! I think the rest will be a *much* tamer and more relaxing chilling in TN for a few days before finally heading back to Tucson.