A Valentine Dinner

It’s Saturday morning in Culver City. It is quiet. The sun is shining.

I feel this calm again. On such mornings I recollect years of weekend strolls after hard and busy weeks.

Green-breasted parakeets screech from the palms. A humming bird feeds on a wallflower. A squirrel runs along the top of a fence.

A mom on a sit-up-and-beg bike watches over her shoulder for the kids who are following her. There is a yard sale over there.

On such mornings I feel a kind of longing.

I am going to show Los Angeles to Maureen and Amanda. Last night we had dinner at Colgate Avenue.

Gays are so cool, Amanda said.

They called it a Valentine dinner. There were Mikey and Jared of course and Jamie, Amanda (and her new friend Nate from New Orleans) and Maureen and me.

Lots of show business talk. It’s pilot season for the big networks. Mikey and Jared speculated about which ones would be picked up. Even though Mikey’s series has been renewed, he and Jared seem to know all the writers and talent and the scripts and pilots that have been ordered.

This is their world.

They talked about scripts they hadn’t rated at all last year and were surprised they succeeded. Like The Blacklist. It’s about a master criminal, the FBI’s most wanted man, who turns himself in and helps to track down other most wanteds, but only if it’s done his way, like he insists he must work with a junior operative called Elizabeth Keen.

“James Spader. Great casting. He made it happen for Blacklist,” said Mikey. I remember Spader as the sinister voyeur in Sex Lies and Videotape.

“Completely lacks credibility,” said Jamie. “But find a guy who can trigger an intense anxiety reflex and you mesmerise the audience.”

Mikey and Jared ignored that.

Mikey really liked a pilot script called Old Soul. He knows and admires the co-writer Amy Poehler who stars in the smart little comedy show called Parks and Recreation. Natasha Lyonne is booked for Old Soul, playing a woman with a wild side and a string of drug and drink busts, who “finds herself” working with old folks in a retirement home.

“We all thought Natasha was a trainwreck. But she’s back,” said Jared. “She certainly knows that part well enough…”

The Valentine dinner was pretty special. Mikey and Jared are still on the paleo diet.

The drinks came in with a great glass bowl of heart-shaped ice cubes filled with pomegranate seeds.

For a starter we had baked figs with prosciutto and goats cheese.

For the main course scallops with apple celery salad and butternut squash puree.

For dessert we had watermelon hearts pierced with orange arrows — cocktail sticks topped and tailed with orange cutouts.

Mikey introduced the dishes as he always does. The girls loved it.

Mikey and Jared have finished decorating now. The basic decor is very simple, two shades of brown, a beige and a darker brown, with the doors and rails painted olive green.

The large pieces, the sofas and chairs, are all covered in the same wide, dark green and black tattersall check on an off-white ground.

Nate and Amanda were allowed to go wherever they wanted. They were very curious, and talked to us about some of the things they noticed, like the shared shoe closet with all the shoes in the original boxes and coloured stickers indicating which belonged to Jared and which to Mikey.

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