My Friend's Place

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This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.

I went to a party the other day and I didn't talk about the writers' strike.

Not because I didn't want to, but because nobody asked. It was a party filled with people who aren't part of the entertainment business, and don't really care about the entertainment business.

And the trouble is, I sort of like talking about the strike. I'm a strike bore. Ask me anything, and I'll figure out a way to bring it around to the strike. I'll lay it all out for you -– their position, our position, the seven possible outcomes, the sixteen possible zones of compromise; my predictions, all of it. You find me at a party, ask me the most open-ended, vague question, and find a place to sit and put down your drink. Cause me talking about the strike is a six-act play.

Which is one of the reasons it's useful, every now and then, to notice what some other people do for a living. I've been involved in an organization called My Friends Place for almost 10 years -– it's a homeless youth agency based in Hollywood -– right on Hollywood Boulevard, actually –- and the people who work there everyday, and the good souls who volunteer there week in and week out –- fill me with a kind of jealous admiration. If I was a better, less selfish, less greedy person, I'd like to think I'd fit right into their team, doing the hard, necessary work of trying to get young vulnerable abused people off the streets and into safe, productive lives, trying to get homeless new moms -– barely out of childhood themselves –- into parenting classes, secure housing, and new beginnings.

I know, I know. It's an awful cliché -– especially this time of year, especially during the current labor unrest -– to start talking about how blessed and lucky we all are -– all of us listening to KCRW, all of us toiling in this baroque, over-the-top industry, living in this sunny city next to this spectacular beach –- and how there are some people who don't complain about the bottled water and the network notes and the new media residuals, who do difficult jobs for way less money, or who don't have houses to worry about the declining value of...if that's a sentence. You know what I mean.

I mean, for me, anyway, that I'm lucky. I'm lucky to be able to complain about the things I complain about. I'm lucky to have worked for so long in a business designed to break your heart. I'm lucky, in fact, to even be on strike. And in 2008, I'm going to try to keep that in mind for as long as I can.

You can find out more about My Friends Place by going to myfriendsplace –- all one word -– dot org. It's a hugely effective, grassroots, growing, amazing place doing hard, hard work: helping young people get off the streets, get healthy, get safe, get educated, and get back into better, stronger lives. And we can use all the help we can get. Check us out -– if you're looking for a small, effective, efficient, worthy place to give your money or your time to, My Friend's Place could be your place.

And so: to the strikers and the non-strikers and the assistants and the executives and the writers and the actors and the agents and the lawyers and the picketers and the picketees -- Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

And that's it for this week.

Next week, we'll make some New Year's resolutions. For other people. For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.



Rob Long