May 01, 2005
Best Block Party Ever, Man.
On Sunday--a warm, sunny, forecast-defying May Day--my neighbors and I had our first (hopefully) annual block party. It was so cool meeting all the people we've lived among for the last five years but have somehow never talked to. Everyone brought the most amazing food--I tried Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs for the first time--and a good time was had by all. It's crazy (and a little sad) to think that we all lead such busy run-around lives that there are so many neighbors we've never met.
For example, many of us were knocked flat to find out that we have a genuine indie-film celebrity in our midst, and he lives just two doors down from my house. Kumar Pallana has had parts in the Wes Anderson films Bottle Rocket, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Rushmore (in which he played one of my favorite unsung characters of all time, the groundskeeper Mr. Littlejeans). He also was in The Terminal. He lives with his son, Dipak Pallana, who has appeared in Anderson films as well--in my favorite, Rushmore, he plays teacher Mr. Adams. ("That's probably the hardest geometry problem in the world...so I guess if anyone here can do it, I'd see to it that none of you ever have to open another math book again for the rest of your lives.") I spotted Kumar and Dipak in the crowd, and instantly thought they looked awfully familiar, but my celebrity radar wasn't exactly up as I stood next to a barbeque in the middle of blocked-off Walker Avenue so I figured I'd just seen them around the 'hood. It wasn't until my neighbor Adam said, "See that guy? He was in The Royal Tenenbaums" that it all clicked.
As we stood shivering in the dusk after the party was officially over, the very vigorous and talkative 86-year-old Mr. Pallana regaled a rapt group of neighbors with tales of his adventures performing his one-man juggling, plate-spinning, and comedy show throughout the world; of his international and extremely generous do-gooding; of his "nice chit-chats" with Hollywood heavyweights like Tom Hanks; and of his latest roles. I complimented him on the spicy smell of simmering curry that often wafts from his house, and he said I should come over any time and he'll teach me to cook my favorite Indian dishes. "Just grab me by the collar and say, 'Come on, it's time to teach me to cook!'" he said. You bet I am so gonna do that.Posted by Arin at May 1, 2005 07:21 PM