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“a woman walks into a bar…” with multi-tasker, multi-talented Mimi Kennedy

on 23/05/14 at 1:22 pm

a woman walks into a bar..., Booze News

woman-barfinal2I’m going to meet Mimi Kennedy, actress, author, playwright and political activist. I’m exhausted just from writing all the things she does. And does them exceedingly well. Hey, she’s worked with Steven Soderbergh and Woody Allen among many other fabulous directors. In fact, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her remarkable career in the film industry at the Pasadena Film Festival this past February. Not bad for a girl from Rochester, NY.Mimi

“So, where should we meet, Mimi?” Mimi suggests the Sportsmen Lodge in Studio City because it has ‘Hollywood history’. And, indeed, it touts itself online as: “Experience Old Hollywood glamour in all its glory! Where celebrity sightings are the norm!” In 2009, it reopened after a multimillion-dollar makeover allegedly to bring it back to its ‘glory days’ when the likes of Clarke Gable and John Wayne hung out there.white

Looking forward to sighting my celebrity, Mimi Kennedy, we meet in the River Rock where a giant white buffalo head holds court over the bar. It has the feel of a kind of cheesy airport hotel bar surprising given the millions put into this place. Mimi arrives looking great having ‘dressed up’ for the occasion. She discreetly peruses the joint and quickly apologizes for recommending it as she thought this was the old Sportsmen Lodge that reeked of Old Hollywood. Obviously, neither one of us had been here in a hundred years so I explain they renovated years ago and allegedly spent millions. Mimi, with the aplomb of the well-traveled thespian, states that it looks like it could use another renovation. Agreed! And we’re off to a good start. She reminisces about how this used to be THE place in the Valley, “Where are all the celebrity pictures?!” I say I saw reproductions hanging in the antiseptic attempt at a hip cafe near the pool. Sigh. BTW, where ARE all those fabulous old photographs?

Mimi orders a Manhattan on the rocks and I second it. On the rocks for me simply as a safeguard given my lack of confidence in getting a Class A cocktail. Aaaand, I’m right. While the drink was made with Makers, Martini & Rossi vermouth and Angostura + 2 old school maraschino cherries, something went amiss and the drink didn’t even taste like a Manhattan but maybe one made out in the suburbs. Chattering away, we drink it anyway.

Political activism is a big part of Mimi’s life. She was always mindful of what was going on but 9/11 lit the spark that made her into a full-on activist. This was her opportunity, she said, to stand for something, for non-violence and human dignity and she’s been active ever since. We talk a blue streak about progressive politics, strategies for GOTV (Get Out The Vote) and how Bernie Sanders running for President as a Democrat in the primary would be ideal so he wouldn’t be a “spoiler” in the General, and he’d buoy Hillary on progressive issues. Our speculation is just that. There’s a long time between now and the primaries and, seriously, anything can happen. We moan about how difficult it is to break through the seemingly intransigent media wall with a progressive message. But we manage to make it through the Manhattans and decide to move on.

Off to the Blue Dog Tavern we go…a funky gastropub in Sherman Oaks and a favorite of Mimi’s and her husband, Larry. Full disclosure: Larry taught my kids English in high school. We walk into the Blue Dog and Mimi or, for the purpose of this short yarn, ‘The Cocktail’, tells the nice man who asks us how many for a table that a third party, “OUR husband” is joining us. The guy, with a straight face, says that’s why his mother won’t come to L.A….too debauched! Everybody’s a stand-up. But we had a good laugh…

"our husband" Larry

“our husband” Larry

Mimi has always wanted to be an actress, has had myriad roles in movies and television and now she gets to play a recovering heroin addict, 31 years sober and an AA sponsor on the series MOM. Which brings us to the subject of drinking and alcoholism and somehow a segue to what alcoholics in her dad’s day wore – white Captain’s hats and double-breasted navy blazers…sounds very Captain and Tennille to me. Mimi thinks it made them feel like they were the captain of their lives. It was the ’50’s. If a white captain’s hat can make you feel like the captain of your life, more power to you!

We circle back to politics and wonder how Marianne Williamson would shake up Congress and make the Tea Party apoplectic if she ever got there. We wish she were in our districts just so we could vote for her but alas she is not. Next topic…how the hell did this come up? One Manhattan and a beer – Green Flash IPA – and suddenly we’re talking about Who Moved My Cheese? which leads to I Moved Your Cheese! I’ve heard of the titles but have no idea what they’re about. I’m still not sure but we laugh a lot as we veer toward the chaos theory of conversation…everything’s game!

We eat, we schmooze, the time slips by. I want to get home and catch up on episodes of MOM and look forward to the new season. Thank you, Mimi, for a hella fun time!

River Rock
12833 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
(818) 432-7500

Blue Dog Beer Tavern
4524 Saugus Ave
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 990-2583

Makers Mark

Martini & Rossi Vermouth


Green Flash IPA