The Beat Goes On
“IT’S kind of hypnotic, isn’t it?” said Carlton Cuse, an executive producer of “Lost,” as he thumped his fingers against the head of an African ashiko drum.
Beside him, Damon Lindelof, Mr. Cuse’s fellow executive, was carving out a complementary beat on a goblet-shaped djembe with mallets that looked like rainbow-dipped lollipops.
Free from their day jobs as the creative force behind the intricately plotted ABC drama, Mr. Lindelof and Mr. Cuse were letting their guard down in a Tuesday night drum circle at the REMO Recreational Music Center, a nondescript warehouse in North Hollywood. In the midst of an increasingly frenzied groove, Mr. Lindelof closed his eyes and let loose a cathartic howl. Mr. Cuse responded with a ringing endorsement by rapping a cowbell.
At 8:15 p.m., with the beats winding down, Mr. Lindelof, 35, and Mr. Cuse, 49, pulled their wedding rings — removed to protect the drumheads — from their denim pockets and slid them back onto their respective ring fingers.
“Back when I was single, I did this crazy dance circle every Sunday for, like, four years,” recalled Mr. Lindelof, who wed Heidi Fugeman, a producer, in 2005. “I started going because I was told by a poker buddy that there were really cute girls there.”
“Were there?” asked Mr. Cuse, who had celebrated his 23rd wedding anniversary the previous weekend.
Affirmative. “But then Heidi and I started getting serious,” Mr. Lindelof explained, “and it was no longer tenable to be ...”
“Dancing with the hippies,” Mr. Cuse finished helpfully.
At Sushi Nozawa, the friends ordered Sapporo and sake and greeted each new plate with enthusiastic curiosity.
“You never know what you’re going to get,” Mr. Lindelof said, referring to dishes from the chef, Kazunori Nozawa.
“It’s like ‘Lost,’ ” concluded Mr. Cuse, and the two men clinked glasses.
“Lost,” which is beginning a syndication run on the Sci Fi Channel, returns for its fifth season early next year.
It was on to the Starlight, a dive bar.
Just after 10 p.m., a man approached their table and asked if they would like to buy framed photos of Cassius Clay’s historic 1964 bout against Sonny Liston.
Mr. Cuse, whom Mr. Lindelof had earlier described as someone who “never met a stranger anywhere he goes,” engaged the photo guy in conversation. Mr. Lindelof pulled out his iPhone and checked e-mail messages. That is, until he heard something that piqued his interest.
“Did you say you have a picture of clowns playing tennis?”
Perhaps it was the alcohol, but within minutes, Mr. Lindelof had paid $6 for an 8-by-10 print of a quartet of clowns besieged by a flurry of tennis balls.
“This never would have happened at Skybar,” Mr. Cuse said approvingly.
He leaned across the table for a closer look, but Mr. Lindelof clutched his purchase as tightly as if it were an Emmy.
“Get your paws off my clowns!” he said in feigned horror.Mr. Cuse let out a rollicking laugh. “That,” he said, finishing his beer, “is going to wind up in the writers’ room torturing us for years.