Saturday, October 22, 2005
Rainy and COLD
Back home for just a few hours. I was held over on set for an extra day, which means I didn’t get home yesterday.
Friday’s poem is up on Circadian today – although it took a good damn while, since Blogger wasn’t publishing properly this morning.
I am so tired I am practically shaking, but I’m so overtired that I can’t sleep.
So. . .
Thursday, I went in to the show early to do day work. There was a put-in, and ten minutes in the company of chorus girls and I was ready to kill them all. Usually, my tolerance level is much higher, but not when I’m this tired.
On the way in to day work, I had a confrontation with a stupid tourist woman near Rockefeller Center. There’s a homeless veteran in a wheelchair who frequents that neighborhood. He’s a perfectly nice guy who fell on hard times. So this stupid tourist bitch from Podunk in her Wal-Mart special physically tries to shield her daughter’s eyes from the man, and glares at him with revulsion as they pass. How dare she behave that way?
So I stopped her. I told her how disgusting she was and that she was part of the reason this guy was on the street (she had Bush-voter written all over her), and she certainly wasn’t any better than the man in the wheelchair. I told her I bet she went to Church every Sunday and thought of herself as a real Humanitarian – yet she couldn’t even treat this man as a human being. What kind of example is she setting for her kid? And that, someday, it might be her. I loathe people like her.
The same way I loathe parents who throw fits about what’s taught at their children’s schools – they don’t want their kids “exposed” to certain types of thought. Now, a kid should be exposed to as many types of thought as possible – and then the parent sits down and discusses what’s been taught in school and explains how the family’s values may differ from what’s being taught in school. If a parent is so terrified of what other views a child is exposed to, that parent must know the views he/she holds are faulty and intolerant. Otherwise, the parent would be secure enough to know that he/she is setting a firm enough core for the family that the kid won’t be unduly influenced. And for parents who claim “not to have time” to keep up with what their kids are doing in school? Guess what? It’s part of the deal of parenting. You make the time. Or don’t have kids.
I see more bad parenting come out of the suburbs and rural areas than ghettos. More chosen ignorance and intolerance and fear of other points of view.
Again, it’s becoming more and more obvious that I have to leave the US.
And our union is screwing us on health care – again. Third time this year. The point of being in a union is to be a part of an organized labor organization that advocates a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and offers good health care. Our union is deteriorating into something that is more concerned with pretty balance sheets and aiding and abetting in the anti-labor policies of the current administration. It’s disappointing. I busted my ass to help negotiate the last contract, and now the people with whom we’ve given the trust – and the name “Trustee” are screwing us. Time for me to move on.
The TV pilot shot in Greenwich Village today – one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. I have so many happy memories there. We shot in and around the Minetta Tavern. It’s a great neighborhood, but hell to shoot in – the level of disrespect shown by the passsersby – again, mostly tourists, not locals, was appalling. I know barn cats raised with better manners than these people. They obviously weren’t spanked enough as children, or ever told “no.”
There was a man walking around with a 14 pound calico cat sitting on his head and a kitten on his shoulder. Um, okay.
So, we had 26 extras there to be “Italian soldiers” – meaning working for the Italian family running this part of the neighborhood in the script. The casting people were told very specifically to instruct the men “No leather”. So what happens? Every damn one of them shows up in a black leather jacket. So we had to re-dress them in what we had on the truck. The older guys were nice. It was the younger guys with all the pomade in their hair who were pains in the . . . One guy, wearing an iridescent tie argued with us about a tie change. Guess what, buddy? You don’t get to choose. Another guy’s energy gave me the heebie jeebies, so I stayed away from him as much as possible.
One of the female extras called tonight was on Sunday night’s shoot – one with whom I’d had a lot of fun. So we got to chatter a bit, too.
A young writer/filmmaker from Toronto is also on set to observe – she’s a protégé of the director’s. She and the writer/producer and I had a good conversation about politics, creativity, moving to Canada, and the way Hell’s Kitchen has changed over the years.
Our very lovely producers brought us pastry from Rocco’s (a very famous Greenwich Village bakery) at 12:30 AM.
Our ever-lovin’ background guys were like kids when the prop guns were handed out. They were so excited about the scene running out of the tavern waving guns, getting into cars and screeching off into the night that, on one take, they ignored the director yelling, “Cut.” The principal actors stopped in their tracks (as supposed to when the director yells “cut”), but the BG continued running around waving guns and getting into cars and driving off, in spite of all the people running in front of them with megaphones telling them to stop.
I got to leave at 2 AM, when the BG wrapped.
And then I had insomnia.
Oh, a colleague on the street who reads the blog gave me a copy of Marion Davies’s autobiography as background for The Fix-It Girl. She was William Randolph Heart’s mistress during that era.
On Friday, after about two hours’ sleep, I rolled out of bed, dashed up to the show to pick up and cash my check. I’d hoped to buy some heavy-duty all-weather gear, like a barn coat, at a thrift shop, but they didn’t have anything. I’ve been borrowing barn coats off the truck. Oh, well. Maybe get something overnighted from LL Bean?
I had breakfast at the corner diner near Artie’s –they recognize me there now. Who says NY isn’t a neighborhood anymore?
I hopped the subway down to Canal and Varick (turned out I managed to miss a subway fire that shut down the whole system for hours by several minutes) to wait for the courtesy van. People kept coming up to me asking me for directions in Spanish and Chinese and then getting mad when I didn’t answer in their native languages. Now, I’m a five foot seven inch tall redhead. Do I look Spanish or Chinese?
We shot in a hospital way out in Brooklyn today. Part of it is still a functioning hospital. Part of it is an arts academy for kids. And part of it is rented out to film and television shoots – the money allows the hospital to stay open. Law and Order keeps a full-time set there.
We had to rush to dress today’s BG – yet hair and make-up were so slow that they were late getting up to set anyway. Then – we’d told casting to send over BG to play the extended family of the Irish family that are the protagonists of this piece – and they sent us African-American actors. So we had to reshuffle everyone to find enough people who could pass for Irish. I hid in the bathroom at one point – as a redhead, matching the woman who plays the mother (who’s an old friend from Broadway) – I was afraid they’d want to dress me up and put me in there. Casting people should know that “Black Irish” does not equal “African American”.
Can I just say that the guy who plays the protagonist of the piece is one of the nicest, most considerate actors with whom I’ve ever worked? He’s not a star yet – but he will be. He’s genuinely interested in every single one of the 150 people working on this project. His mamma brought him up well – the only young men I know (he’s 23) who are that considerate are hockey boys. It doesn’t matter how crazy things get on set – he’s calm, cheerful, cooperative, funny, and looking out for us all. One of the truly good ones – and that level of care and consideration for everyone on a project are rare in the business, especially in television.
I was wrapping the rooms of the actors who finished for the day – that means gathering up the clothes out of the camper rooms and bringing them back to the wardrobe truck so they can be prepped for the next day – armload full of garment bags of clothes. There’s no light in the street by the trailers and Prospect Park is to the other side. I hear scrabble, scrabble, scrabble in the wet oak leaves and then something heavy ran across my foot. An enormous rat. I didn’t scream, I didn’t faint. Most importantly, I didn’t drop the clothes. But I was shaking when I got back into the truck. I am less than fond of rats. Especially ones the size of small lap dogs.
Got back to Artie’s a bit after midnight. I had begged for Saturday off so I could write my Breeders’ Cup article for FemmeFan and get a few things sorted. Since they only have 20 BG today, my wish was granted.
Got up early this morning, caught a train out, and hit the ground running. Put my paycheck in the bank. The TV rate is so much higher than Broadway rate that the amount of taxes withheld from this check is almost equal to a full week’s take-home pay on Broadway. TV money is addictive – but the pace would kill me.
Did a major grocery shopping, so I can cook for my mom for next week, when I’m back on set. My mother – who feels frustrated and helpless from the doctor’s prognosis – cleaned both apartments and defrosted the freezers and cleaned all the floors, et al, one-handed, while I was gone.
I took some turkey stock from the newly-cleaned freezer, threw in onion, garlic, leeks, parsnips, organic baby carrots, celery, dandelion greens, fresh parsley, oregano and rosemary and made a big ole kettle of soup. I’m about to bake a chocolate cake. And then I’ll cook up some other things.
Next time I’ll get to blog will probably be Monday. I’m back on set tomorrow – we’re shooting on a rooftop in Long Island City, and we’ll work till we’re done. Then back home Monday morning to do laundry and pack for next week. Tuesday, I go back in and I won’t get home until sometime on Saturday. Next week is small, sticky children week.
I’d love to get some sleep today, but I’m so wired that I lie down and two minutes later, I’m back up.
Off to do the article for the Breeders’ Cup.