Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unexpected Bugs

VERY unexpected. There I was, minding my own business, on Tuesday, June 7, very early in the morning. I had grabbed a cab to get to lower Broadway for a Boardwalk Empire shoot for a 5 am call. The set was absolutely spectacular. There's a tiny alley/street that runs behind Broadway at about Walker Street called Cortlandt Alley (of which I had certainly never heard) which had been tricked out to be a tenement block of the 1920's...which was only fitting, because that's what it WAS in the 1920's. There were pushcarts and laundry strung between the buildings...just amazingly great work.

Well, I felt a little nauseated when I got there, but I swallowed a few times and took some deep breaths and it all went away. Then I got dressed and haired and made up, the usual stuff, had my breakfast, and we started the shoot.

After a while it occurred to me that something was very, very wrong. It was a fiendishly hot day, and I had been placed right in front of the door to holding, where the air conditioning was blowing out, which should have been ideal, right? Unfortunately, as the morning wore on, I discovered that the damn air was giving me the chills, which should NOT have been happening.

I lasted until lunch on purpose...they can't very well be expected to stop a shoot for one lousy background actor. I mean, they would have DONE it...but it would have been damned expensive in terms of time and stuff, so I just got through it, and as soon as lunch was called I left.

I then proceeded to spend five solid days flat on my back with the worst case of flu I've ever had in my life. I mean, like running 104. I couldn't even get downstairs to smoke a damn cigarette...for me, that's SICK. Thank God for Sarah, who came in and out delivering necessities like Diet Coke and chicken soup.

I am now completely well again except for a lingering cough, which is getting better. Never again!

So yesterday I went out to shoot something called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close in Brighton Beach, the deep Russian part of Brooklyn. What a damn screwed up shoot. I picked up the van at Varick and Canal, we got out there around ten, and they didn't use us until about 5 pm, which is in no way unusual. What was HIGHLY unusual was that there was no Crafty. Crafty is Craft Services, and it's the life blood of a shoot. It's your breakfast, it's your lunch, it's the all day snacks all actors count on so they won't have to go home and cook/pay for dinner. So we all had to go get and pay for our own breakfasts, which didn't improve anybody's mood much. The mood had already been pretty much lowered by the news that the agency had given all of us the wrong information when we called in to get our call times...they said wear a layered spring/summer outfit and bring a winter coat, hat, scarf. Turns out we needed two spring outfits. So all of us were dragging around all this damn heavy winter clothing for nothing.

And when we got lunch, it was catered by the Russian restaurant we were using as holding. Unfortunately, with the exception of things like caviar and blini and Beef Stroganoff, Russian food is pretty ghastly. Nine million mayonnaise laden salads and unidentifiable things wrapped in pastry and covered in breadcrumbs...all served cold. Well, at least it was ballast.

So we did the shoot, went back to holding and were wrapped around 6:15 pm or so. We all got signed out and went out front...only to be told that all of a sudden there wasn't any van to get us back to Manhattan. There would probably be a van at 10 pm.

Well, this was completely unacceptable, because the Brighton Beach subway stop is elevated...two flights up (and I wasn't hanging around until 10 pm). There's no way I can do this on a humid summer day hauling a heavy tote bag. (Please do not ask me why the HELL I didn't think of car service, but I didn't.) Luckily, after I stated my problem, the nice guy who was the background wrangler dragged my bag and me to the subway and carried it all the way upstairs for me (jumping the turnstile in the process, bless him), and I got back to West 4th Street which has an elevator.

I sincerely hope that it occurs to somebody that I deserve a pay bump for this, because I sure as hell wouldn't have even submitted for the job if I thought it was going to involve subway stairs.

Growl. On the other hand, even without a bump for transportation, I made a decent chunk of money. So there.

Love, Wendy

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Unexpected Pleasures

Well, what a nice week.

There I was on Wednesday, minding my own business, trying to take a nap about 12:30 pm (due to a slight hangover brought about by hanging out with my kid on Tuesday), when a text message popped up, saying Can you be at Steiner (i.e., Steiner Studios in Brooklyn) by 3 pm for Boardwalk? Well, of COURSE I can. I thought it was a costume fitting (I'm in need of a summer costume for this season), but no, it was actual work. Yay!

It was painful actual work. The scene was somebody beating somebody up in a men's room in a below ground speakeasy, and what we were doing was walking back and forth on a catwalk above this bathroom...I presume the intent was to show that this brutal thing was going on and we were all oblivious and just walking around on the sidewalk. The result is that I must let you know which episode my ankles are starring in.

The painful part comes in where they had a metal bar connecting the two sides of the catwalk on one end, into which we all walked at one point or another, except of course my pal Marissa, who's about 4'10" and could walk right under it. Problem was, at various points I was supposed to be talking to her as I walked, so of course since she didn't duck...yup. Clang. In the van coming back to the city, we all decided that we were going to have T-shirts made: I Got Concussed On Boardwalk Empire! And the best thing about it was that in the middle of the day I got an email asking me if I was available for this coming Tuesday for Boardwalk.

Then Thursday my pal Jiggers played a set at the Bistro, so I went there again, and met a bunch of the people from his job at the New York City Ballet (fund raising phone work). Great group.

Friday night I was hanging out at home around 6:15 or so, tastefully attired in my sweats with my hair hanging in my face (always elegant, that's me), when the phone rang and it was Jiggers, saying that he had an extra ticket for the ballet at Lincoln Center that night! You have never seen such a quick transformation scene. Off with the sweats, into the shower, on with the good dress and shoes, comb the hair, slap makeup on the face...and out the door to find myself sipping champagne on the terrace at Lincoln Center by 7:40 pm. We saw was wonderful.

So it was a delightfully unexpected week...may there be more of them!

And I found the absolutely best thing in the New York Post, in their Strange But True column. Seems there was an arrest in Naples, Florida at a children's birthday party, where one woman bit another (what interesting children's parties they must have in Florida). Now I quote:

"The woman initially denied she did it, but she was identified as the biter - because she was the only person at the party with a full set of teeth, according to police."

As you can imagine, this just made my day.

Now I have to do something about this damn apartment. You would not believe the mess I've managed to get it into. (Well, actually, if you've known me for a while, yes, you would.) I decided that I should really get the books in some sort of order so I can find things when I want them, and to that end most of the books are now out of the shelves and all over the place. Then I found some boxes because I threw out my original moving boxes, and I'm still trying to get it together to pack up Sarah's stuff, and of course until I do that I won't have the space on the shelves and in the closet in the other bedroom, and...all of this gives rise to an uncontrollable urge to lie down and read a book. I don't think God ever intended me to keep a house, because I'm really quite lousy at it. Clearly I'm a person who was made to have many servants. Unfortunately, until my staff appears, I'm going to have to do something about this wreck myself, damn it.

And did I mention that there's a pile of ironing to be done, too? And the kitchen to be properly organized? Oy. Ah, well...I'll get to it tomorrow. Right now I'm going to read for a while. Well, gee, it's just about ten past eight. That's nearly nine, which is almost ten, and you wouldn't want me to start cleaning in the middle of the night, would you?

Love, Wendy