Archive for the ‘New York City’ Category

Background to Gossip Girl- OMG, YOU TRAMP

September 23, 2008

While I’ve drifted out of the realm of acting as my allegedly primary career, I still do the bit of background work that flits my way. It’s fun, you get some good conversation, eat way too much, and pick up a couple of extra bucks here and there.

Sometimes you even get to actually act.

I’ve done some shoots recently, and heard some really crappy things about a show I really dig.

I’m thrilled that Gossip Girl is shooting in NYC. It needs to be shooting in NYC to be anywhere near authentic. Well, authentic as a show like GG can be.

But the way they’ve been treating background is just plain crappy.

First, they’ve finnaegled some SAG concession that allows them to pay extras like, $98 bucks a day. That’s before taxes and what not.
And the expenses of maintaining the clothes you need to bring to fit into the the GG world.

Next, to save bucks, they’ve had actors who appear in scenes with principles mime their responses, and then loop in voice overs later.

You see this 2 or 3 times in the season two episode, ‘The Dark Night.’ Anypoint in the show where you see a featured actor talking to someone, and the reply sounds like it’s either the voice of god or someone speaking in a completely different room.

This may mean they don’t have to give the extra a bump to featured background, or avoid a waiver, or what ever. It’s save some bucks, and screws actors out of a chance to get some bucks, maybe even a role they can honestly put on their credits.

Instead of the way we all not so-subtly inflate our rolls.

GG isn’t the only show doing this, and in all fairness, a lot of this is from… well… gossip in holding.

I also get that GG and the CW are so frigging desperate for cash that they have to cut corners to just stay on the frigging air.
But W.W.D.H.D. if he saw the corporate bigwigs, pushing drug abuse and irresponsible sex, consumerism, AND screwing the little guy in the process?

Well, he’d likely write about it in his diary and be mocked by B, but he wouldn’t like it.

No,sir, he wouldn’t like it at all.

Christians and Falun Gong and Scientologists, OH MY!!!

April 15, 2008

So it’s Friday night awhile back, and I’m going from the ESPN ZONE ( pro-athletics on the projection screens, anti-athletic food on the table), in Times Square to the A train, up to Fibi’s in Harlem. If you never had the pleasure of walking underground around the Times Square area anytime from the 1970’s to the mid-90’s, you would be hard pressed to understand just how much these tunnels have changed.

While not gorgeous, they seem wider, better lit, certainly cleaner and better smelling. The walk from Times Square to Port Authority just isn’t the hellish trudge it used to be. While you don’t feel you are going to be shot, stabbed, assaulted, or targeted by the body fluids of assorted lunatics, there are still those seeking to lead you off your intended path.

Right at the stairs to the 7 train is the Areana of RELIGIOUS KOMBAT! ( FIGHT!!! CHOOSE YOUR RELIGION! CHOOSE YOUR SPIRITUALITY! FIGHT!!!)

First was a Christian with literature spread over 12-15 feet of tables, signs suggesting with extreme prejudice that you “THINK JESUS”. If you didn’t get that message, more verse was computer-stitched on the back of his hoody, complete with different colors, bold face and underlining.

New York has long been a target for Christians looking for not-Christian enough folks. I remember one time a couple of years back, a whole choir of blond, blue eyed Southern teens and their long haired pastor were crooning “There Is Power In The Blood.” near Bryant Park. Of course, my first thought was to ask him for their passports and how much for the lot of them. (Isn’t that always everyone’s first thought on seeing a choir of Southern gals from an unaffiliated church singing on 42nd street?)Instead, I chuckled to myself and walked on.

In all fairness, they were more polite and cheerful in their p.d.f. (public demonstration of faith) than most.

And a couple of them gals was really, really cute. So why be rude?

The guys at the table by the 7 train? Not so pretty or cheerful. They were much more in the “Believe-or-go-to-hell-and-die” tradition. Still, they didn’t go out of the way to stop you from goingwhere you were going.

And they were actually honest about what they thought about you.

Right after passing the tables and tables of Chick tracks we came upon back-lit billboards for the “Holiday Extravaganza.” This was one of the many covert/overt efforts by the Falun Gong to publicize both their practices and the persecution by the Chinese government. After a couple years of failed, very blatant protests, they’ve shifted tactics. These last two years, they had followers spread throughout New York in traditional Chinese costumes, some even making it onto network morning shows.

Looking and sounding like, well, blissed out cult members, they’d talk up the traditional Chinese values and splendors of their show, while not mentioning a thing about it being a Gong show. And, from many posted reports, people who actually went were bored to tears by bad performances and anti-Chinese propaganda.

Now, the commonplace persecution of well… not just the Falun Gong but about anyone who doesn’t toe the Party line in China deserves protest and condemnation. We’ve been bad here in the US, they’ve been worse. If you don’t get that, start reading some different newspapers and history books.

But the Gong’s manipulative practices, like the bait and switch of the Holiday Spectacular, doesn’t help their cause. Just because the PRC’s actions are wrong, doesn’t mean the Gong are right, or shouldn’t be a cause for concern. After all, if a group is generating cult-like devotion, making cult-like claims of the powers of its’ beliefs and practices, and acting in really creepy ways, well, maybe they are a cult.

Just because you have two wrongs, doesn’t mean you have to choose one of them as right.

Also, maybe the MTA should get around to rotating it’s subway ads more? Just a suggestion.

So guess who we ran into next? Think cults, un-scientific claims, manic devotion and sleazy practices.

Right by the stairs to the downtown the A.C.E and the RAG shop, were our friends, the Scientologists. Big tables, lots of E-meters and books, three Sci guys, one person having a reading taken and not much else. They were looking a little down. This was right around the time Tom Cruise’s private rant leaked on video, just before Anonymous started doing it’s net-vigilante thing.

As we passed, I remarked “Sorry, I’m a suppressive.” And kept going.

Too say I don’t indulge my scorn the these particular cult flunkies would be both dishonest, and pointless, given that it’s here in plain html. But tearing into them doesn’t do much good, and is just plain self indulgent.

Unlike posting on a blog 4 or 5 people may actually read.

All the same, to take a stroll through the depths of the Earth being accosted by false prophets and their advertising buys was a strange way to start a Friday night.

So what did we learn on this stroll?

One- Strange things in NYC always come in threes.

Two- Overbearing religious zealots are just that. Overbearing religious zealots. But a little bit honesty on their part helps

Cute blonde girls in pastel with lovely singing voices helps as well.

Three- While the underpasses beneath 42nd street may be less crime ridden than they used to be, sometimes it’s still safer to walk above ground.

I’m Being Stalked By The Bretheren of Banderas and Rodriguez

January 8, 2008

I’m being stalked.

It happens on the subways. Almost every time I step on the “Q” in Brooklyn, after a stop or two of peace and quiet…

They are there. Walking on to the train, and now that they’ve locked the doors between subway cars, I am trapped.

No. There is no escape.

Three of them. They always travel in packs.

Their instruments of torture strapped to them. Some times bedecked in unique clothing, at others looking normal, until you see the large, leather straps across their body.

Subway Mariachis have found me again.

They’ve started moving deeper into Manhattan as of late. Traditionally in Manhattan, it’s all panhandlers with an agenda- (usually that everyone in the car will someday be in their situation, so pay to keep karma from being a bitch) or the occasional breakdancer/s. (When a crew of 4 to 5 young man try to start the big mass clapping while the train is vaulting down the tunnel at obscene speeds, contributions are really less for the dancers and more for medical bills- theirs’ and of any spectators’ hit in the face by a white Nike at the end of a breakdancer’s red nylon panted leg.)

I’m at least tolerant of busking taking place off the subway cars. You can move away from a busker while at a station, but when trapped on subway car, interaction with a passing mariachi/crazy preacher/close-quarters break dancer is sure to lead to tragedy, tears, and contusions.

Don’t they get that I’m trying to catch up on the Lword, for crying out loud?

Where is Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe in a bad-make up job, or  Joaquim de Almeida when you need them?

The Most Insensitive License Plate I’ve Ever Seen

January 8, 2008

    It was an amazingly springlike day in New York City. While I ran along Brooklyn Q line stops, since yet again the MTA does it’s repairs in Brooklyn when it can screw up my day, while I meandered the streets of Manhattan, where everybody was both happy with the weather and bummed because the finally got just the right tights to cover up their holiday excesses, I saw people happy and amazed to be in out in sunny, balmy day that in my lifetime you didn’t see until March or April at the earliest.

But the lovely weather and encroaching heat death of life as we know isn’t the point of this post.

Know, about 2PM on the upper east sides, I saw a black Mercedes, rear windows blacked out. the driver looking like the Transporter with hair and a good dosage of anti-depressant.  This was clearly the the vehicle of someone important.

Some one of status.

Then I saw the license plate.


Wow. How rude. How dare they.

They can have all their pride in the California industry they want, but show some respect. Don’t they know there is a diverse, gritty New York industry? One that allows people to be people, not surgically perfect Fembots and ultra tanned men of athletic perfection. One that features not just the people people want to watch doing sick things, but people who really do sick things doing sick things.

And how dare they disrespect that.

Where are East Coast pornographers ready to defend the New York’s integrity and turf? Not there when they need to be. Not there today at 2PM on the upper East side.

What? Do I watch porn? Of course not. Never. What is this thing you call ‘porn’?

I’m talking about civic pride here, you sick, sick people.

Religious Tryants and Warriors and Indian Rockstars, oh MY!!!

September 26, 2007

Yesterday was an interesting if stranger than usual day in NYC.

To start, as you probably know, the UN is in general session, and President Ahmadinejad of Iran raised a ruckus by trying to go to Ground Zero ( didn’t happen, thank goodness), and going to speak at Columbia University.(did happen, not sure if thanks are really necessary to anyone.)

Outside of showing the world again why you don’t want crazy national leaders get access to nuclear weapons, what else was achieved? Did Columbia’s President pull the best punk’d ever by inviting a world leader into an open forum and totally dissing him? Did Ahmadinejad’s yes man get around to spinning to him how he’s on his way to being the next Noam Chomsky?

Much ado, not much achieved.

On the way home from work, I took a long walk, and stumbled into the Best Buy on Madison. And a huge video crew. And craft services. And… G4TV?

Seems they were filming the Halo 3 launch countdown. And well, what did we learn?

Morgan Webb… pretty in person. Honestly. Sometimes media types just don’t look that good when you see them in the flesh. She does. Didn’t her hear through the noise, but it was a pleasant surprise.

Adam Sessler… tiny, but much healthier looking than you would expect. It was interesting watch him psyche himself up. While I’ve enjoyed the show, I actually gained a little more respect for him as a professional. He was in a small crowd, keeping a high focus and cooling without being rude to people around him.

I know X-Play is a show about video games, most of which I will never play, and G4 is the home of the worst repackaging of old Trek, EVER, but seeing these people work… they got work ethics, people.

The event was only moderately nuts. Some crowds outside, people milling about inside. ( Sorry… I didn’t try to grab anything and run. I’ve got my PS3 and I’m fine.) I’m just wondering why of all the Best Buy’s in New York, they picked this one.

It was an odd transition. From talk of a religious zealot to hype for a video game that features the destruction of religous zealots.

So from there, I wandered down to Bryant Park. And saw a minaret. And a Quatar Air buses. And pounding drums and a strange rap/rock sound coming forth.

This was worth a look.

Turns out there was a big Indian Culture event going on – and I was watching some kind of ‘fusion band.’

Honestly, I’ve heard some better Bollywood tunes, and the lead singer was way too into MC Hammer’s old clothes for his own good. But the crowd dug him. Sang along with him, feeling the beat…

The only time I felt so out of place at a concert was seeing the Barenaked Ladies after Billy Bragg opened for them at the Beacon Theater in NYC back around 1995, and watching hundreds of Canadian ex-pats go insane while a bunch of guys ran in place at keyboards

No… I was far more wierded out by the crowd at the Barenaked Ladies show.

So a combination of events even stranger than your usual day in NYC.

Gotta love this town.