Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Screech!! HappyTurkeyDayGottaGoBye, ZOOM!!

Yeah, that's how my days have been lately. I went from The Apprentice Season 7 to an industrial for a pharmaceuticals company to an NPR doc show seen on Showtime to another indie feature starring Hugh Dancy and Frankie Faison (that's what I'm working on now). I've worked on another picture earlier this summer with Mr. Faison called Order of Redemption which stars Tom Berenger, Armand Assante and Buster Rhymes, and on the flip side of the camera I was an extra in an earlier film he did with Chris Rock, Down To Earth. In all cases, I've worked really long hours and traded sleep for experience and a chance for more work like this... umm, you should know at this point that I'd lost my mind a long time ago, so don't go there) In all this, I missed out on the wrap party for the revival of The Electric Company >:' as well as plenty of needed sleep.

On Thursday, I dip into LI for a quick respite with family and then go right back to work on Friday (bummer). I drive this huge G/E truck that you need training to drive (so they can trust you with it is all I can figure out why); I was told I was the only PA in this production to pass the test, to which I quipped, "Why, was I the only one to take it?" Having been on the job five days, I suspect this actually is the case. I love working in film, but damn, I gotta move up; on both sides of the camera I need to get better parts.

At any rate, I can't complain about not working. Might I add a little note about the simultaneous strikes occurring in the film world and on Broadway. I support the writers wholeheartedly; it's complete BS to say that there is no precedent for basing future revenue sharing with the DVD and downloads industry. Studios and producers made out like bandits when the same argument was made about home video rentals while the writers get virtually nil. They are determined not to be marginalized by people, and I learned this in grad school from industry insiders, who would pay writers and actors absolutely nothing if they could legally get away with it. Look on CraigsList sometime and see in the crew and talent sections how many shows are looking for people to work for "food, credit and a copy." The stagehand strike is a little different; though I don't know exactly what the beef is on both sides, I tend to favor the stagehands because I know what they have to do (having done it myself in an obviously smaller capacity) and the nature of Broadway productions is even more ruthless than with film. Trust me, I don't feel that bad for the producers here, either, though they do have it harder than film producers. This is more related to work conditions and obligations than for pay. Actually, it's also an issue about access to more pay that is being blocked for the sake of saving money on productions, while requiring more labor from the stagehands regardless of labor rules and common sense, from what I've gathered. In any case, I hope the writers and stagehands get what they want.

Okay, I've got to get back to life, au revoir >;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

free music fridays...

i thought about starting this up last week. there are way too many good podcasts and music sites out there with a lot that's free for the taking. so as often as possible, i'd like to make this a friday ritual and offer up something for the good people who make an effort to read this blog.

if you need a little something to wind down your work week, check the bending corners podcast, specializing in jazz-n-groove with a new mix each month. last month, they put together a real nice selection of female singers, songwriters, musicians, and producers. the choices range from Ella Fitzgerald to Betty Davis to Siousxie Sioux to Riz Maslen. even threw in some remixes of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone as well. from straight-ahead jazz to funk to some electronic works, the corners are good and bent when it's all said and done.

click here to check out the playlist and hear the show...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Birthday To People I Love

November is a prodigious month, apparently. There are three birthdays to celebrate, for three people who are near and dear to me for different reasons. Let me count the ways...

Aqua Boogie

First is our teammate (whom hasn't yet posted but I promise she is spectacular) whom I love and I am in love with. Yes, I said it. Aqua Boogie, also known by another name which I will let her reveal at her discretion, has been a close friend of mine since we attended Howard University together, and for reasons I can only figure involve fate, have shared many similar life experiences concurrently. Her storyline reads almost the same way as Mom & Pop Story, and her endeavors are remarkably similar to what I've done and currently do. I had a vivid dream about her several years ago in which we were both standing backstage in a theater participating in a particular show... when I noticed her, I began to babble profusely about how much I loved and cared for her. Suddenly she shushed me with a finger to my lip and grabbing one of my hands. She looked me straight in the eye and whispered, "Words are an overkill..." at which point I woke up. I've been captivated ever since. AB lives in New Orleans (and was displaced by Katrina, which I hope she'll write about at some point) and works as a graphic artist and PA for live events and festivals. Maybe somehow I can manage to get her up here to work on some film and TV gigs (if anyone's curious about her work, I'm all for referring), but in the meantime she stays busy doing her thing there and I'm up here doing my thing... so we're good friends. You never know what life will bring except another day if you're there to receive it, but for the time being, I Dream of Boogie >;)

Macedonia

Next up is my best friend, teammate and spiritual twin brother, Macedonia. The two of us go back to Wappingers Falls, where in a spot of quick-thinking he saved me from being run over by a pair of weightful bike-riding twins (mutual friends as it turned out, I suppose I'll have to tell that story in another post.) Macedonia and I collaborated on audio cassette collages in a band called Cut-Up City and attended high school together as Big/Little Brother in the Big Brother/Big Sister mentoring program. Somehow we managed to think alike on many occasions; once I decided to wear a trenchcoat and fedora to school... I rode the bus to school that morning and when we got to his stop, he hopped on the bus, wearing the same trenchcoat and fedora (right down to the color). We looked at each other and said, "Wanna wear 'em all day? Okay." Needless to say, on many occasions we bugged many people out with similar feats of coincidence; particularly a girl that, as fate/coincidence would have it, we were both in love with. That is a long and interesting story in itself, but not one I need to tell here. All I have to say right now is Happy Birthday, lil' brotha...

Joseph Jr.

And naturally I gotta say Happy Birthday to my hero, my big brother Joe. Joseph has been an inspiration to me as an adult, I idolize him as a man and a father figure (he's twelve years older than me.) Joseph's own life story could inspire many books and movies of their own, to which we hope to one day be movie-making partners (hey, the Coens, the Wachowskis, the Weinsteins, you know it'll happen). Joe is currently training to be a top personal trainer among other things (when he was in the Air Force, he set a base weightlifting record and subsequently competed in bodybuilding contests) and is a member of a federal tactical force unit. But before you jump to any conclusions, let me tell you that he is absolutely no one's fool. For everything I am, Joseph is (that x 10). Don't mess with him, just wish him a Happy Birthday...

I love these people. They inform and inspire me yesterday, today and tomorrow, and perhaps in some token way I do the same for them. There's not enough I can say about them, so I'll just say "Thank you, and have a Happy Birthday" >;)

Wowzers, Sat. Nov. 3

It's strange how we were just talking about this today... the team I've been driving around for the show I'm currently working on had been bantering about the Olympic Marathon Trials at Central Park and the impending New York City Marathon, taking place tomorrow. There's myself, Tommy, the still photographer and R.A., his assistant, and as we were driving along the two of them were discussing the marathon... R.A. had been invited to run, but Tommy was convincing him not to do it. "Dude, the human body was not made to run 26 miles on asphalt in the cold." I agree on principle, and R.A. agreed, perhaps also out of age and recent activity. He called his friend and told him he wasn't joining, and that was that.

Later, I got home and as I'm checking my email, I see a headline in Yahoo News stating that one of the top U.S. runners competing for a spot in the Beijing Olympics in the trials taking place today collapsed and died about a fifth of the way into the race. I called R.A. immediately and told him what happened...

Wowzers is all we could say.