Totally Unauthorized

A side of the film industry most people never see.

Words I never thought I’d say

“Sweet baby Jeebus, I am so sick of smelling this chocolate I think I’m going to puke.”

As soon as the words passed my lips, the world just felt.. wrong. Like I’d passed into an alternate dimension where everything was almost, but not entirely normal. Like the twilight zone (shit. Now I’m going to get hits from vampire tween searches).

A chill went down my spine and I wondered how I was going to return home from this deeply disturbing place.

Wait.. Let me back up.

Lately, I’ve been doing this thing where I sleep like a rock (and wake up not feeling very rested, but that’s another story), so when the phone rang at the crack of dawn yesterday morning, it didn’t register at first.  As I clawed my way to semiconsciousness, the call went to voicemail, so I shoved the cat off my face,  and upon listening to the message, found that it was someone calling to see if I were available to cover someone who called in sick.

I broke the dialing speed record calling back to say ‘yes’, showered, hopped in the car and headed across town (of course) to the stage.

Upon arriving I discovered that the bulk of the day’s work was several characters rolling around in what was supposed to be a mud pit. For some reason, instead of movie mud, this production opted to use chocolate pudding. Don’t ask me why. Guess they figured the actors were going to accidentally ingest it and it was better to be safe than sorry.

12 hours later, the smell of chocolate pudding mixed with cheap perfume and broken dreams was nauseating.

But that also could have been the smoke. In an effort to make the scene look like a strip club without actually going to a strip club, we used a doohickey that creates smoke, Basically, it superheats oil and spits out a vapor that looks like smoke. Don’t know what’s in it. It’s supposed to be harmless, but after a few hours on stage with the stuff, my eyes burn, my skin itches and I cough like a tubercular Victorian poet.

Productions are supposed to hand out ‘protection’ (no, not condoms, dust masks), but no one does because it’s useless against the smoke juice.

I usually feel like crap the next day, too.

It’s an occupational hazard since directors and DPs LOVE smoke. It makes the scene look all hazy and pretty (unless you overdo it and then your movie looks like an 80’s music video), so it’s a cross I’ll just have to bear.

The chocolate thing is a problem though. Hopefully I’ll stop hating the smell very soon.

Filed under: hazardous, movies, studio lots, toxic waste, Work

Friday Photo

carcasses

Empty glasses

I’ve worn heels twice since the foot surgery just over two years ago. The first time was at a cocktail party in one of the city’s tonier neighborhoods where I sat on the sofa with women twice my age and we all sipped very expensive champagne and complained about our feet hurting.

The second time was last night, at the opening party for a new restaurant in Hollywood, but this time, there was no available seating and most of the other attendees were half my age.

So I stood, smiling on the outside but inwardly cursing my footwear decision. Finally, I managed to score an ass-sized spot on a rickety table which I’m surprised didn’t collapse from the combined weight of me, my heels, several giant handbags, and a large raft of party flotsam.

The wait staff passed around plates of snacks – some delicious, some not (ahi tuna sliders on spongy white buns? Who thought that was a good idea?).

And teeny tiny drinks.

I mean really tiny. Like a sip tiny. Like half a sip tiny. Like a drink tease tiny.

Plus, the tiny glasses were plastic and will end up in a landfill! Remember, recycling is just letting the environment think it’s winning.

Note to club owners: Once the press corps start to sober up, things get ugly fast. Pass full-sized drinks, and keep ‘em coming. Your reviews will improve. I promise.

The runaway hit of the night was a vodka, cucumber and dill cocktail. I was double fisting the teeny glasses, and would have actually purchased one had there not been a cluster fuck of biblical proportions around the bar.

After a while, the pain in my feet got too bad and I said my good nights (and thank yous), then hobbled to the car.

Had I not been in Hollywood nightclub central, I’d have taken my shoes off and walked barefoot, but after all I do know what’s on that pavement.

Oh, and the wrist still hurts, but as long as I don’t use the mouse it’s not so bad.

Filed under: life in LA, Los Angeles, Non-Work, Off-Topic

Typing hurts

I’ve done something to my wrist (no idea what) and typing hurts, so I’ve been taking an internet break to let it get better. It’s almost there. Almost.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Something new after all these years

As you probably read yesterday, I was worried about the cable being covered with urine after being left out on a street in Hollywood all night.

The good news is that the cable didn’t get pissed on, that any of us could tell (beer pee baking in the sun? Oh, yes. We can tell).

Instead, the cable was greasy.

Not just ‘been on the ground’ slimy, but greasy and slightly opaque with some texture. Sort of a cross between cooking oil and snot.

Somehow, that’s way worse than pee.

I know what pee is and from whence it comes.

I have NO idea what that grease was and quite frankly I suspect that ignorance, in this case, is indeed bliss.

Just in case the source of the grease was as gross as the worst my imagination could do, I threw out my gloves at the end of the day.

Filed under: hazardous, locations, Work

The Pee Pee Corner

I was all set to spend today reminiscing for your enjoyment.

I deposited my freshly-washed laundry in the dryer, sat down at the computer, and then the phone rang.

“Do you want to work today?”

You even have to ask?

What time and where, that’s all I need to know.

Turns out they needed a crew to rig a location at the last minute – so I pulled the damp laundry out of the dryer, hung it about the house (campsite chic – it’s all the rage), and took off.

Of course, crew parking was across the street from the old place (no, really. Right across the street), so what once would have been a 30 second stroll was now 70 minutes of fighting traffic and wishing my car had a ‘stun’ setting.

The day wasn’t bad – it was just changing some flourescent tubes and running some cable with folks that I like a whole lot and I’m always happy when they call me, even if it’s for a short day.

The problem with running cable on a sidewalk in Hollywood is knowing what’s going to happen to said cable as soon as the shooting company’s gone home for the night.

The clubs let out, there’s an inviting wall and a passerby with a bladder full of beer, and you can guess the rest. We know the cable’s going to get pissed on – and we have a pretty good idea of where most of the pissing will happen (that nice semi-private convergence of walls ), and we know who has to wrap the cable in the morning.

So we’ll march in tomorrow and deal with the cable in the pee pee corner as quickly as possible while holding our breath.

Hey, it beats not working at all, right?

Filed under: hazardous, locations, toxic waste, Work

The unwashed masses have spoken

Don’t contradict me. I can smell you motherfuckers from here.

Fine, I’ll do them all. Starting tomorrow, with “A”.

Oh, and find me the person who decided to close Sepulveda Blvd (major traffic artery) at 5pm so I can kill them slowly.

Thanks so much.

Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s slow. Pick your poison.

Which story from ‘back in the day’ would you like?

a) It’s raining inside!! Oh, wait. We set off the sprinklers.

b) Alas, poor antique plate-glass window. We knew thee not well.

c) What’s a homie and why does he have so many guns?

d) Somebody get me some hip waders right now or I’m going postal.

e) A little left, a little left… that’s it. Put the light right in the center of the poison oak patch. Great.

Actually, e) is kind of short. You already have the gist of it. At least I wasn’t the one who had to go to the hospital.

Anyways… vote early and often!

Filed under: Uncategorized

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