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9:38 am - Sat 8/31/02
When The Bright Is Not Enough...
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Thursday 8/29/02 12:20 pm

When The Bright Is Not Enough...

This was on the packaging for the bike light I bought recently:

Suitable for: Bicycle, Jogging, Climbing, Baby, Car, Disable-Car. Especially For The Children, Blind Men, Old Men, In The Morning Or Evening, And The Cloudy Day, When The Bright Is Not Enough, To Increase More Safety

I like this copy. I like that they felt the need to list every possible use for their product (Which all boil down to "lighting up stuff"), and I like the "Fractured

English"; Those last couple lines sound almost like haiku to me.

In the "English As A Second Language" Department, there have also been some store names here in LA that I've enjoyed; Symbolic Motors, Ethical Drugs, and most recently, Bless Computers & Technology (You can agree or disagree with the sentiment expressed in that last store name--I'm decidedly ambivalent myself--but I like that the owner’s feeling is right there).

FRI 8/30/02

A while back, I wrote something down on the back of a piece of scrap paper. I liked the sound of it, but now I don't remember what it's actually from; It's either a line from Empire Falls, or a reviewer's comment about Amelie.

Anyway, here it is:

...how easy it is to both fight against and be deeply attracted to one's own isolation.

I'm pretty much living proof of that statement.

And while we're kinda/sorta on the subject of Amelie, and the way I relate--or fail to relate--to the world around me...

I recently read A Year At The Movies, by Kevin Murphy (The idea for this book is so appealing I wish I'd thought of it first; The author set out to see a movie

every day of the year, in all kinds of settings).

At one point, after seeing both Serendipity and Amelie, the author contrasts the two "date movies"...

Serendipity centers on the grasping "I." What can I get, how can I make myself happy, how can I get better, more, perfect? Amelie lives a messy life full of heart giving out love everywhere, and eventually that love is

returned. In its goofy, sexy, Frenched-up way, Amelie is a far better lesson in the nature of love.

I don't have much argument with that. But more than just an astute piece of movie criticism, it's good advice on how to live your life.

______________________________________

On the way home from work on Wednesday, I ran into Vince Vaughn, and ran

over one of his friends...

I decided to stop at the Ralphs on Wilshire and pick up a few groceries on the way home.

I'd gotten my things and was riding down Wilshire, grocery bag slung over the right handlebar of my bike, and was approaching the El Rey--A club I've passed a million times but haven't ventured into yet--when I noticed a crowd of people completely blocking the sidewalk.

When I got closer, I got off my bike and started to make my way through the crowd, but had to stop when a beautiful person from an approaching group saw a beautiful person from a group already stationed in front of the building, and started exchanging enthusiastic greetings and air kisses, oblivious to Yours Truly.

As I waited for the love-in to finish , I caught the eye of this guy to my right, who was with the group who had just arrived on the scene. He looked at me and shrugged, somewhat apologetically.

I said something like, "No big deal. I've got time", then I looked to my left, and there was Vince Vaughn, a foot away from me.

He's very tall. And he's a huskier fella than I would have imagined.

I didn't "geek out" at him or anything (Fact is, while I really liked Swingers, it's the only movie of his I've seen), but I'm sure he probably saw the flash of recognition on my face.

We exchanged mutual How's-it-goings, then he said to someone behind me, "Hey, you got all cleaned up for your birthday".

I'd started moving my bike forward again, when I felt my back tire roll over something. So I looked behind me, and saw the guy Vince Vaughn had been talking to, crouched down on the left side of my bike, acting like he was in great pain as my rear tire

rolled over the toes of his very clean black shoes.

I thought my first response was pretty good, under the circumstances; I said, "Well, you were all cleaned up...". Then I said "Sorry about that, man".

The guy then stood up--Was he someone I should have known? I kind of

thought so, but couldn't quite place him--and said "I was just kidding around".

Well, the reason my first comment verged on the smartass was that I sensed I was being "pranked" a little bit. So I said, with all the sincerity I could muster, "Yeah, that

was pretty good...", and with that, went on my way.

_______________________________________

I now have an appointment for my Baby With The Bathwater audition; It's next Friday, at 12:20.

My having an honest-to-goodness appointment is very exciting (It just feels so gosh-darned professional). And the fact that my call to the theater on Wednesday was returned within a half-hour after I left a message was, again, the

kind of thing that made me just feel warm-all-over.

Now all that remains is to actually get cast...

(END)

On Thursday, I went to the Everybody Loves Raymond taping with Cary and Kay.

I met up with Cary in North Hollywood shortly after 1:00, then we drove to Burbank, eating at a place called Moe's. It's a restaurant that Cary and Kay have gone to a lot in the evening, and never had problems parking or finding seats or anything like that, but at lunchtime it was packed.

While Cary and I waited to be seated--we were going to meet up with Kay there--we saw Helen Hunt, sitting at the counter with a big blonde guy (Cary and I wanted to tell him to move out of the way--"We can't see Helen Hunt!"--but we refrained).

Kay got there a short time later, and we ate and chatted (She was disappointed to have missed a good celebrity sighting), and a nice time was had by all.

We got to the studio parking lot a little early--audience members are only supposed to park two hours before the show--so we drove around a little bit, then went back shortly after 3:00.

There was waiting and going through metal detectors, and a shuttle ride to the lot where they shoot the show, but I didn't really have much of a problem with any of that; It was just fun to be "out and about" (My only real concern? Once you were inside, it would be awhile before you could go to the bathroom, so I wanted to make sure I'd "done my business" beforehand).

When they let us into the show--around 5:00, I think it was--a guy came out (The "warm-up guy". I think his name was Mike-something) and talked for a bit, then Ray Romano came out and joked with us a little, then we watched the season premiere on the monitors (The show that was being taped that night will be the third show of the season).

We were seated in the back, but pretty center stage, so I thought the seats were not bad; We had a good view of everything you could see, anyway.

The main sets--the "Barrone" kitchen and living room--were center stage. The "swing sets"--sets that are used less often, or are changed depending on the needs of a particular episode--were on the far left and right sides, and in the case of the "Barrone" bedroom, couldn't be seen at all by the audience (Everything was playing on monitors in front of us, so if you couldn't see because of the cameras and such, you just watched the monitor closest to you).

It took about four hours to tape the show (They also did a quick little "promo" afterwards). My perception was that it was a pretty efficient operation; I don't think they did more than three or four takes of any given scene (Sometimes it was obvious why they were re-doing something--When an actor blew their line, for example--but sometimes it wasn't; Sometimes it was camera stuff, sometimes it was just a "tweak" of a line or bit of business, and sometimes I couldn't tell why they were doing it again.

Ray would sometimes do a different line or bit from one retake to the next, which was nice for the audience; One thing I hadn't thought much about was how the audience at a taping has to laugh like it's the first time they've seen a scene, even when it may be the third or fourth time they've seen it (They have mikes set up to record the audience's laughter, which left me wondering if they rely on the live audience response, or if they "sweeten" it with a laugh track).

Something else I hadn't thought about was how the "Warm-up Guy" has to work throughout the taping (I think I had in my head that he'd come out, say funny stuff, then go away when the taping started). And Mike-The-Warm-Up-Guy was easily the most annoying part of the process for me; I understand the need to have someone kind of "managing" the audience, keeping them focused and all, but I've always found it annoying to be constantly flogged for a bigger response by a performer (When that happens, I always want to say, "Hey, I'm giving you what I got, okay? Take it or leave it!"). He did a lot of audience participation stuff--At one point, when he was asking for single people, Kay tried to get me to go up--but that's another thing I've never really been into; I want to either be the "audience" and watch, or be the "performer" and have you watch me, but I have no interest in being a "good sport" by going up and doing the chicken dance in front of a crowd, or some such nonsense.

One big thing I came away from the taping with was a feeling that "I could do this..."; Other than the cameras, it was an environment I felt quite familiar with. Basically, they do a little half-hour play once a week (They have a four-day-a-week shooting schedule, which I also thought was pretty sweet). But unlike doing a play, if things go off the rails, they get to stop and do it over.

Nothing there that seemed beyond me (An ongoing source of anxiety has been my total lack of experience in tv and film, so it was reassuring to to feel that this particular performing experience would not be totally alien to me).

_______________________________________

Got a fun bit of "snail mail" yesterday.

Some while back, I wrote a little "essay" for the "Readers Write" section of The Sun.

Well, while they don't guarantee I'll make it into the magazine--"space constraints" and all that--they sent me a letter, with a copy of my edited work, saying that if I wanted to change any names to protect the innocent, or if there were factual corrections I needed to make, or if I objected to their edit and wanted to withdraw the piece, to let them know.

I think that's pretty damned cool (If it gets in the magazine, it'll be in the November issue).

Well, I've probably went on long enough. But it's felt like a pretty interesting period of time. What can I say?

 

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