Sunday, June 11, 2006

a different location, same trench.

I did a stint as an "extra" yesterday; a 12.5 hour day of long stretches of reading my book, Stephen Arroyo's "Exploring Jupiter, the Astrological Key to Progress, Prosperity & Potential" and sometimes acting like I was exiting my car and walking towards the dome. It is a Lifetime movie of Fantasia's timeline to celebrity-hood via American Idol. She seems like a very nice person, and we were treated to her audition reprisal. Debbie Allen is directing it and we background actors, as we were called by the assistant director, watched her play an auditioner in a scene. It was very funny. She did it in one take - so did Fantasia. Oh sure, they needed us to walk from our cars a bunch of times, but they only had to sing their songs once.

I also met some people. There was first a Jim O'Connell from Duluth, Minnesota. I am sure that it is just a coincidence that he looked a lot like my cousins, Jeff and Tom and Steve, in Minnetonka, MN, and that his last name is the same as my Grandmother, and Jeff and Tom and Steve's too, from Minnesota's maiden name. Jim accompanied me out of the car and towards the building over and over for at least a couple of hours. The sun was shining brightly. It was hot, but bearable. I drank down a lot of little bottles of water. The guys with megaphones told us to linger at the car before heading towards the bldg. We'd pop the trunk and go back there where I have three bags of goodwill. I had to tell him part of the story each time we pretended there was something in the trunk that we had to get out or store, that there are no centers accepting stuff anymore except for the Hammond Goodwill, and sometimes I am in that neighborhood. Those stuffed bags had to get out of my space. It was clogging my closet chi.

I also met a medicated, religious, bipolar girl who had her first manic episode after dabbling in Wiccan. She first wanted to talk to me and tell me a lot, and then after about 30 minutes or so, she very casually distanced herself. She is looking for a new religion. She is part bohemian, and part fundamentalist with guilt about having premarital sex and other choices that go against the grain of her programming. I saw her later in the throng of extras who had to do a lot of walking back and forth across a part of the stadium we were shooting in. I am glad I didn't have to do that. I didn't mind at all being in the bleachers, reading my book and making friends. At least, that part was air-conditioned.

I also talked with Julia on my cell phone a bunch. Thank goodness for unlimited weekend minutes; too bad for batteries that don't keep on going.

There was a man there who never filled out a sheet to get paid for the long day, which I never stopped complaining about to myself, and sometimes out loud. He was just giving his son a ride and followed the crowd. They live in Lafayette which is two hours away. He didn't care about doing it for money or attention. We, his neighbors, thought he was a good sport. His son was tagged to play some feature extra role; I never knew who, down on the field, was his son.

That was really working in the trenches. I don't know why, or how, I can make a living doing that. I was tired enough to sleep in till 8:41 a.m. The last time I did a gig as a background actor, it was a 16 hour day, pretending to part of the backdrop of a lesbian cop tv pilot. They were fighting crime by day, and bumping and grinding on Bourbon St. by night. That was two years ago. I am still waiting for it to come on so I can see if they have me on tape. Oh the joy that would be.

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