Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The night Cyrus was shot.

The call came into the mailroom because I didn't have a home phone yet.  "What was that all about?" asked my world-weary, Panamanian mailroom boss.
"Extra on a movie."
"How much?"
"$35 for the night."
"That's nothing!"
"And they take 20% commission."

"Where do you have to go?"
"Riverside Park at 96th Street... at midnight tonight."
"Sounds like a lot of shit to me."

There are hundreds of guys already at the park.  Many, I'm told, are real gang members in some kind of summer program and, presumably, are NOT paying the 20% commission.  There is a lot of grumbling that real gang members do not dress the way we're being dressed here in THE WARRIORS.

Be afraid.  Really afraid.
I'm given my colors:  a vest and straw hat.  Just the idea strikes terror in people.  And, even though I've been assigned a fake gang, none of my homies want to talk to me.  In fact no one is very friendly. 

The 2nd unit director barked orders.  "Okay, Cyrus is going to say 'Can you dig it' three times.  The first two times you do nothing.  The third, time you go apeshit - but SILENTLY."  Lots of uneasy grumbling.  But compliance.  If you look at the movie, it's kind of funny.  Cyrus says, "can you dig it" twice and and is met with stony silence.  He says it a third time and suddenly everyone GOES BESERK."  The noisy part, as they say, happened in post.

After digging Cyrus, there was lots of down time.  I'm bored.  And it starts to rain.  And I was beginning to feel a cold coming on.   Now, my cousins left the Kirk Gibson game early to beat the traffic.  So I suppose I missed being up close and personal to an iconic movie moment, because I left right before Cyrus was shot. ("That's the Warrior!  He shot Cyrus!  The Warriors did it!").  But I was cold and scared and tired.  And wet.

The next day I reported to Arthur.  "There were gang members dressed up in baseball uniforms and on roller skates."
"Well at least you got paid."
"No, they're not paying me because I left early."
Arthur went back to taping up a cardboard box.
"I told you sounded it like a lot of shit."

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Red Train

This is an indirect response to my friend Dean's excellent article on riding the Los Angeles subway.  My life seems to parallel Dean's in a few ways - I'm in exile from show business, I live in North Hollywood, I work downtown and I commute on the red line every day.  That's really not as remarkable a coincidence as it sounds - the subway is only useful to those who live in North Hollywood and work downtown.  Or go the other way.  MOST of the time, I'm happy not to be stuck in traffic.  Some of the time, fuck, I'm on the subway.

Here are a couple of things to know about the LA subway:

1)  There are currently two lines - the Red and the Purple.  The Red Line goes from North Hollywood to Union Station (downtown).  The Purple Line goes two stops - to Wilshire & Western.  And... that's it.

2) It runs on the honor system.  NO ONE works there.  No ticket sellers, rare appearances by law enforcement.  Every six months or so they do a ticket sweep.  If you get caught without a ticket in your pocket it could set you back like $275.  Surprisingly, they rarely seem to catch anyone.

3) I almost always sit in the last car because there are less people there.  The less people the better.

4) Sometimes people talk to you - crazy people, panhandlers, insane people... that's when it seems I'm really paying the price for not being in a private car.

Dean says he see me once on the subway.  It was 5:30am, I probably wouldn't have gotten up and said anything to him either.  Sure beats the bus, though, right?