A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cicily Goes Hollywood

Last night and this morning was the shoot for the "Untitled Blackjack Picture." My old friend Alma had landed a part in it as well, so we drove into Boston together on Thursday afternoon. Parked in the Boston Common Parking Garage, as instructed, and looked for the bus which would take us to the set. Here it is, with some engaging muppets who happened to be strolling by. After this shot, I put away my camera for the evening. Try to take a picure on the set and you're thrown out--into a box, with rats, as they warn you.

Throughout the night (we were there for eleven hours) a total of maybe two minutes of the film was shot. If they even use the scenes. In the first scene, Kevin Spacey and Jim Sturgess walk down the street, heads bent, deep in conversation. Later, Sturgess comes back along the same street, glancing from a scrap of paper up to the buildings as if searching for an address. Still later, he comes out of an alley. And that's it.

These scenes were shot in Chinatown. Gund Kwok (which means "heroine" in Chinese), the only Asian Women Lion & Dragon Dance Troupe in the United States, provided local color. One of the women told me during a break that Thursday is their night to practice anyway. A pyrotechnics squad provided extremely noisy firecrackers. Some of us, myself included, scored sparklers, which we were supposed to light for each take. Sparklers are illegal in Massachusetts, but the head of the squad told Alma and me that we were operating under his license.

Between scenes, we could sit inside. The third floor of a restaurant was reserved for us. Catered food was brought in for two meals and snacks. Union actors are fed first, because if they go more than a certain length of time without food, they get a hefty bonus (something like $300 apiece). But there was plenty left over for the rest of the talent (as I now prefer to designated).

Traffic was light going to Boston and returning, since we were going in the opposite direction from most everyone else. The night was extremely mild. We accumulated around 12 hours, which means we'll get some overtime pay. The casting company validated our parking. Alma and I got to chat about some projects we've got lined up for spring and summer. I got home and crossed my number one resolution ("be in a movie") off of the napkin on my refrigerator. I got to work with one of my favorite actors. All in all, a great night.

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