Monday, June 22, 2009

Waiting For Jesus In The Shadow Of Kong (December, 2005)

(From 'Kong Week' at Access Hollywood.
Note: "K" = girlfriend, at that time staying in Kentucky)


L.A. people, supremely silly. They wear booties like puppies and – ever the optimists – sunglasses in the rain.
In town for Kong week, of which we are in the eighth day.
8,000 people will see the over three hour product at 42nd and 8th tonight. Were I a terrorist, this’d be the place to bullseye.
George Lucas will be there. The Governor. The entire NBC family, also owned by Universal. The Queer Eye guys. Jesus may show.
It will snow.
Right now, Pier 92 – location for premiere party. 420-500 feet – three football fields. Four man crew, shooting useless footage – Universal wants us to interview caterers, we do it. Cogs in the machine are we.
Skull Island recreated. Vines hang from ceiling. Waterfalls in dark corners. Trees flown in from Whofuck, Knows. Wade through jungle to get to tables.
“Aaall this money,” Sound Guy says in my direction.
3,000 people will eat here tonight. 850 pounds of beef sirloin, swallowed with vodka flown in from New Zealand.
I’d rather be in Kentucky.
Past the jungle, ’30’s New York Chinatown and Little Italy. Fake storefronts and the most remarkable fake snow – it’s cold! it’s wet! it’s malleable! And no doubt toxic.
I eat some.
Leopard-skin benches, chairs, tables. The Empire State Building in the corner.
Pale, lithe dancers (Rockettes) move choreography on a black stage beneath beaming ‘Burlesque’ sign.
Screens in each corner will project M and A Farewell to Arms.
Past these mean streets is Morocco, circa 1932. Zebra slipcovers. El Morocco Club re-erected, replete with black and white dance floor.
Where you are in the field is what you eat. Pasta in Little Italy, fried dog in Morocco, human feces on Skull Island.
L.A. women in shoulder pads whisk back and forth, thinking they run the show. Mafioso-looking muh fuckas mill about, commenting nefariously on said women and the surrounding d├ęcor.
Latinos sweep the floors and push massive dumpsters. Told to “Shhh!” while we shoot, they take the opportunity to wipe their sweaty faces with their filth-stained white shirts.
I watch the hands of interviewees. They shake nervously. Any sign of humanity I look for and cling to these days.
Big, round college cafeteria tables with names like Brody, Black and Kidman printed on laminated off-white cards sit atop them uncomfortably.
Kong has his own table.
As does Peter Jackson, once blazing and unconventional writer, director, editor, actor, make-up artist, puppeteer. His wife is his partner, having written and produced. It reminds me of Keleigh and what could’ve been.
Craven caterers and pointless publicity people – everybody wants a shot on camera and we’re behind schedule.
I don’t care; I have strep throat.
Next is Today Show Christmas/Tenth Anniversary party. Am containing my exultations lest I be fired.

42nd Street E Walk, AMC closed all day. I am in and out of both of them throughout – “He’s legit,” they say when they see me and give me free reign.
In the street, carpenters at work on The Red Mile.
A big deal – bigger than all of us. Universal, even.

Later. Standing out in the freezing fuckin cold clamouring for alacrity and some decongestant, lest my cough be caught on mic.
Different, Mafioso-looking muh fuckas mill about. One wears a sombrero; he opens limo doors.
Twelve hours after first call, nine hours in numbing cold, they begin matriculating from long, lumbering limos.
Lucas, Darren Aronofsky, other directors no one cares about.
Tim Robbins and his brood. He recognizes me but not from where – a nod in my direction and a fellow PA-Slash-Whatever is impressed. I tell him we go way back, though I met he and Ms. Sarandon only once, at a Women’s Conference.
'The Donald' doesn’t remember me, but his wife does. By way of recognition, a surreptitious wink. I play it off, turn to look at the guy behind me. Bald and shivering, he has no idea what’s happening.
Tiny Naomi Watts and towering Liev Screiber, the latter on whose first film I worked, August ’94. And I told everyone this guy’ll be winning Oscars soon. No one believed me but just watch Mixed Nuts or Spring Forward.
Adrien Brody and his beads. Jack Black. Mr. Jackson. Gollum.
Lindsey Lohan. Go get her, someone faintly familiar says to me. I do, mind stuck somewhere between Grande Egg Nog Latte and Keleigh’s sweet, viscous lips on mine. Ms. Lohan’s nips are the first thing I notice; it is, after all, eighteen degrees out this muh.
She smiles and “Don’t worry, I’m legit,” I say, though she don’t seem too perturbed at this strange man-boy in his leather jacket gently accosting her.
She’s a baby. And lovely, I think, though no match for Sarah, Penny or Allison.
“Where’s your black suit?” she replies and the leemers pounce. Our Billy Bush wins, dragging her crackhead-skinny ass over to the Access corner – the one with the fireplace and hot chocolate.
It occurs to me that getting paid for doing this makes just as much sense as working for free.

All alone again in this lonely city, I am ripe for redemption and this is just the season for it.
Love and satisfying work. Both elusive. Everywhere I look, missed opportunity.
I stand here with no hope for my future. None.
It begins to snow. I blow my nose and wait for Jesus.

Disposable cam shot. Beginnings of 'Kong' red
carpet on 42nd and 8th, early December, 2005.
Eighteen hours later, we went home.

Shitty disposable cam shot of O'Dell, Bush and
Lohan on red carpet for Kong premiere.

Disposable cam shot of Bush, Robbins,
and one of those Kong signs.

Disposable cam shot of Naomi Watts' back, and
Billy 'Slap Me Five' Bush's profile. Watt's' head covering
Schreiber's, her right shoulder covering O'Dell.

No comments: