Sunday, January 30, 2011
Matt Damon's New Film, SF Salumi and John of God
San Francisco's Ferry Building is a smorgasbord of up-scale food stores, rarefied mushrooms, overwhelmed tourists and reflects the denouement of meat-reclamation. I made a beeline for the building after a casting agent's lackey took my info card, stapled it to an old photo of myself in which I have fewer forehead wrinkles and told me have a nice day.
I have a friend who bears an uncanny resemblance to Matt Damon but this is not why I showed up to the pit of desperation also known as an open casting call. What happened is this: in October I found out I have a bum kidney. The other one is fine so I'm not going to die as a consequence or anything but ever since I was faced with a failure of one of my own vital organs (as a Capricorn, I REJECT failure), I've decided I need to - you know - live a little. So I will travel more and when life offers me an adventure or an opportunity to finally be discovered as a top model or indie film star, I take them. Carpe Damon.
Above reflects an infant's body but you get the gist. But no one will join me for the open casting call except one beloved friend who happens to be on the East Coast this weekend. I will go alone, no matter. Adventures, remember- I am signing up for adventures before I die. I know nothing of the word of Hollywood. Growing up in western Pennsylvania meant the closest I was to celebrity as a child was my mother's co-worker who was Madonna's aunt by marriage. Betty Ciccone. True story.
I don't have photos from today's line and the one above is classier than our crowd, anyway. Suffice to say, I arrived at 9:50am for the 10am start and the line was wrapped around an entire block. I waited 3 hours watching this survey in homo sapiens.
Here's what I discovered, qualitatively:
1. 50% of the cattle were curious (myself included)
2. 25% were somehow involved/involving themselves in the film industry and have delusions of grandeur
3. 25% were bat shit crazy
The woman behind me told me her name right away and separated herself from the pack by declaring herself in the acting biz. She'd brought her resume and all but shoved it at me. Her info card said she was 38 and I'm guessing she shaved off a decade which is not age-ist, simply accurate. She talked loudly on the phone to her husband, updating him on our place in the endless line and insisted on calling this an "audition" which I thought was hilarious. It was just a shitload of people from Northern California who feel cheated out of celebrity culture because we live 6 hours too far north off of Interstate 5 and want a brush with fame and a good story to tell.
Other notable hopefuls included a man who brought his own folding chair and had actual head shot, 3 30-something Sacramento nurses in front of me, a chain-smoking sullen frizzy-haired woman whose mail friend parked his car but couldn't remember where, an affable white man who regaled nearby hopefuls with stories of his previous harassment of Sean Penn, several addicts whose withdrawal symptoms made waiting a precarious thing. The crowd was sad and I was right there with them.
My good friend and excellent writer, Sarah F.W., was an extra in Uncle Buck starring John Candy. She was used in some smoky teenage party scene and was forced to smoke cigarette after cigarette as John Hughes got the footage needed and she wound up pretty ill from the experience. I would totally eat a pancake that big!
Finally, after the 3 hour wait during which I asked myself some hard questions about my goals and willingness to make a decent living, I handed my info card and dated photo off to the lackey. Upon filling out the pink card, I realized I have no marketable talents that the entertainment industry would seek out. Next to specialized skills, I wrote only "moon-walking, old school; playing percussion instruments but not the drum kit; reciting the 50 states in alphabetical order."
It was 1pm and I'd had nothing but water, Metamucil and my morning coffee. In a few days, I will have a private session with Cynthia Branchflower, a disciple of John of God. I'm hopeful she can tell me how to heal my own kidney. My friend, a local Shaman, told me the universe/spirits/god/whomever told her that I would heal myself but who knows where to start? I'm putting my money on someone who was appointed by John of God.
Anyway, Cynthia Branchflower told me not to eat pork for 7 days after our session. I'm not sure why but I will certainly find out. So my beeline for the Ferry Building took me right to Boccalone Tasty Salted Pig Parts.
Lucky for me today's lunch special was a sausage sandwich with peppers and grilled onions. Yes, please! With that, I had a juniper berry soda and some Utz's handcooked potato chips. Utz is a Pennsylvania brand; I remember it from my childhood and it surprised me to find this in the Ferry Building.
I would wax philosophic about my sausage sandwich but truly I was so hungry and beaten down by our collective emptiness that I wolfed it down. It was warm and spicy, that I know. I know I liked it and I know I had life energy once again after eating.
Truth be told, even if I get called to show up and play an extra at Candlestick Park, pretending to be terrified of some catastrophic bacteria unleashed on my city, I don't know if I'll show. I don't know if I can face my fellow citizens' attempts at fame and fortune.