Sunday, December 24, 2006

the best christmas

over the years, if i think about the best christmases, i have to say my thoughts wouldn't include the new canaan mansion in-law parties with the egg nog and the "thank you so much for the LL bean tote bag," nor would they include the "i cooked a fabulous seven-course meal for a dozen people" either. i would lean more towards one of these visions from years past:

-making and serving beef stew to homeless people at the soup kitchen set up by the b'nai b'rith synagogue on the upper west side.
-going for a hike in the catalina mountains with my favorite relatives and having a huge picnic on a picnic table at the trail head before coming home to nap the rest of the day.
-performing songs from charlie and the chocolate factory with my friends at a bunch of children's wards and old folks homes (the children's cancer ward at any hospital is a tough place to smile and sing, let me tell you, but i was dressed as a fairy princess (of course) and they all wanted to touch my dress and be magic wanded, so i had to suck it up).
-under a tree on the beach in mexico half sleeping, half listening to the waves, while my mom read her book: the origin of consciousness in the breakdown of the bicameral mind (good god that was embarrassing).

things i would like to have for christmas:

-new rosanne cash CD (cash CD, that's cool)
-a tight "team Rosie" t shirt to wear around mid-town.
-good health for me and all my loved ones

Friday, December 01, 2006

to die for? probably.

we went. the first day. earlier show. gorgeous movie theater, the ziegfeld. anyway, this damn movie opens with a free running sequence that is unforgettable. what must have taken a week or two to shoot plays out in about ten or fifteen minutes of a chase, featuring a world class parkour champion, and, of course, james bond. it's breathtaking.

we actually see bond fall in actual love. i don't recall ever seeing that in a bond film before. the shower's indescribable. he's so tough but also pathetic and insecure, struggling the entire time. the beautiful, independent-thinking women all die, of course. the torture scene is abu-ghraib and i could do without it. but daniel craig is dreamy and funny and in ridiculous shape. i just had to write a post about it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

sorry you had to be killed for christmas

a magnificent three-story tall evergreen was put to death recently. it is on view for the next several weeks in front of the arch at washington square park, where you can watch its beauty slowly desiccate. some shiny christmas balls hanging from the arch would have sufficed for me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

home for the holidays update

update: the "skywalk" (okay? it's not really a bridge, i admit). The Skywalk is not open yet. It is taking a little longer than planned to actually get it all done. There is some process called "Jack and Roll" that still has to be completed. As soon as it's open ("first quarter of 2007" they say - sounds a little vague), I will go, and I will invite anyone who wants to come with me.

I'm going to Arizona this week. Things to do: see the glass bridge that is supposed to be finished now. I'm not afraid of heights.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

other types of animals

People seemed to like my working animals post, so I will continue that theme one more time. There are other species of working beasts on the movie location circuit. Most visible and noisy would be that which is called "stuntman". It takes a special man to flip a car or jump off a cliff. When they hang around the production office, they like to preen and display their feathers. Their call is "any messages for me?"

Stuntman Randy Peters. Yes, that was his name.

Next is the sub-category of stuntplayer (the technical term) called the "wrangler". This one can do all kinds of tricks while on horseback. They don't preen as much, at least not in public. Their call is "yes, ma'am".

Kane Hodder in Ghost Town

And last but never least, there is the related variety called the "teamster". They are basically car and truck hounds. They know how to fix things. Their call is, "where we goin for lunch?"

Transpo coordinator, Gary Hellerstein

Saturday, October 14, 2006

working animals i have loved

A black wolf hybrid on the movie Natural Born Killers. (full-blooded wolves don't have blue eyes the trainers said.)
He literally had crap on his paw one morning, and jumped up on me because i was probably trying to pet him. (you don't really "pet" a wolf, even a tame one. they don't wag their tails like dogs. they have a much more steely disposition, obviously.) So I walked around with wolf crap on my white tshirt for the rest of the day. "hey g--, how come you got mud on your shirt? it's not mud, it's wolf shit. oh, you were in the pen again? yep." how many people get to do that at work?

Here I am having a conversation with Blink, the "retrieve" raven trained by Harry Potter wizards Gary Gero and Mark Jackson. She could pick up stuff with her beak and carry it as she flew. She tried to pick up the receiver on the phone in my hotel room once. Her favorite food: bloody raw horsemeat, fed by hand.

Little "Tex" the armadillo from the WASP video.

Shar-peis are weird looking as all hell. They look like
sea manatees. Looks better than me, though, christ what was with those bangs? and fugly outfit.

Fargo's chickens getting a drink of water on the set of Young Riders.

Trying to figure out where Eddie Money lived while working on At Close Range outside of Nashville, I think these were his colts. omg they were so cute. Cropped out my large ass, oh yes i did.

Kissing a rattlesnake ( i try to love all creatures) in the Mohave desert for a lame ass TV movie, Dalton Code of Vengeance with Charlie Haid and Tex Cobb. It's illegal to bring rattlers across state lines, so snake wranglers would have to catch them in the state where they would be filmed, "milk and de-fang," place them in the shot, and then take them back out and set them free again. I'm sure that wasn't legal either but that's how they did it. Fangs grow back like sharks' teeth, and pretty quickly too. I saw a lot of snakes over the years, needless to say.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fire Island Tea Dance

Bruce Davison and Mark Lamos hamming it up in a scene filmed at The Botel, the original location of the infamous tea dances of the 1970s and 80s in the Fire Island Pines.

Working on Longtime Companion was a good experience overall. I don't think I ever had more people call me up and say, "hey I saw your name on that movie, well done..." than I did after this one.

The leadership of this project, however, left a lot to be desired. When you have producers who can't admit making a mistake and who needlessly and regularly put the crew in discomfort as well as danger...

There was a typhoon on Fire Island during filming, and one crew member literally had a "Vietnam flashback". The Botel was not actually ready for guests that season, which is why John Whyte gave it to us so cheap. Rain came through the roof and dripped onto my bed at night, so I had to keep moving the bed around the room to find a dry place to sleep. It was so cold I sent a PA to Sayville to rent sub-zero sleeping bags for everyone on the crew, and this was in April! The two brilliant producers slept instead at the main location house, which was once owned by Calvin Klein. Nobody was supposed to sleep at the location houses, but they of course did.

We had to import a deer for one scene, which is like bringing ice to Antarctica, but since we were told "all the deer had lyme" we had to bring one in. And in 1989, there were many visibly ill young men with KS in the Pines, being wheeled around in wheelchairs. But in 1989, if you were in the Pines, or in the East Village, you remember what that looked like.

We had a lot of day players on this film - people who were cast early on and then called to come in for just a day or two of work. Sadly, some of the day players cast were people with aids and by the time I called them for the shoot, they were no longer alive.

The film had a great writer, Craig Lucas, and great people in the cast: Dermot Mulroney, Campbell Scott, and the two above, among many others. Everyone had to put up with low-budget conditions, and yet none of them ever complained. After this, I got a job on The Young Riders TV series out west, and quite suddenly I was in a different world. Tons of money, big budget, and assholes like Stephen Baldwin who did nothing but complain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lovely day on a volcano

One Sunday on my day off, I took a boat captained by a crazy South African dude that went from St. Maarten to a tiny, green cone-shaped island sticking out of the sea. I pointed, "I want to go there."

The movie location in St. Maarten was for Once Around with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfus. Danny Aiello entertained us at the blackjack tables every night after dinner, with his Long Island Railroad shtick. I think he was once a conductor, and could do the "all aboard" and "next stop" announcements on demand, saying all the names of the stops on the Ronkonkoma line.

When I got to Saba, the very elegant little Dutch volcano island, there wasn't much to do but drink Heineken and hike around. I wound up near the top before it got foggy and I realized the snake potential. I came across the hut above. I called out. I had a cold drink.

My fiance was deep sea diving that day and I'm glad I didn't do that. I would have missed meeting the mayor of Saba, and seeing this hut, which had a piano in it, by the way.

Update: Found another picture taken on Saba that same day:

Friday, September 22, 2006

'La Bamba' Star Charged in Domestic Spat

I'm sorry to hear this. Out of all the Young Guns, Lou Diamond Phillips was definitely the nicest. Goes to show you just can't ever really know someone.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Turbo Interceptor

The Wraith was the second or third film job for me, working for John Kemeny (Quest for Fire) and Jeffrey Sudzin. At the end of this job, I put Charlie Sheen on a plane to the Philippines, where he went to shoot Platoon. The car was by far the best part of the movie. Sheen gets killed, and then comes back as a "wraith" in this car to avenge his death. The young Nick Cassavetes

and Sherilyn Fenn starred (obviously this isn't Sherilyn, I think it is Vickie Benson). Clint Howard helped me with my overheated mustang at a 7-11 once during filming, and Griffin O'Neal took care of my kitten Sedona. There was a fatal accident on this movie, during a car chase scene. Last words spoken to me by the cameraman who was killed, "here's my per diem. when my wife wakes up and comes down here, make sure she gets this. she wants to go shopping today." his entire weekly perdiem. there's nothing more to say. I later heard that his wife remarried a nice guy and that his little boy was fine.

The turbo car was an actual pace car, and these are the guys (the three on the left) who designed the wraith "suit". The guy on the right was a teamster, I forget his name.

Monday, September 11, 2006


In 1998 Miguel took me and my friend Kathleen (pictured above) to the observation deck of Number 2 World Trade Center. We went outside above the 110th floor. I couldn't imagine working this high up on a regular basis. We joked about how far a shit would have to travel once flushed from the high floors to get to the sewer. I still think about all the people who were there that day five years ago. I still think of the people who jumped, and the people who worked breakfast shift at Windows on the World. And the firefighters. And the ones who got out somehow. And the people (like my doorman) who volunteered days and nights to help out for months thereafter. I haven't really done jack shit.

Friday, September 08, 2006

does your nose itch?

because I think I might scratch it.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Lord of the Flies

Working on a movie in a hurricane has its advantages. Such as working only 11 out of the first 66 days scheduled. It was Hurricane Gilbert in Jamaica. Balthazar Getty (some kind of nephew to the oil fortune) was starring in this film about adolescent boys resorting to savagery.

photo above was the "Jack's camp" set, with dolly track set out into the ocean

"Fisherman's Cove Wet People"

Movie production crew wearing stylish trash bags and rain gear. You can't imagine how impressive a light bulb can be after two weeks of candles. The following year I worked on another movie with Balth.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Appian Way, Laurel Canyon

The most horrible place I ever lived

I had been living in a converted garage beach house in Venice, California and it was taking me almost an hour to drive to work every morning, up to birdland at the top of Doheny off Sunset. I thought my life would be better if I lived in Hollywood Hills and could get to work in five minutes. So I moved to this guest house (east end of house circled above) at 8946 Appian Way, which was once the home of Errol Flynn. Since I was the archeress, I thought it would be good to live where Robin fucking Hood once lived.

But I was wrong. The place had fleas.
The couple who owned the main house fought loudly every night.
My bike got rusty from disuse.
I grew to detest the city lights view, so bright it kept me awake at night.
I had only my bear for comfort.

I did get to work in five, however, coasting down Sunset Plaza in neutral in my white VW bug. The big gray house under construction below me was supposed to have been Robert Downey Jr.'s but I never once saw him down there.

It was a cool looking place overall, higher up than Mulholland drive even, but I just hated it. I prefer to be near water I guess.

As soon as that film job was over, I moved back to New York for awhile. What a relief.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Manhattan has just about everything.

Even a riding academy on west 89th street I noticed tonight on my way home.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

archeress's august baseball report

Lucky number seven "young pup" Reyes

i won four tickets to a Mets game. We went last night.

David Wright & Michael Piazza
(farm boy vs. ny paisan)

My first pro baseball game since the Dodgers in college.
Weather was great, company was as good as it gets,
hot dogs and beers were expensivo, and the scenery priceless.

Jose Reyes,base stealer extraordinaire
"no way old man piazza can throw my lightning fast ass out"

Mike Piazza, now a "Padre" on third

Carlos Beltran, the awesome gazelle

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


El Paso Hellhole

I first encountered the band WASP on the set of this "Blind In Texas" shoot. I am not in this video. ZZTop is also not in this video. I did get to hold a real armadillo, however, and yes, Blackie Lawless is wearing women's panty hose. I know because I had to go out and buy them. The band is holding the director, Rick Friedberg.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

"it will be just like pirates of the caribbean...

...without the sails"

party boat on the hudson this evening-
click photo for close-up

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

father daughter thing

I ran into Peter Fonda outside a rest stop bathroom at Picacho Peak. He was playing a cameo part in Bodies, Rest, and Motion (a biker, how original of us). I had spoken with him on the phone many times at his home in Bozeman before he came out on location with us, but this was the first time we had actually met. I asked Bridget if she minded my taking the picture. My rental car had a flat tire that day and after it was fixed I gave them both a ride back to Tucson. It was a cheerful trip.

Monday, July 17, 2006

7AM, Chinatown NYC, 2006

Saturday, July 15, 2006

7AM Malibu, 1989

mike kirton, chris atkins