01 May 2006

Sunburned In Bushwick: The Video

Actually, I was under the impression that I was going to East Williamsburg, and wasn't told until I was back in the vicinity of Bedford Avenue that I had spent much of the day in the somewhat less salubrious (or so I am told) confines of Bushwick.

Perhaps I should have inferred from the rolls of razor wire topping the eight-foot-high fence surrounding the compound apartment building where Crystal and Co. were filming a three-minute rock video for Binghamton, NY band Nancy that we weren't in the best of neighborhoods, but really, it didn't seem bad at all, and when I was leaving, I noticed that razor wire notwithstanding, someone had left the gate wide open much of the afternoon without our having been stormed by the Visigoths.

Filming took place on the rooftop, enabling us to have a semi-spectacular (i.e., obscured by numerous high-rise housing projects) view of the Manhattan skyline and to acquire prodigious sunburns (I thought I had acquired immunity to the puny Northern sun during my summer in Australia, but apparently not).

Despite my many years in the music business, this was only, I think, the third time I'd been present for the filming of a video. The last time was probably at least ten years ago, and I'd forgotten how tedious it can be. Not, I'm sure, for the band members or the film crew, for whom the excitement of making and being a part of art must be absolutely fascinating, even intoxicating (the quart of Jack Daniels consumed by the band members in the course of the first half hour or so may have had something to do with that as well), but for audience and/or extras, it's not exactly like the three minutes of pure adrenaline and scantily clad women you see on MTV (though Phrank Martian, apparently co-leader of the Nancy enterprise, did repeately offer/threaten to strip down and add a bit of nudity to the proceedings).

Instead, it's repeated takes, often without rhyme or reason to the non-professionals among us, often of the same line or two of the song, frequently interrupted for minutes or hours by scripting discussions or band members gone missing in the bathroom. Those of us who were extras had plenty of time to get in character for our parts, which, perhaps fortuitously, required us to act bored, disinterested, jaded and oblivious. Since most of us are members of the Pop Punk Message Board, very little acting was required.

I had to leave about half an hour before filming was completed, but fortunately my absence was more than compensated for by the appearance on the scene of three chain-smoking Hasidic Jews in full regalia, who didn't take much persuading to jump into the action themselves, although I don't think they ended up playing instruments, which would have been a nice touch. I spent the rest of the evening helping someone move from Williamsburg to Greenpoint and sitting about philosophizing and pontificating, which seems to come naturally in those environs, not that I ever needed any geographical encouragement.

Another development of the day: it seems an opportunity has come up to move to New York this summer. Actually, even sooner; just about a month from now. It's only temporary, at least for now, but since I've been hankering to do just that for, oh, several years now, it's a very tempting offer. It's just that I wasn't ready for it to happen quite that soon. Isn't that always the way, though? A choice of too soon or never. Well, I have to decide within the next two and a half days, and I am leaning strongly in favour favor (if I'm going to move to New York, I have to start talking American again!) Stay tuned. If, of course, you're at all interested.


Chris A. said...

Do it, Larry!

G2 said...

OK, how can I put this in words. Let's see, I have come to love the music u have done, and the writing as well. I try to buy when i'm in the states the Punk planet issue that's on the streets only so that I can read your column. Your Lookout! fanzine (the editions that can be purchased via Little Type) is great as well.

I just wanted to say thanks for all your work. I've had countless hours of entertainment thanks to u. Keep up the good work Larry.

Hoping to read and hear more of your music soon,
Gabriel (From Costa Rica)

Crumbly said...

What about the foot (toe?) ??!!

Larry Livermore said...

Both my foot and toe will most likely come with me wherever I go.