September 28th, 2006

Don't Hassle the Hoff

Is That Something You Might Be Interested In?

I'm gonna have you walking around outside of the Museum of Modern Art, then some dude with a foreign accent will come up to you and ask you to answer a random question in front of a television camera; is that something you might be interested in?

I signed a release. They might as well dub a voice and have me talking about sodomizing Klingons or something. God, I hope it never airs anywhere near the U.S.

I was sitting around last night at two in the morning and it hit me: I hadn't left the main two rooms of my apartment all fucking day! This actually struck me as I was writing an e-mail, which led to my brilliant idea of going out this afternoon and hanging around in Central Park. So, I took the L Train into Manhattan - all the way to the end of the line - then got on the Express A Train. The expresses are usually pretty cool, because they bypass a bunch of the irrelevant stops along the way. However, the expresses I've taken usually end somewhere in Uptown Manhattan, and I had my eye on either the 72nd street stop or one of the 80s, to just dump me right in the middle of Central Park. Then I noticed it: all the white people got off on the 59th Street stop, leaving me and a bunch of colored folk. All The Way To 125th Street - Harlem. I just kept flashing on the prison scene in American History X, where Worm is walking around in slow motion with the swastica tattoo on prominent display and all the black people are looking at him - scowling, actually - and thinking about which limb they'd prefer to break off first to beat him into submission.

I didn't even leave the fucking station; I walked across the way and took the very next train that got me back to a safer area of Manhattan. I ended up getting off at 103rd and walking through the Northern part of the Park. I can see why they say you don't want to be there at night: there are SHITLOADS of places for thugs to hide. And, they've got those arcing bridges where - when you walk under one - you'd expect to see one of those "Beat It" gangs from the Michael Jackson video forming a wall at one end, only to turn around and see the thugs from "A Clockwork Orange" with their facemaskies and canes ready for kicking and whipping. But, Lord Beat All, I actually found FOLIAGE! Fucking foilage man, I was stoked. There's a huge water reservoir that people jog around; there are multiple baseball fields; tennis courts, Big Toys, an ice-skating rink from October to May; and an entire Police Precinct. If I didn't have this class to go to, I'd blow the fucking day and go running over there tomorrow. Sign me up for Friday afternoon, though.

So, I walked down and around, then got out of there around 82nd street (remember, my main train stop is down on 14th, so that's a hefty walk) and discovered I was INSANELY thirsty. Besides that, I still hadn't done what I'd intended to do in the park (read from one of the plays I checked out). It was at this time that I saw I was near the MoMA. Apparently, it's a $20 charge, but I think the sign said "suggested." Since they close at 5:15pm on weekdays, I figure I'll test their patience with my $1.00 donation some other day. But, outside of the museum is where I met these foreign filmmaker guys. I couldn't quite understand what he was saying, but apparently they're doing some weird documentary and I was to answer the question, "What do you think will be an invention of the future?" or something of that variety. I was already flustered because he made me take my ear-buds out and turn off my iPod; then I'm listening to him and he's using REALLY broken English, but I kind of get what he was driving at; but I had ABSOLUTELY no answer on hand for this random question. Thankfully, he had a stock list of answers on hand - written in a foreign language - and one of them was something to the effect of A Time Travel Machine.

I submitted to his coaching, but then I realized there was MOVEMENT involved! Apparently, he wanted me to stand about twenty feet away from the camera and - while it was rolling - I was to walk straight up to the camera until I'm about a foot away, and THEN say my line. OK, first I have to say stuff, then I have to remember what to say, and NOW I've gotta walk too??? This is a little too much for me (escaped convicts, fugitive sex . . . I've got a cockfight to win). Anyway, I walk without tripping - my stare aimed directly into the camera's lense - and I stop on my mark - which was taped to the cement below - and I completely babble something like, "I imagine there being a time travel machine in the future," and then I stand there, and I continue standing there, and I'm still there. Then I say, "Is that it?" assuming I'm supposed to wait until the dude says, "Cut." But, he says, "Go on," motioning for me to walk OUT of the shot. I'm pretty sure he's got this whole idea of having numerous people doing these Walk-Ups followed by stating their answers and then leaving promptly - and now he's got me, looking like an ass. I signed his fucking waiver (again, in a foreign language) and now I'm expecting my performance on BBC America's next installment of "Stupid Americans On Tape."

After that debacle, I went to this coffee shop and ordered two iced teas, then sat back in the park and finished the first Act of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible." When I finished with that, the sun was starting to go down, so I walked along 5th Avenue until I got to the train stop on 59th. Took that down to 14th, which is where I remembered the OTHER reason I meant to go to Manhattan today. I needed to print out copies of my resume. Found a copy shop, got ten copies, then noticed there was a movie theater nearby. At 7:45, they were showing "Little Miss Sunshine." I hung out around Tower Records on Broadway for a while, then bought my $11 movie ticket.

It was a pretty good movie. Had Steve Carrell as a gay scholar who tries to kill himself, fails, then is forced to live with his sister for a while. Greg Kinnear is the sister's husband who's a low-scale motivational speaker - he's an obnoxious jackass for most of the movie. Alan Arkin is HILARIOUS as the grandfather who's a heroin addict. This sister is actually the mom from The Sixth Sense - she's really good. Her son is this 15 year old who's taken a vow of silence and her daughter is this little 5 year old who came in second place in a beauty contest - until it's discovered the first place winner was disqualified for taking diet pills.

Most of it was outright hilarious (though, I found I was the only one laughing a lot of the time), but I like what it says about these little-girl beauty pageants. Like: Why can't they just BE little girls? Why do they have to be miniature versions of Miss America hopefuls? With makeup and toned bodies and hardcore borderline-inappropriate dance routines? The ending is pretty damn excellent, with the daughter just going out there and having a good time - horrifying to those running the Little Miss Sunshine contest. Oh, and it's got Chloe from "24" in like two small scenes - but she's still as bossy and awkward as ever!
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