Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'll sit this one out...

Halloween is a big deal down here. Everything is as long as they can dress up and drink heavily to it. Look how fun New Orleans can make a funeral.  The city is recent years with the help of Blaine Kern's float den has been promoting NOLA for the pagan ritual. The infrastructure is here, the coolest cemeteries, the most haunted houses, vampires, voodoo rituals and bars.

I always dug Halloween driving cab.  It broke up the monotony, naughty little girls in Catholic school girl uniforms flashing you at 2 am because they need a cab. Tonight I was invited to hang with Waffle. Remember Waffle? He's the one who talked me into moving to New Orleans. I'm feeling under the weather lately. As much as I would love to enjoy the city wide freak out between Halloween and the Steelers being in town, I am not up for it.

I'm old, I need to pace myself in this town, or I won't make it to see my first Mardi Gras.

art, coffee, dogs

Well, here it is. The first piece of art that I've done in over five years. I knew New Orleans would inspire me. Creativity drives NOLA the way greed drives New Jersey. I fit in better down here.

In the lower right hand corner is my studio assistant "Buddy Boo-Boo." He's a gravity defying Min Pin who was rescued by my landlords. The artwork was literally  discovered items that had gathered behind the garage. Same thing for the paint, exterior latex with some enamels. I designed the rail so one could display Mardi Gras beads off of the artwork. This town loves it's beads. 

Still There
 4'X4' discovered material

As you can see, it's a real New Orleans inspired piece. The shutters are actual shutter slats that were salvaged for paint stirrers, I turned them back into shutters. I've commented on how the blue tarp should be Louisiana's State flag. There is a ton more stuff behind the garage for art. A lot of it is storm items.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Work is a necessary evil to be avoided

The Mississippi River will always have its own way;
no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise...

Mark Twain 

Today I did my first real piece of art since '05. Using discovered items from the back yard, with my favorite Min Pin "Buddy Boo-Boo" keeping me company in near perfect weather.  Given a challenge to complete a finished piece of wall art in seven hours I found myself wearing layers of paint and feeling that creative high again. Bouncing around the yard like an errant roman candle, Buddy Boo Boo almost became my Blue dog.

Boo Boo and I rummaged through the yard looking for treasures, a distant sound of a calliope from the river boat. Just being a stone's throw from the Mississippi River where the river boats moor for the tourists, the distinct steam whistle sounds like it's only one block over.  Every time I hear it, it reminds me that I need to read more Mark Twain now that I'm down here.

I'll be posting a photo of my newest piece in the next day or so.

A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.
 Mark Twain

The first ever WALKY AWARD goes to....

A film set is a remarkably boring place. Hours upon hours of waiting for something. A wait for the cameraman to set up, a wait for the lighting director, a wait for the sound man, a wait for the weather, a wait for the lead starlet to wake up at 5:00 am after an all night bender at the club. She must have a cold, she's horse and is sniffling a lot.

With so much time to kill, a disgruntled background extra (Russell) pointed out that everybody involved with production gets mentioned, except the background extras. Never. The caterer gets listed, every sort of assistant and intern get listed into the credits, even the producer's hooker is worked into the credits somehow. Never background actors.

So I decided to come up with some sort of award for background extras. Check out old films and isolate excellent performances in background acting.  Where to start? Well, my friend Jeffery in NJ posted this one on his Facebook. I thought it would be a great first winner of a "WALKY AWARD"

Performer: Unknown

The YOUTUBE set up video is boring, see, he's a film maker. "This short film is about a piece of footage I (George Clarke) found behind the scenes in Charlie Chaplins film 'The Circus'. Attending the premiere at Manns Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA "

If any of you have suggestions for a WALKY award, send me a link to the video!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Don't you want to be in that number.....

A little background work is starting to come in. The film industry slows down every year from August to about late October. Hurricane season. No producer wants to get half way through filming a project and then have to evacuate. His set might be gone when he returns. Tonight I did a "REVEL" down at the Roosevelt Hotel.

A convention was being held and to make it in true New Orleans style, a brass jazz band marches into the room and a parade starts. The band played loud and sharp as we reveled in behind them in our costumes. We met the guests at the end of cocktail hour and paraded them through the grand lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel to dinner.

Great fun for everyone. Colorful costumes flinging beads at drunk optometrists. We paraded the party downstairs and thru a magnificent grand lobby and back upstairs to the dinning room. In the lobby were two of my friends wearing big heads. Sweating their asses off to pose for hundreds of cell phone pictures.

Yep, it's considered a job down here. It was the first Revel for my friend Bobby from Philadelphia. He did great, he has a Mummer background.

 I just can't get "When the Saints go marching in" out of my head now.

Street performing ain't easy....

I keep saying that I am going to get back over to the Quarter on a regular basis to juggle. Hats off to those guys, it takes balls to do this everyday for a living. A lot of the musicians hawk DVDs for $10 and play clubs at night. Get hassled by asshole drunken tourists. Just like driving a cab at night on the Jersey Shore.

Only one time did I ever have a problem with another performer. A balloon bender claimed I was on HIS corner. I replied "AND?...) Even I'm not afraid of a guy with a balloon poodle on his head.

For the record I AM NOT A MIME, I am a juggler.

Monday, October 25, 2010


My goal is once I get settled with steady income and a few bucks ahead, is to move to the French Quarter.  There is something supernatural about it. I'm not one given into new agey paranormal feelings.  This town has such a rich history of both positive and negative energy that almost trips you on the sidewalk. Royal Street is fantastic, art galleries and street performers populate the street with the ghosts of pirates.

Recently a few residents have squawked about the street musicians who make their living from performing on Royal. It's like the people who move next to the airport and try to get the airplanes to "come in from the other direction."  I can think of worst sounds to wake up with a hangover to.  Erika Lewis is one of my favorites to catch singing on the corner.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

to my nj friends

Let me clarify that these following rocket barrages of anger are directed at the State Government of New Jersey. I'm sorry if my friends in NJ feel like collateral damage in my offensive against their capital. As soon as the State of NJ surrenders under my terms and conditions, I will cease the onslaught of Jersey bashing humor. There are a lot of good people in NJ, but they never get to be seen on TV.

My friends in New Jersey, I feel for you. Every hour of your life wasted at a toll plaza, I've been there.

(Judging by the look of Christy, I don't think you need to worry about this one.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Take a walk, we'll tax your feet

Craigslist Responce

I posted my blog ATTENTION TRENTON on Craigslist Central NJ "Rants & Raves" to see what kind of a response it would get.

It is not a personal savings account that you can tap into when you hit hard times. It is not YOUR money. It is basically a tax....Get used to it. I pay THOUSANDS of dollars in taxes to everyone and I dont get anything back. You paid for years into a system that will give you NOTHING back in return. Thats why we all hate democrats. 

First off: With the tax came a promise that it would be used on Unemployment benefits, NOT building roads and bridges that are over priced because of kick backs. Just like the Feds did with social security tax. Taking it under the premise that it would be there when we need it. Now we hear "Opps, we spent it." 

Second: GET USE TO IT? This reply must've been written by a State Government employee. Perhaps you could replace the state motto on your license plate from "The Garden State" to "GET USED TO IT." He evidently is just a hack bitch who willingly gives it up in taxes, then expects nothing promised in return.

Third: Let's blame the Dems?  Are you so naive to trust either party any more? It's good cop / bad cop and we fall for it every election. Our choice is what we deem the lesser of two evils.

This was my favorite response on Craiglist Rant and Rave:

Your taxes implied you would receive services if needed????
- Dont you think your tax dollars go to ANYTHING whereby you benefit? That is a shame your state taxes done benefit you in any way shape or form. I guess you run to put out fires that could burn down your community, heaven forbid. I guess you run out there and direct traffic when the traffic lights go out. I guess you drive up and down shoveling all the roads so you can make it to work. I guess you empty your own garbage at the dump yourself....Negro, for real. 

No, those things were supposed to be paid for by the other taxes, property tax, income tax, sales tax and dog licenses. Every time they introduce a new tax it was to address a particular deficit, or to fund new programs. Do we ever see the direct result from that tax? No, it goes into a spitoon of spending. I did not want my social security money funding the cold war either.  (he called me a negro)

I ain't no Mark Levine, but I wanted to get that off of my chest.

The other La

There are more major film productions this year in Louisiana than anywhere else in the country. Why? This state offers excellent tax refunds to film investors.  A THIRTY PERCENT tax incentive is given to those who film in Louisiana. The next Batman film will be shot here next summer. To put it in perspective, if the budget is $200 million, the state will give $60 million in tax credit back. Imagine, a state offering tax breaks to encourage business. Would New Jersey do that?
No, a $200 million dollar film anywhere else would cost $250 million in NJ. Between political kick backs, mob shake downs and the unions with their hands out, no producer in the country would want to go there.  Three union electricians to plug in one extension cord, Teamsters sitting around doing nothing but laughing at how much they get paid to do nothing. Louisiana is a right to work state, a few unions get involved but not to the point of choking to death the employer.

So with the rest of the country floundering in economic chaos, LA has a steady industry keeping us employed. Oh I forgot,  you are all so proud of "Jersey Shore" Wait, aren't they filming that someplace else this season?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Attention: Trenton, NJ

In the HBO series Treme, John Goodman's character does a Youtube rant directed at the Federal Government. He explodes in rage at his city being let down and hung out to dry by the very system that was supposed to be there in a time of need.  His exasperation was expressed with what has become a catch phrase down here in New Orleans.

In this blog, I have written how I was denied Unemployment Insurance from the state of New Jersey after paying into it for over 25 years. The reason given for denying me unemployment was because I voluntarily left my employment at the cab company and moved to Louisiana. The economy in NJ was so bad and the cost of living so expensive due to inherent corruption that I could not survive on the couple hundred dollars a week that I was earning.

The way I see it, I loaned you the money to hold onto it until such time that I may need it, if ever.  After  faithfully giving you my money for over two and a half decades to do with want you wanted, you renege. You refuse to return in monthly payments what I have only paid in. You refused to take that money and give it to my daughter to cover my child support payments. Where are all of those dollars that I gave you? They paid for a swimming pool in the back yard of some Guido's mansion.

For years I had said the only ones in New Jersey who can make it are politicians, union officials and mobsters, New Jersey's Holy Trinity.  Supposedly, the new Governor Chris Christy is making some changes in Trenton. We'll see. Ever see what happens when you try to take a food dish from a corrupt dog when it's eating? Watch your back in NJ.

Well New Jersey, you got busted. I hope the film "The Saprano State" leads to investigations and long prison terms for all of the corrupt, graft taking and lazy bureaucratic sloths that have been stealing from the hard working New Jersians. All of us who have been paying into the system of nepotism and kick backs want to see heads roll. Don't get so riled up over your well earned reputation. You deserve it. NJ is not the garden state, it's the den of thieves state. I got out of that neighborhood because I was tired of making pay offs to criminals through a high cost of living.

To the lazy, triple-chinned, pencil pushing redundant bureaucratic bastard who probably never had a real job in his life, but made the desician not to give me my unemployment insurance, FUCK YOU YOU FUCKIN FUCK! May you be unemployed and be out of work next, lose your over priced McMansion on the out skirts of Trenton.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie Trailer

Local girl

Coming from New Jersey I realize that my home state has a certain arrogance about natives who make it good. I've made the observation that the rest of the country isn't nearly as impressed by Bruce Springsteen as a Jerseyite is. Nj can boast of a few important names.  Bruce Willis, Danny DeVito, Susan Sarandon, Frank Sinatra,  Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Kirsten Dunst, Bruce Springsteen, James Gandolfini, Ed Harris, Queen Latifah, Abbot and Costello, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, John Travolta,  Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Ricci, Brooke Shields and Tom Cruise, (ok, no one in Jersey ever boasts about Tom Cruise.) 

Down here in Louisiana the locals are proud of the great contributions to the music industry that their state has made over the centuries.  Anytime my friend Russell mentions a favorite actor I'll point out "Yo, he's from Jersey, Exit 117."  He will be quick to point out Britney Spears. Ok, I'll give you that one.  

Ms Spears hails from the small town of  Kentwood Louisiana.  Sure she's had her highs and lows. (Lows resulting from highs.) I never really listened to her music, not my kind of tunes. I think now that I'm a Louisianian I should take more of an interest in her career. 

Does anybody know if her mom is single? Once I get my teeth fixed I might start dating again. Yo, you guys back in Jersey, check out my step daughter....

Double Take

A friend shot me an e-mail from a casting company looking for a double for an actor. A double is someone of same height, build and appearance of the principal actor. Setting up a camera shot can take a long time to get lighting and blocking right. A stand in takes the place of a principal during the set up so the actor can remain in his or her comfortable dressing room until the director is ready to shoot.

When I worked Memphis beat, both stand in actors looked or were shaped nothing like the principals they were filling in for. The stand in for Jason lee is about 5 inches shorter and 40 pounds heavier than Jason, and with less hair than my ass. He must be some one's brother in law.  The e mail that I was sent had a photo of the actor Miguel Ferrer. Photo double needed, 6'1" medium build. I saw the e mail and thought "Yea, so? Why did you send it to me?"

A couple hours later my friend asked if they called me yet? "Who? About what?" Oh that. If you think so. I sent a photo in and with in 10 minutes received a call back. They asked for a most recent photo to forward to the director. I didn't get the photo double work but did get a call back for background work. Just as well. Even though stand in work is a step up from background with a little better pay and better food, I was happy with just background.

I ran into a number of background extras that I knew, all said it's been really slow for the past couple of months.  I ended up coming in late because of being contacted last minute. That was fine, I spoke with a buddy there who said they had sat in holding for the past 3 hours and hadn't been to the set. About 3 or 4 backgrounds came up to me and commented that I was a good stand in for Miguel. "But I didn't get the part." "Really? Ya kiddin? You kinda look like him"  Yea, well it's a cold heartless business.

We sat from 9pm until about 2:30 am until we were brought out to the casino. This scene was being shot at Harrah's. The second second assistant director (very sweet young lady) sat me and a couple of other backgrounds at a roulette wheel. The real casino dealer gave us each about $100 in practice chips and we started to play. He was cool and explained the game to us since none of us had ever played roulette. About 20 minutes passed as I waited to hear "BACKGROUND ACTION."

To my surprise the 2nd 2nd A.D. yelled "It's a wrap, thank you everybody." They had shot 3 takes with the actors and a steady cam and we never even knew they were filming. All of us were paid $100 cash and sent home. I had taken the ferry over to Harrah's and it wasn't running again until 6:00 am back to the West Bank where I live. What can I do in New Orleans at 3:00 in the morning with a $100 in my pocket? Ok, one beer.

I am proud of myself. On the walk down Canal Street I had three prostitutes asked if I was looking for fun. "No thanks honey" and I kept walking. I see this as a sign of personal growth. One beer later I looked at my watch and it was only 3:30 am.  I had trouble finishing my beer and just wanted to be home. I splurged on a $20 cab ride just to go to bed. 

Oh yea, the film is called THE COURIER

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Moon Ring

Keep an eye open for this one.

My friend Russell worked on this film doing visual special effect. The difference between visual special effects and special effect is visual effects are added in post production. Anything that is later done on computer or with the film. I sat behind him for a few hours while he worked on this. It is amazing how much effect is now being added with post production computer work. The one explosion I was an extra next to involved only compressed air and cork debris. The fireball was added later.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Jersey Bashing

How to Drive in Jersey

  • The morning rush hour is from 5 AM to NOON. The evening rush hour is from NOON to 7 PM. Friday's rush hour starts on Thursday morning.
  • The minimum acceptable speed on the turnpike is 85 mph. On the parkway it's 105 or 110. Anything less is considered 'Sissy.' (Just ask the Governor of NJ)
  • Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second; However, in Monmouth county, SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.
  • If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended, cussed out, and possibly shot.
  • Never honk at anyone. EVER! Seriously. It's another offense that can get you shot.
  • Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey. Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the middle of the night to make the next day's driving a bit more exciting.
  • Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, cats, barrels, cones, celebs, rubber-neckers, shredded tires, cell-phoners, deer and other road kill, and the Homeless feeding on any of these items.
  • MapQuest does NOT work here -- none of the roads are where they say they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike EZ Pass lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.
  • If someone actually has their Turn Signal ON, wave them to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been 'accidentally activated.'
  • If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55 - 65mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be 'flipped off' accordingly. If you return the flip, you'll be shot.
  • Do not try to estimate travel time -- just leave Monday afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday appointments, and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.


Queen of New Orleans

For this blog I am constantly looking for connections between New Jersey and New Orleans. This is the best I could find today. It's got strippers, so that works.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Orleans Commission Of Tourism Presents....

manic self-publicist

Here is my ad for the Quarter Rat Publication, to be hitting hotel lobbies, strip clubs, massage parlors and beer soaked bars across the French Quarter this month. Check out their web site with back issues. Very funny stuff. It's a publication directed toward the locals. Lot's of humor from those in the service industry. Almost a venue for everyone to share the aggravation of living and working in a tourist hot spot.


I share the feelings. I drove taxi for five years at night on the Jersey Shore. Yea, like the TV show. When drunken assholes who pay your bills it's like being stuck in an abusive relationship. I am convinced that most serial killers at one time worked in the service industry. Bartenders, servers, cab drivers and hookers, we all know what it's like.

Zaphod Beeblebrox, adventurer, ex-hippy, good timer, manic self-publicist, terribly bad at personal relationships, often thought to be completely out to lunch.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Meet an artist

A few months ago I hung out in the French Quarter on warm evening nursing a beer and checking out some art. Two types of art down here, stuff for the tourists and really good art. Most of the galleries on Royal Street were closed by the time that I got over there. I prefer to just look in the windows anyway. Ironically the only time I'm ever comfortable in an art gallery is if it's my work on the wall. Other than that I don't belong in one.

One gallery's art stopped me dead in my tracks. The interior looked more like an English pub than an art gallery. Moody lights highlighted some inspiring artwork. Great cityscapes with taxis and buses. Beautiful scantily clad female figures done with taste and grace. Really cool work. I stood in front of the gallery somewhat melancholy as my buzz was fading. About four doors down, a scruffy street performer strummed on an equally weathered guitar. He picked away at "Margaretaville" as I took my last looks before I cruised on back home.

Out of all of the artist's work I saw that night, this was the only work I googled upon returning home. Turned out that he was a fellow New Jersian.  Peter O'Niell.

Visit him on FaceBook: Peter O'Niell

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Cutting Room Floor....

The work as a background actor has been a little slow lately. 
Today I worked a gig as a male model. 
(When you finish laughing continue to the next paragraph.)

Today I was a model through a friend from the set of Green Lantern who works as a hair stylist in the film industry. Kent needed male models for a hair and makeup advance training program class. I replied "I ain't no male model, but I need a haircut."  When I left New Jersey seven months ago I needed one. I liked Pat's Barber shop in Belmar NJ. Great haircuts but long lines. I hate waiting. Bruno on the other hand, never any lines. With good reason. I would usually end up getting a quick Bruno and then fixing it with a lot of gel.

So I thought about getting a Bruno before I left for New Orleans, but money was tight. Besides, I'm Big Easy bound, we don't need no stinkin hair cuts.  After finding a niche for myself in background acting as the "Burned out old hippie dude" the long hair was working. This offer was way too good to pass up.

I love this city. I ride into town unable to afford a haircut, six months later I'm getting it cut for free by one of the top hair stylists in the film industry. The stylist who demonstrated his technique on me was a very cool teacher. I didn't understand what he was teaching, but his teaching ability was fun to listen to. He was the type to say "This is a mistake I made years ago, here's how to fix it, and to avoid it." He spoke of working with directors to get an idea of what they want exactly. He mention short cuts for when you have a couple hundred extras on the set needing to all look like they're in the 1930's.      

My head brought up the question "What about the hair growing from the ears, is that hair or make up department's responsibility?" Ear hair, when you get old it stops growing where you want it to, and grows where you don't want it to. Kent's response: Sure! Ear hair is makeup dept. Unless they are nice, then hair dept would handle it. It ain't easy this modeling stuff. 

Night of the Zombie Tourists

Here is an illustration I finished for the Quarter Rat Publication.

Monday, October 4, 2010


My friend Russell has been telling me about a Jim Carey film the he worked as a background actor on. Russell played a prison inmate in "I love you Phillip Morris" During the shoot, someone lent my friend the novel that the film was based on. Funny true story, great cast and writing.

It probably will never be released in the United States due to the openly gay theme.  You would think that by now that attitudes would be a little more relaxed after Brokeback Mountain. Evidently even humorous homosexuality poses a threat to the fabric of America. When it comes to controlling the economy and national defense I lean to the right. However, I don't endorse conservatives controlling social morays and censorship of media.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Fine, Don't Answer Me

Nice comic book style artwork. A great song with simple animation.