We're finally having a summer I have always hoped for, but never get. Yes, I've met Mr. Right. He's witty and rich, handsome and generous, charming and. . . I'm such a liar.
We're finally having the kind of summer WEATHER I have always hoped for.
Here it is, the start of August in Chicago, and we've only suffered a handful of ninety degree days. Even more remarkable, nothing in triple digits at all!! PLUS ta-da! much less humidity. How do I know? I have hardly used the air conditioning in my car. I can enjoy a cool breeze as I drive with the windows and sunroof open. It brings back memories of a red Le Sabre convertible I once knew. Sure a plastic bag or a book I was reading might be suddenly sucked through the roof, but that's a small price to pay for the sweet smell of summer blowing through my hair.
It's so nice to feel relativiely cool getting into the car, instead of toasting in oven quality air that bakes your lungs, while waiting waiting waiting for the AC to kick in. Eat your hearts out Phoenix and Dallas.
With such nice weather, I was glad to get invited to a backyard party over the weekend. My younger daughter has a friend named Anne who is hooked into Chicago's acting community. I got an invitation from her a couple of weeks ago to attend an all day party being thrown for people in film at a house on the lake. These days, I'm technically a person in audio and vidoetape, but who's complaining.
Admission was five bucks for all the brats, dogs, and burgers you cold eat. Females were also requested to bring a side dish. Males had to bring something liquid. Part of me thought that instruction might not be specific enough for some guys.
Feeling generous, I purchased some potato salad, cold slaw, and mixed fruit. In exchange, I ate two dogs and a burger. I would have preferred brats, but they lied about having brats. There was an overcooked pasta salad and some stale party mix besides my side dishes, so I was glad I brought as much as I did. I think everybody else brought cookies and cake.
Turns out, I didn't know anybody at the party. Nobody. Not a soul.
Imagine my surprise when I walked in. The "Anne" who invited me wasn't my daughter's friend Anne. This Anne -- there were two of them, in fact -- represented an Extras Agency -- the folks who populate the backgrounds of movies. Specifically, the films being shot in Chicago.
About six years ago I signed up with an agency to be an extra -- you never know when some casting director is desperate for a tall, older woman with an attitude and a SAG card. But when the feature film business dried up in Chicago that agency closed. Now thanks to better tax breaks, movies and tv shows are back in town. Apparently my name got forwarded/bought/sold to a different place.
Despite not knowing a single person, all the people at the party did have something in common -- we aspire to be the equivalent of human wallpaper. Since most folks can't make very big bucks working as a deocrative accessory in a movie, everyone had a real life job too. I met an earthquake specialist, a former zoologist who now collects and sells rare books, a lady lawyer, a real estate developer, and the sartorially resplendent owner of the party house. He spent most of his time driving up and down the highway looking for a side mirror that fell off his newly purchased antique Morgan roadster. With his bald pate and barbershop mustache, he looked like he was at an audition for the Great Gatsby.
His sister was one of the hostesses named "Anne."
Needless to say lots of conversation centered around movie life. I learned that Frank Stallone, Sylvester's brother, is an expert on boxing and seems to have a photographic memory for movie dialog. Clint Eastwood had a nickname for one of the hostesses that escapes me. Patrick Swayze is in town shooting a TV series for A&E. Even though he's fighting cancer of the pancreas, the guy is working 17 hour days. Still puffing on cigarettes, too. I asked, but no one had heard of Viggo Mortensen.
I spent most of the day and part of the evening hanging out. Had some food. Had some fun. Had to skip the American Legion baseball playoffs so I don't know who won. Drove home close to midnight with the roof and windows open. Penciled in the next "extras' party for December 20th. They say that soiree goes till dawn.
I better start napping now.