Monday, December 31, 2007

happy new year

penthouse bed

So many options for NYE in downtown Los Angeles, but Jim and I decided to stay in tonight and celebrate the New Year at home on our patio with a romantic dinner and some bubbly.

I hope all my blog readers have a safe and fun New Year's Eve. Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2008!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"kill the pigs and drink their blood"

I know, my dog blogs more than I have been lately, I suck. But the days really have been full. Some of you have noticed my Twitter badge there on my sidebar - I usually update that every morning when I show up for the 6am shift of the WGA picket line at Universal Studios. I do realize, however, that my blog readers don't want my twitters, they want stories.

On my first day of walking the 6am shift of the picket line at Universal Studios, this old guy in a black Mercedes approaches our intersection, honking his horn. It had been a little quiet, being 6am and all, so we start waving and cheering. The car gets closer and as he drives past us, he flips us off. Nice. Welcome to the WGA Strike.

I like that our gate doesn't chant. Once, someone tried to chant, "Two four six eight, our chants don't have to rhyme." It didn't take.

Gate 3 was dangerous at times. There were at least three different incidents where I thought I was going to get hit by an angry motorist. Getting flipped off by an old guy on the first day was nothing. One truck full of angry young men drove by and one of them leaned out the window yelling, "Get back to work you losers!" They could've easily thrown something at us.

One morning I watched as one writer stumbled his way to the picket line. It was 6am, I figured he was still half-asleep. He walks to the sign-in sheet, then asks me a question. I couldn't understand him at first, but I was eventually able to understand him.

He slurred, "So, do we have a runner that we can send out for more booze?"

I laughed, "More booze?"

He shrugged, not wanting to appear demanding, "Or weed."

I shook my head and continued walking. He fell in line behind me and immediately started hitting on this cute girl walking behind me. Although I was afraid we'd have to call the paramedics if he fell over and passed out, he made it through the entire shift and came back for many more. That's dedication. That's a fucking writer. Walk that drunk off, baby!

Did I mention how much looser my jeans are after all that walking? Someone brought a pedometer shortly after our shift changed from four hours to three hours of walking - we walked close to nine miles every morning. No wonder I have to eat at least two donuts per shift.

I used to think I was funny. Then I started walking with the writers on the 6am shift Universal Studios, Gate 3. Now, I don't think I'm so funny. The guys I walked with, they're funny. My strike captain? Nonstop funny. Did I mention that he calls me the token Asian on the line? (I'm not. How's that for funny?) At the end of each shift, he makes a few announcements, gives a little pep talk, and then ends with a rousing, "See you all back here tomorrow at 6am, and don't forget - kill the pigs and drink their blood."

Sadly, I won't be picketing at that location in the New Year. On our last day of picketing in 2007, my strike captain thanked everyone at Gate 3 for coming every morning at 6am and making such a strong showing. He mentioned that other strike captains ask him why we get such a strong showing at this gate. Before he could continue, someone shouted out, "We don't chant." We laughed, then of course, began to chant, "We don't chant! We don't chant!" After the laughter and chanting died down, he told us that the organizing committee wanted the picketers at Gate 3 to stay together, but to picket at another studio, "They'd like for us to stay together, so the majority of us will be picketing at NBC." Someone asked, "Just some of us?" He answered, "There are some people we don't want there, you know who you are." Okay, maybe you really had to be there for this to be funny, but remember, we were just coming off the 6am shift.

I attended a training session for those who want to picket location shoots, but I haven't been to one yet. Someone at Gate 3 predicted that I would become this militant location picketer in 2008, but I don't think that will come to pass. I'm not sure if I'll be joining the rest of the group at NBC or Warner Bros. I might decide to picket at Fox. But although the official picketing doesn't start up again until January 7th, I might join the Tonight Show picket line at NBC starting on January 2nd. Anybody want to join me in picketing Jay Leno?

wga strike goes to city hall

On December 18, 2007, I attended the City Council's Affordable Housing and Economic Development Committee's Hearing on the impact the WGA Strike has had on the local economy. I took a few pictures and some video.

room fills up
Seven-thirty AM and the room fills up with striking writers.

Kurt Voelker and other writers
Sitting in the Council Chambers, Kurt Voelker suddenly realizes I'm taking a picture. That's Joan Ling in the background, getting ready to testify.

Jack Keyser, from the Los Angeles Economic Development Office, speaks on the impact of the WGA Strike on the local economy (in three parts):

Then, after Jack Keyser finishes up, an economist from UCLA/Andersen Forecast spoke:

Then Steve MacDonald from FilmLA spoke:

John Bowman gave great testimony at the hearing about the WGA Strike:

As did Betsy Thomas:

Other writers (and below-the-liners) also testified, speaking eloquently about the effect of the WGA Strike on the local economy:

After the Committee Hearing, the writers who filled the Council Chambers gathered outside in front of City Hall to hear Eric Garcetti speak (and for a photo opp). After that short break, it was back inside for the City Council Meeting.

writers at City Hall front steps
writers gather in front of City Hall
writers gather at City Hall
writers listen to speakers at City Hall