Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Betty, that is. She, along with La Lohan. The two of them conspired against me this evening, believe it or not. And not just against me either - against dozens and possibly scores of other New Yorkers engaging in that diurnal event we like to call "commuting".

See, Ugly Betty is filmed at Silvercup Studios. Silvercup is a block from my studio. Well apparently they're filming episodes of that unfortunate teenager's story presently, and also apparently Ms. Lohan is to make an appearance in at least one of them. Now, this may be a common occurrence - hell, she could be in every episode. I wouldn't know, since I've never seen the show and only have the most fleeting notion of who the hell Linzy Lohan is. (I suspect she's one of those blonde things that started out on the Mickey Mouse Club. I remember when those kids were allowed to be brunette, or, god forbid, Italian even.) Anyway, for some reason these two decided that 5pm on a Tuesday would be the absolute perfect time to shoot a scene.

Fine, sure, no problem. Except that the scene apparently involved the entrance to 23 Ely, an extremely busy subway station - E, V, and connection via overly circuitous pathways complete with ugly art beneath that enormous glass monolith, the Citibank building, to Court Square and the G. Now, a normal human would say, hey, at 5pm on a Tuesday, people might be using the subway. But let's face it, we're not dealing with humans or anything like them. We're dealing with teen (?) film stars and their TV execs; apparently to this type of "person" rescheduling to, say, 3pm on Sunday just doesn't cut it.

So there I am, innocently walking from my samosa-and-diet-coke lunch/dinner at the Indian Diner around the corner from my studio after several hours of painting, with the intention of hopping on the V to go to SVA to engage in several more hours of painting. And what should appear before my bewildered eyes, there on 21st street in usually sleepy Long Island City? A dozen trailers, not so uncommon. But also: Throngs of people, many of them with fancy, expensive and professional looking cameras.

What who where? I mean, I'm not completely dense; I know that Silvercup pulls in some bigwigs now and then. But it seemed such an unlikely time, and it was getting thicker as I walked toward the E/V (and thus away from the famed studios). They were full on blocking the sidewalk, too, with those little folding white tent thingys. Crossing the corner of 43rd Ave, something about me (The paint covered jeans? Or the 18" x 18" painting in my hands?) caught the eye of one of the Fancycamera Men, and he stopped me to see what was on my canvass. I took my opportunity - what, pray tell, are the hell you people trying to snap? And then it was revealed to me: the presence of La Lohan, heavily guarded in her own trailer of course.

Another look at my surroundings, which were becoming more chaotic by the foot, revealed directors' chairs - with the 'Ugly Betty' logo splattered all over them. Suddenly, all became clear. When I reached the corner at which I intended to descend into the subway, it was as I had feared starting with the first inkling of famous-people involvement: in essence, no dice. Big lights everywhere, and those crazy white screens to reflect the big lights... and the entrance to the subway, completely blocked.

Fortunately for all involved, they hadn't managed to prevent access entirely - the station could still be gotten at from the other side of the Avenue. From what I could glean, though, that wouldn't have been so if I'd been there a half hour later. And so, by sheer chance, my commute to school was saved - no thanks to the supertwins. Somebody should probably clue those girls in to the intricacies of the NYC subway system; for instance the meaning of "express train" and "rush hour" and why the two of these things put together always equal "enormous numbers of people in various states of disgruntledness". Who knows, maybe they could use the knowledge as background for a character sometime.

That's my story for today. In case you're wondering, yes, I'm still sad. But who really has the energy to be that sad all the time? Not me, certainly.

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