Saturday, December 15, 2007

Going to work

, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Only gig of the season • Ho Ho Ho

Last week, I got a call from Vaclav asking me if I was available to do a strolling gig with him. The client, Latham & Watkins, is one of the largest law firms in the world. I jumped at the chance to book a real gig . . . and what a gig it was. Anytime you have to switch elevators at the 54th floor to go to the 72 floor you know both the gig and the view are going to be interesting.

In a nutshell the party was a blast. Lots of food, booze and happy people. Both Vaclav and I proceeded to amaze, amuse and mystify as many people as we could. The view was spectacular. We arrived at 4 and worked till 7PM enjoying an amazing LA sunset atop the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

After working the streets solid for the last year, I had forgot how good it feels to do a gig where people are excited to see you work. The audience reactions were a welcome counterpoint to my usual grind. My chops were on fire as I strolled the party entertaining small groups of people left and right. A jazz band played nice music as top shelf liquor flowed freely. Shrimp, the size of small rats piled beneath a large ice sculpture, and exotic hors dourves, served all evening.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Gig Last Night

Did a gig last night for Latham & Watkins LLP (A high power law firm) at the top of the U.S. Bank Tower (Library Tower, First Interstate World Center) at 633 West Fifth Street in downtown Los Angeles, California, United States is the eighth tallest building in the US, the tallest North American skyscraper west of Chicago, the tallest building in California, and the tallest building with a helipad on the roof (required by the city building code). Standing 1,018 feet (310 m) high, it is also one of the tallest in the world (28th as of 2008). Until the construction of Taipei 101, it was also the tallest structure in a major active seismic region; its structure was designed to resist an earthquake of 8.3 on the Richter Scale. It consists of 73 stories above ground and two parking levels below ground. Construction was started in 1987 and was completed in 1989. The building was designed by Henry N. Cobb of the architectural firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and cost $350 million to build. It is one of the most recognizable buildings[citation needed] in Los Angeles, often used in establishing shots for the city in films and television programs.

The building is also known as the Library Tower due to its location across the street from the Los Angeles Central Library; it was built as part of the $1 billion redevelopment of the Library following two disastrous fires in 1986. The City of Los Angeles sold air rights to the developers of the tower to help pay for the reconstruction of the library. The building was also known for a time as First Interstate World Center after being bought by First Interstate Bank. After First Interstate merged with Wells Fargo Bank the name Library Tower was restored. In March 2003 the property was leased by U.S. Bancorp and the building was renamed U.S. Bank Tower. Residents, however, generally continue to refer to it as the Library Tower.

The tower has a large glass "crown" at its top that is illuminated at night. The crown is lighted with red, white, and blue on 4 July and red and green during the Christmas holiday season. It is also lit with purple and gold when the Los Angeles Lakers are playing in the NBA Playoffs and blue and white on Opening Day for the Los Angeles Dodgers. On February 28, 2004, two U.S. Bank logo signs, each standing 75 feet (23 m) high, were installed on the crown, amid controversy for their effect on the aesthetic appearance of the building (as was the case previously when First Interstate Bank's logos were placed on the crown between 1990 and 1997).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Birdie McClaine • Juggler • Archive Video • Click Here

Autumn Shades 24 x 19, originally uploaded by Charles Blackburn.

Daddy's Tune

A dirty wind blows through the sky
And the Autumn leaves cut loose and fly
Leave me watching
And wishing I could follow
Though among the regrets that I can't get by
There are just one or two
Unkind things I said to you
Daddy what was I supposed to do?
I don't know why it was so hard to talk to you
I guess my anger pulled me through

No sooner had I hit the streets
When I met the fools that a young fool meets
All in search of truth and bound for glory
And listening to our own heart beats
We stood around the drum
Though it's fainter now
The older I become
Living your life day after day
Soon all your plans and changes
Either fail or fade away
Leaving so much still left to say

But Daddy I want to let you know somehow
The things you said are so much clearer now
And I would turn the pages back
But time will not allow
The way these days just rip along
Too fast to last, too vast, too strong

Somewhere something went wrong
Or maybe we forgot the song
Make room for my forty-fives
Along beside your seventy-eights
Nothing survives
But the way we live our lives

- Jackson Browne

Divorce & Christmas

Christmas 2002 was the last Christmas that I spent with my kids as a family. How would I know that less than six months later, I would be out on my ear with a restraining order preventing me from seeing my kids

Whatever. . bla bla, bla. Fast forward five years. I enter a toy store in Santa Monica, to look for Christmas gifts for my kids. My heart sinks. Confronting the holidays without my children is still something that cripples my soul. Looking for gifts for children I don’t know. We’ve grown apart.

I’d hop on a plane today if she would let me see them, or buy them all tickets to visit me during their break. But that’s not the way it works in my world. Lets just say it’s hardest during birthdays and holidays. They don’t want to talk to me on the phone or communicate by mail much. I’ve asked to be able to e-mail with them, IM or Video Chat, but once again, that would make my life too easy.

But I refuse to go to “That” place. I wish my pregnant ex-wife and my kids all the happiness I wasn’t able to give them. The irony is, now that I have all the time in the world to devote to my kids, I’m not allowed to even see them.

Well life is funny that way. I’ll put in a call to see what they would all like for Christmas, and be lucky to get a call back.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cups and Balls Magician

Cups and Balls Magician, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Tom Frank • Magician, originally uploaded by Dai Vernon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tim Eric • Escape Artist • Click Here

Dirty Sexy Money Lunchtime

Forever winging it. Trying to figure it out as I go. Life plods on and moves forward, like a line of preschoolers, all out and about, with one hand on a tow line with evenly spaced knots to hold.

Little chilly today, unless your in the sun. . . which I am. Enjoying a nice smoke in the back yard before, I go to work in a couple of hours. Met Polly at Paramount to go to lunch.

Shared a golf cart with Donald Sutherland on our way back to the trailer. He was standing up in the back holding on to the roof of the cart, looking like a parade marshall with that white head of hair of his and sporting a tuxedo. Polly was driving and thinking that if he fell, her career was over.

It’s fun visiting Polly at work. I’m getting friendly with some of the cast and crew and while doing a little impromptu performance in the hair and make-up trailer, got to entertain Blaire Underwood with a quick card trick between scenes.

Another early day for the Dirty Sexy Money gang. Polly had a 4:42AM call time this morning. I was getting ready for bed when she was waking up. So we got to spend some wee hour cuddling in bed before she had to get up and go.

Attic Jams Archive Video • Click Here

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Trouble in Tinsel Town

Tom Short, president of IATSE, issued this statement, blasting the collapse of the talks:

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 7 – In the wake of the collapse this afternoon of talks between striking Writers Guild of America and the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers, IATSE President Thomas C. Short has issued a scathing denunciation of the WGA’s lack of good faith bargaining.

Short, who has been critical of the lack of experience and competence of WGA leadership since late last year, predicted the breakdown of talks, and has repeatedly accused the WGA’s Patric Verrone and David Young of irresponsibility in their pursuit of a new contract with the producers.

Beginning with the cancellation of their own scheduled early negotiations that were to have taken place in January, the WGA has intended, according to Short, that the strike take place and disrupt not only the film and television industries in Los Angeles, but ancillary businesses as well. The halt in production caused by the strike has now spread nationwide and will soon reach beyond the US as several high profile feature films have been cancelled or put on hold until the strike is resolved.

Likening the WGA leadership to “a huge clown car that’s only missing the hats and horns,” Short has been infuriated that among the WGA contract points has been the illegal and unethical poaching of IA members in reality television now covered by IATSE Editors Local 700, and animation writers, members of Local 839, who have been covered by the IA for over 50 years. Said Short, “Even if the AMPTP wanted to give the WGA jurisdiction of animation writers they couldn’t. It’s not theirs to give. Those are IATSE members who have been part of our International for over half a century.”

With over 100 television shows shuttered and numerous features off the schedule, the resulting devastation to members of the IA is growing daily. “I don’t believe the WGA ever intended to bargain in good faith,” said Short. “And they are destroying a lot of lives in the process. As a result of their irresponsible and irrational behavior, the number of IA members who have lost work is fast approaching 40,000 people representing members all over the US and Canada. Unless and until the WGA leadership starts behaving responsibly, which is unlikely, not only wages, health insurance coverage and pension benefits will be lost. Homes and businesses will be lost, too.”

The IATSE is an International Union that represents members employed in the stagecraft, motion picture and television production, and trade shows industries throughout the United States, its Territories, and Canada.

Big tits not enough for entertainment starved audience

Last night brought an end to the exclusive Las Vegas engagement of Hans Klok’s “The Beauty of Magic” - meaning it was curtain call time for magician’s assistant Pamela Anderson.

After spending Friday night cozying up with Criss Angel at LAX nightclub, the Baywatch babe went back to work one last time - doing her best to give paying guests their money’s worth.

The final performance brought an end to a six-month run that opened up to positive reviews back on June 2nd.

From here, it shouldn’t be all that tough to find herself more work. Just last week, she was voted TV’s Sexiest Woman Ever in a well-recognized online poll.

According to press reports, “The 40-year-old pin-up topped the list on AOL, with the website’s editors giving her the top honor for taking ‘bodacious to a new level’.”