Gothem has always had a little trouble with reality. We all do. Those of us who live in and around Gothem, and to a certain extent those who don’t but live in farther regions of this Great Nation but in communion with Gothem or another center suffer from an Unreal that does not allow us to see the world as it exists, that is obeying certain principles of science. We live in a bubble of unrealistic expectations and an unreality that has invented itself as a tight cocoon, a world where dreams are invented right in front of our very eyes and we still believe them.
This bubble is more than that of the alleged Beltway of DC and the plastic partisan politics breeding within, different than the supposed vapid starfuckerdom of LA where image is both a product and a currency bought with likes and reTweets, but a bubble of the Neo Real of immediate service, unlimited garlic bread, and birthday parties with open top shelf bars because if I am going to come out to your goddamn party, you better feed me.
Running an errand brought me to SOHO and the Little Italy area. If you have never been to this part of Gothem please consult your TeeVee Guide since every few hours, whether you know it or not, you have been here. Law & Order. NYPD Blues. Shield. That other one with the cops in the city. Special Victims Unit (never look in bushes in Central or Prospect or Morningside Parks). Ugly Betty (not sure that’s a thing but the No Parking signs said that was the production). Some creepy puppet thing had children and their stage moms wandering about the streets in mid-day. I can always smell a film production from the craft table and by table location and fare – inside, under a small tent or by the presence of lox – I know the production value and quality of colour correction without even seeing the rushes. Then there is the bozo film students and their pathetic little cameras…. You can see the assignment in just a simple powerwalk about the area – I think I counted seven different students photographing some object in front of an advertisement of some kind… I liked the girl doing the flower in the bottle. I could almost smell the blue ink marking “great job Sara” on her contact sheet.
Fashion models are always tripping over one another for some last remaining square foot of “gritty” because they turned the area from Prince to Broome Street into a shopping mall on par with the Mall of America and the Edmonton Mall if not just a little more fake since those malls were built to be fake, which makes them in a way more real… right?
“I have gotten used to the occasional cherry picker in my window in the morning” an older woman exclaimed as I was on line at a certain store – the store was having their windows painted over and posters affixed for some production that will be on HBO, according to the stockboy… or stocker… or Junior Inventory Control Associate… Associater… “I know the director is Scorsese but I am not sure what the film is about other than it takes place in the 1970s.” Which is funny since in the actual 1970s I am not convinced that this location would have had so many posters for bands and the like… considering it was a war zone and I am not sure there was the pedestrian traffic there is today – at least not more than the junkies which are still there today but are but a smaller percentage of the street traffic which is increasingly Beautiful People. Back then it really needed the sign, “No Pissing or Shitting! People Live Here.” Today there are now fake posters from the 1970s and pretend trash on the sidewalk, guarded by very real police.
The piss and shit is fake. The cameras and police state, real.
It seems that every other day this street, really no more than an alley of two blocks, is clogged with various productions from the current really high budget one that has transformed the entire street into one huge Hannah Höch collage. The alley is filled with vintage cars. Last time it was blocked off to make it look like that alley all criminals run into before they get to that dead end.. the cop grabs their leg, there is a short fight, and then it’s over and the day is won and he would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids. Most days the alley has every model measuring out every bad fashion for some perverted old man photographer and dumb pie-eyed kid holding one of those round reflector thingies to make sure there is just the right amount of diffuse light. And to many of us, these spinning of dreams is such a regular thing that it’s part of our lives. We step over bums and electrical cords connecting generators to huge night-into-day Klieg lights without even thinking how unreal this is… or the potential psychic and emotional side effects. Of stepping over the film productions I mean… Not the bum…. We long ago gave up our charity for the poor…
Whether or not you believe in the feedback loop or not there must be some mental impact of being part of this constant dreamscape. We live with the very real process of dream creation and we also are the consumers being bombarded by the very people we step around. The model showing her little ass on Jersey Street is several weeks and one Photoshop session later three stories tall and marketing Gap or American Apparel or Unico or OMG or FLCL or whatever. The films made we just may watch, if only to tell our friends we saw it being produced. And then there is the issue of our believing this is normal. That’s where the bubble starts forming. The bubble of unreal we take wherever we so and that bends our expectations as to what the world should be and our position in that scheme.
I will be glad to now in just days spend time outside of any film location.
I will admit, I took out the camera and shot a few Selfies at today’s film shoot… but, who wouldn’t?