Monday, March 29, 2004

SPRING BREAK ahead for blogging. I'll be back next Monday.

Just when I thought I'd heard every sort of sound coming from a cell phone instead of a ring, this morning on the train I heard the distinctive opening notes from "Play That Funky Music." The owner of the phone was a fellow who didn't look quite old enough to have been listening to the radio in 1976, but I guess that doesn't matter. These things sometimes echo down a generation or two. If it were important to me, and if it were even possible, I might well program the opening of "Crazy Words, Crazy Tune" or "Yes, We Have No Bananas" into my cell phone.

It's not that important to me. Still, I hope that one Rob Parissi, who wrote "Play That Funky Music," gets a penny or so every time that phone rings. If not, get ASCAP on the case. He had only one hit, and that was it. (I had to look Mr. Parissi up at the AMG All Music Guide website, lest anyone think I'm completely addled.)

When I got to my office building, I noticed that Wacker Drive, the street in front of the building, was blocked off to traffic for a block. Then I noticed the fog machine. That could mean only one thing: a movie was being filmed there.

Sure enough, the word on the street -- literally, since I asked someone standing around -- was that crew was out to shoot scenes from a movie called Weatherman. Never heard of it. Evidently the director wanted a cold, wet scene, some weather for the weatherman, since besides the fog machine, I saw patches of cotton at the curbs, doubling for snow, and a fellow out with a spray can, wetting the movie cars that were on the street. Word on the street also said that Nicholas Cage was around, but I didn't bother to verify this.

I've seen a couple of movies being made over the years near a couple of different buildings I've worked in, namely the Wrigley Building and 35 E. Wacker Dr. The most interesting thing I ever saw was a device that created shadows for the camera. It looked like a giant cherry-picker, except that instead of a basket, it had large, flat panel on its mechanical arm that could rotate any which way, to block the sun. Mostly, though, it looks like making a movie, for members of the crew anyway, means a lot of standing around waiting to be told to do something.


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