Tuesday morning meant another few hours on the picket lines at Disney. Gina went with me, and we met JD and a few of the writers I've gotten to know there. Since it was Mardi Gras, one of the writers, Michael Tabb brought a HUGE bag of beads/hats/crowns other New Orleans themed things, which actually made it quite fun. The overall mood is still one of cautious optimism, though with so many rumors of an impending deal, that is swinging more and more towards full-on optimism. There is talk that the picketing may end by next week and that a final deal will be in place by the end of the month. In fact, Thursday all the writers in town are expected to picket at Disney/ABC (where I have walking the line) which should be really cool -- and it might be the last day for picketing anywhere. A resolution soon would mean that production on all TV shows and movies would likely be back in full swing by early March which would be a tremendous boost to the lagging city economy.
After picketing, Gina, JD and I joined a few of the writers at Bob's Big Boy, an authentic 50's diner which has the same logo and mascot as the Mark's Big Boy restaurants that were pervasive in SE Wisconsin a decade or two ago. Apparently, the Burbank eatery is comedian/host Drew Carey's favorite restaurant and he agreed to pay for all WGA members picketing anywhere to eat lunch there any day of the strike. So, these guys, along with many others, have been going for a free lunch pretty much everyday for the last 3 months, and the rumored tab for Mr. Carey is right around $80,000 so far.
Not being members of the writer's guild, of course we were expected to pay for our own meals. But, something interesting, and inspiring, happened yesterday. While we waited for a table, several in our group struck up a conversation with some older ladies who were also waiting. They just said how much they supported the writers, and told them to hang in there. Very nice, but not unusual, as many people come by all the time to say "we support you!" However, after we ate, we asked the waitress for the check (the writers have to put their WGA ID numbers on the check to get it paid for), she said that a lady had paid for the entire table. After some bewildered looks and discussion, we realized it was one of the ladies from the waiting area. This was especially good news for me, as it meant I got a lunch for just a couple dollar tip! But, the best part about the situation, ok the two best parts about it, 1) the lady did not know the writers already had their meals covered, so she was willing to foot the entire bill ($80 or so) for some guys she had just met - and only spoke to for two minutes! and 2) she didn't stop by to tell us about what she was doing, she didn't need to be praised for her gesture, she knew we would appreciate it, and it just shows how much she truly believed in what the writers are doing.
Tuesday afternoon brought another audition. This one was for a non-union (and low-paying) but potentially fun gig working on a local sports station's (Fox Sports West, I think) production of Amazing Sports Stories. The part I auditioned for was Joe Engel, a journeyman pitcher in the early part of the century who went on to greater acclaim as a manager and leader of a minor-league baseball team that challenged the conventions of the sport and the experience of going to a baseball game. The particular story they are doing involves Engel putting a girl on his team for an exhibition and she proceeded to strike out Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth. As the story goes, then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis saw this as a disgrace and forbade any women from participating at any level of the sport. So, it would be a fun project, even if the role was small, and surely I would get to wear a period baseball uniform which would be pretty cool.
Oh, and though it may not feel like it in the snow-shrouded Midwest, today's beautiful, sunny 70 degree L.A. weather sure feels like baseball season is right around the corner. Play Ball!