Amoeblog


(In which Job becomes a star!)

Posted by Job O Brother, May 21, 2007 08:35am | Post a Comment
So, a couple days ago, I clocked in at work and noticed a flyer attached to the time-clock, informing my fellow Amoebites and I that, early Monday morning, there was going to be a film crew outside the store, shooting crowd scenes for the new film featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.


(Insert tire screeching sounds here… or, in Great Britain, tyre screeching sounds.)

Whereas I’m sure this notice was met with emotions ranging from ambivalence to eye-rolling annoyance by many, as you know from reading my previous blogs (which you have subsequently committed to memory in preparation for the quiz at the end of this term – you do realize it counts as a third of your grade, right?) I (insert the “f word” here, adding the suffix “ing” as a gerund) love the Chipmunks (insert exclamation point here, so as to emphasize the radness of it all)

I immediately e-mailed the lovely and efficient Kara, the puppet-master of such events and told her that I was the biggest Chipmunk fan and that I simply had to attend, even if it was only to hide in the corner and watch. She responded and said she’s ask the filmmakers if I could hang.

I waited with the patience of Job, which in my case always applies even if I’m not very patient at all. It’s one of the perks of having said name. Like people who’s names are, like, Yourhairlookgreatoday – they will always be told nice things about their coiffure, even if it looks bad. Or bald. Even if they have dead rats and popped eyeballs crusting in their curls and the mucus of twenty diseased boars dripping from beneath their berets, they still get told their hair looks great.

I suppose, if someone who had a name like Justkiddingyouaresouglyandewgrosstheresdeadrodentsandboogersatopthyscalp was actually embebbed in Yourhairlooksgreatoday’s bouffant, then the compliment could be discounted, but really, how realistic is it that someone’s going to cuddle in the cowlicks of animal-rennet rinsed roots?

Um.

Okay… I don’t know where that tangent came from, but I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen and move on. Hopefully you will, too.

Fast-forward to six o’clock Monday morning. I had been up the bulk of the night working on climate-change disaster-film concepts to pitch (just the kind of homework one incurs living in Hollywood), when my phone rings. It’s Kara. The film people finally responded about my request, and it was a “go”.

I had 20 minutes to go from grizzled and sleepy old man to fresh and capable young whip, and arrive at Amoeba Music Hollywood at 6.30 am. Which I did.

Kara was already on the scene, all smiles and caution as she watched teamsters turn the face of our beloved store into a façade for a huge and glamorous event that would never actually happen. “UPCOMING INSTORE: ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS” the marquee read, and colorful signs were framed by every portion of wall. Hired extras were assembling in place, made to look as though they had been camped out all night, waiting to be first inside to see the show.

It was surreal, to say the least. I ended up meeting one of the fellows in charge of the whole thing (I don’t know what his official title was, but people seemed to listen to him when he bossed them around) and he told Kara and I about some of the people who were going to be starring in the film. I never asked, nor got clearance to reveal who these actors were, (how was he to know he was in the presence of an Amoeblogger, the cutting-edge of news media) so I’m not certain if I’m even allowed to say what I learned. Instead, allow me to entertain you with random pictures of some people who I’M NOT SAYING ARE GOING TO BE INVOLVED IN THIS MOVIE.


Anyway, boss-man and I bonded over our mutual pasts in Holland (it all started with a shared awareness and love of koffie verkeerd). Before I knew it, I was cast as an “Amoeba employee” in charge of manning the doors of our store and making sure no one got in before it was time.

This became increasingly disorienting as opening time neared, and real customers and employees began arriving, mixing with paid actors pretending to be waiting to get it. Because I was stationed at the front door, I ended up doing what I had been instructed to pretend to be doing.

Our time-clock is always littered with announcements; everything from plaintive requests for sofas to crash on, advertisements for music shows and art openings, or calls for volunteers to help distribute homes to the foodless – things like that. You can’t expect an employee to soak in all that information, so it was no surprise that many of my as-yet-uncaffeinated co-workers greeted the spectacle with confusion, astonishment and yes, a little fear.

It really did look like we were about to host a packed, high-profile in-store featuring a band consisting of fictional, animated singers. In a world of rockers rendered cynical and unshockable after the suicide of Kurt Cobain and emergence of 90’s retro (huh?) it was a rare moment of genuine shock. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it became the most gratifying aspect of my morning – seeing their befuddled faces as they neared the building.

It was a few hours of rushed and energetic standing around and doing nothing; a description that reads like an oxymoron but absolutely applies in the world of the movie extra, a job I soon realized I could never commit myself to. I’m too anxious to stand around “acting” like I’m standing around. And my existentialist self got kind of grossed out by the irony of it all.

It came time for the store to open and Kara and Jim (one of the people who claim to be my “boss” at Amoeba, though I’ve never seen any papers to prove it) made certain that the film industry was vanished in time to be replaced by real people, really waiting to get into the real in-store.

I was asked to sign a waiver and informed that I would get paid for the work I did (Really? Paid to stand around and do nothing? So this is what it’s like to be a security guard!*) I stumbled home and crawled back in bed, glad to be a part of Chipmunk history and relieved that I had something new to blog about.


That's me in the Amoeba T-shirt. Eat your heart out, Monty Clift.

*I kid. Our security guards are the hardest working people I know, and I’m not just saying so because they could blend me up in a protein shake and drink me.

Relevant Tags

Alvin (1), Chipmunks (2), Ross Bagdasarian (2), England (20), Hollywood (79), Filmmaking (1), Tangents (1), Instore Concert (1), Ali G (3), David Cross (4), Jason Lee (1), Kurt Cobain (13), Holland (4), Extras (1)