Early in 2008, I went to a cattle-call audition for extras for a movie being made about Harvey Milk. I got no further contact from that cattle-call. But a citywide call went out to help recreate the massive candlelight march for the ending of the film. I still had some 1970s clothes in the closet from ten years ago when I auditioned for the original "Tales Of the City" series, so I dressed Chip and myself up to take part in the candlelight march. That filming was very interesting.For one thing, it kind of turned into "old home" night -- I kept running into people I knew. We wound up marching with a trumpet player and a clarinet player from the SF Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band.
The first time they filmed, everything was quiet and solemn and reverent. The second time they filmed, as we walked up Market toward Van Ness, someone inside one of the buildings started talking very loudly. It sounded like they were on the phone describing the candlelight march to them (even though this was after midnight, and possibly after one a.m.). I don't think they knew just how clearly their voice carried down the street. Then someone else turned on their motorcycle and started revving the engine. Apparently, though, these things did not interfere with the filming.
Then, a couple of months later, the band was asked to portray themselves (essentially). They were filming the 1978 Gay Pride parade, and they knew that the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Marching Band and Twirling Corps had made its debut that year in the parade behind Harvey Milk's car. So they asked the band to come be in the parade behind Harvey's car. Almost all the footage they shot of the band wound up on the cutting room floor. But when the Blu-ray disc becomes available, you can bet that I'll be looking at my TV screen with a magnifying glass trying to identify faces.
Then, a couple of weeks after that, they asked the band to come back again. They also knew that the band had spontaneously marched into the "No on 6" victory party, so they asked the band to re-create that as well. So we stood around in an elementary school for six hours, then another hour or so filming inside what used to be the Rawhide.
Out of these three shoots, I got a total of about three seconds of screen time, in about three-quarters profile from behind. Apparently, I have a very recognizable head, though, because people keep asking if that was me (or telling me that they saw me -- apparently, my nephew nearly went berserk in a theater in Charleston when he recognized me in the film). I also got a movie prop -- a T-shirt bearing the band's original 1978 logo, which never really appears in the film at all.
Then, in the end of October, I had the great good fortune to be able to attend the world premiere of "Milk" at the Castro Theater. One of the partners in my firm was invited, and, since he would be out of town, he asked me to represent the firm at the event. I was way up in the balcony, but, dammit, at least I was there.
It was in Lynne Soffer's Dialects class that I met a woman who asked me if I would be interested in participating in a public event she was planning. Though I never heard her say it explicitly, I guess that she was inspired by Improv Everywhere's "Food Court Musical." She wanted as many people as possible to break into song and dance in Union Square. She got the necessary permits and permissions, and the event was officially part of the public entertainment in the square that day, scheduled to take place at 3:45 on June 7, 2008 (3:45 6/7/8).
I told her that a world where I don't dance is a better place for everyone concerned, but I would be happy to videotape the performance. We put Chip up on top of Macy's with one camera, and another guy who showed up with "What can I do to help" got another camera thrust into his hands. I posted the video at that time, but here it is again:
It's Oh So Quiet: Current.com
To be continued.