Sunday, February 24, 2008

Roll Credits: My Week on Film

It's best, while waiting for working papers to come through, to keep busy. Toward that end, I have just completed one of the stranger weeks in my life.

It all began when Chryde of (newly redesigned) Blogothèque fame sent me an IM. "Hey Meg, do you want a good and funky job?"

And so began my week as the guide and driver to a Hollywood film crew.

For 12-14 hours every day, I recommended locations, plowed a nine-passenger van through Paris traffic, and negotiated release forms with unsuspecting bystanders.

I drove in circles around the Arc de Triomphe with a camera man Director of Photography hanging out of the open door. I relayed the precise timing of the Eiffel Tower twinklage and explained how to use the city's public toilets. I found restaurants that would let us eat at 7 (that's early), and learned (eventually) how to stay out of the shot.

I even had a few lines, hastily written and poorly delivered. And while I know that these scenes may be destined for the scissors, it was a total trip to watch myself when we were reviewing the footage. It looked, for lack of any better term, just like a movie.

I got lucky with a funny-as-hell crew of people who were good to be around. After keeping their pace for only a few days I'm amazed (after these softening years in France) that they manage to do this full-time and remain jovial. It must have something to do with the fact that they're almost all under 25.

I spent the small number of off-hours writing grant proposals and filling in as the waitress at Spring. Daniel Rose, chef/proprietor, spent most of that time looking at me like this...

... and saying things that can't be repeated on this blog.

And thanks to a pair of new webcams at the restaurant, that crack performance was also filmed.

I don't think you'll be seeing me on the small screen at Spring again, but you can look for me in the small print as "the driver" in an as yet unnamed feature film to be released next year by director Nicholas Jasenovec (Paperheart Productions) and starring Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad), and Jake Johnson.

Baby's First Meme (awww...)

Bookpacker tells me that it will be loads of fun if I open the nearest book, turn to page 123, skip to the fifth sentence, and copy the next three.

This is called a meme, and it's all the rage among real bloggers. Being only a part-time word spiller, I was previously unaware of the phenomenon, and find it not so different from the Christian prayer chain mail that's cohabitating my inbox.

If the bible were the first book to hand, that would kill two adulterous birds with one stone. Alas, the first tome within reach is decidely less saintly: it's Martha Stewart's Hors D'Oeuvres Handbook. And page 123 contains no text, only a tantalizing and glossy photo of beef bulgogi in lettuce leaves with soy-ginger dipping sauce.

That hardly seems to qualify, does it?

The next book in the pile is Petite Anglaise. I'm re-reading the newly released hardback after rushing through the manuscript last June.

This time around is a relaxing good ride, unaccompanied by the fear that my friend's book might suck terribly.

It doesn't.

Page 123, after skipping the first 5 sentences, reads:

Now was probably the time to come clean and face the music. If I kept all this to myself a moment longer I was afraid I would burst. 'It wasn't the nanny,' I confessed.
She then goes on to explain that she's had a hotel rendezvous with a man who she met from the comments section of her blog.

What a slag.

The book is on sale now in Paris, and there's a reading at WH Smith for those who want to meet the trollop in person. I pray (there! two birds.) that she sells a bundle, for this will surely come back to me in beer.

I will continue this memery by tagging P.A. herself, along with the boobalicious Little Red Boat...

...and the batshit crazy Gone Feral.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Postcards from Gluttontown

Greetings from the Windy City, aka the City of Sodden Socks.

Note: this post is about Chicago. Fair city readers who care only for Paris may prefer this new article about the Paris restaurant scene, or this one about February concerts.
I was mildly deported recently, sent back to retrieve a slip of paper, and am making the most of this exile by stuffing my gullet with fried Americana.

The Health Fest began on Saturday when I was greeted by my hosts Nikki and Garen with, among other delicacies, a batch of homemade samosas.

The next day brought a Scotch egg and fried zucchini at the Gage, followed by a bag of takeaway pupusas.

Day three was deep dish Chicago pizza and a trip to Kuma's Corner, a metal bar cum hamburger shack where every sandwich bears the name of a band. Pictured below, the Pantera.

Yesterday began with a pilgrimage to Hot Doug's, one of my top five eateries in the world. My admiration for this man and his sausage is such that I made an offering of illegal foie gras at his alter counter.

In return, I feasted on the traditional Chicago dog, a Polish with peppers and carmelized onions, and an apple & cherry pork sausage with chutney and cranberry Wensleydale cheese. With a mountain of cheese fries, of course. Dinner chez Ed & Kathy offered no caloric respite: fried chicken, fried okra, and slaw.

At this point in the trip, I fear my digestive track may be shutting down. And I haven't even made it to Pilsen yet!

More to come from Chicago, site of my own personal war on moderation...