Monday, September 19, 2016

Jazzed

  Four in the afternoon. The van idled at Barham and Cahuenga. In a vehicle parallel to it, a young boy screamed something and quickly rolled up his window. The Van Man looked over, wondering if the child was shrieking at him. He had just finished up an audition in Hollywood and was over the traffic.
  The audition was simple enough. Four actors were brought into a room and asked to scream while saying a specific line of dialogue. The building's air conditioning was out which turned the room into a cell of hot, wet stink. Yet, that was something to put up with for a few hundred bucks. Each actor had a distinctly different wail and delivery. Van Man went second and proceeded with his agonizing best. 
"Verrry creepy", responded the sweaty casting director.
  Each interpretation was unique and enlightening. Van Man understood his craft even more than before entering the stench confinement. Acting was an art to be cherished between the performers. Jazz of the soul. Music of life experience improvised through sorrow and shame and hope and lust. Too bad LA was no place for friendly competition. The City of Angels was a place to destroy one's competition. Every actor was an opponent and the successful were the ones that beat all comers.
  Following the audition, with perspiration at his brow, the Casting Director offered a bit of information on the production. 
"There will be underlying christian themes. Is this okay with you gentlemen?"
The four actors nodded. Money is money, a paid gig is a paid gig and these gentlemen needed the scratch. 
  The traffic signal greened and the van inched forward. Van Man noticed bees swarming the intersection. Hundreds of them, buzzing around vehicles and angry as hell. Van Man rolled up the window and drove away. The shrieking boy was warning him of the bees.
  The van drove on down Barham and passed the old Oakwood Apartments. Change had finally come to the Oakwoods and morphed them into upscale lodgings for rich film students. The same place where Joe Spinell and a cracked-out Rick James had found cheap pads, once upon a time. Corey Haim died there. It was a place of pure Hollywood lore. No more. The van continued its progression and The Van Man thought about the swarming bees and LA actors. All pissed off and no solidarity to fix it.