On Sunday I had the pleasure of attending the open casting call for the upcoming Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker movie, ” Did you hear about the morgans?”. It’s supposedly about an urban couple who has to be put in the witness protection program and end up in a rural small town. I think its supposed to take place in Wyoming but is being shot here. The fun part was that the ad had called for folks to come in Western wear. People take that seriously out here, they wear it day to day, bolos and such. In LA, this might have manifested itself all Coyote Ugly – hot chicks in cowboy hats and daisy dukes. Here is authenticity: cowboys in chaps with fringe, mustached men in duster coats, girls in wranglers sporting jackets with rodeo patches on the back. On my way up to the location of the affair, I passed a cowboy grazing his horse on a patch of grass stuck on an island in the middle of the street. People brought their own horses for goodness sake! These were not wannabe starlets like myself. The parking lots was all trucks, an f-250 sidled up to a suburban with a patient grandma waiting in the passenger seat. Inside, waiting in line is a kid on crutches who looked like he might lack access to modern health care. These people are what Hollywood hires make- up and wardrobe to create… but this was the real thing. These are folks for whom the movies cast a spell of fantasy and escape and who thought it’d be fun to see behind the curtain. I guess in this we are not dissimilar. A three year old buckaroo is holding the paper that has his number on it, under his chin, his tiny spurs clicking together on the back of his cowboy boots, while his grandpa stands awkwardly next to him, as a casting assistant takes their picture. This is the whole point of their having waited in line for the last hour, this portrait. The one that may lead to a phone call that brings them into the sphere of the stars. The scene makes me understand the appeal of shooting here as opposed to in the simulcrum of La-La Land. Here you get real cowboys and ranch hands at 8.50 an hour.
Doing some Pre-Passover cleaning in the house I just moved into, turns out even if dirt is old, it comes off if you scrub at it enough. It’s a satisfying way to feel invested in my new space and Jewish at the same time. As to the title, above, I had the priviledge, recently, of attending an event I believe was called “Bollywood Club Invasion” at one of the local fancy hotels. My prescence was owed to the friends crashing on my floor at my, soon to be vacated, old apartment. They knew the DJ, Miss Ginger. I was happy to go, as i’m a big Bhangra fan ; gotta love the booty shaking music. Anyhow, the stand out feature of this festivity and inspiration for my headline was the enthusiastic dancing of the turbaned contingent dominating the dance floor. Upon approaching the entrance to the dance space, I realized this was not not just a benefit to feed the hungry as one of my dumster diving visitors had said. This was an event for Amma to feed the hungry. Hence the many non-indians in indian garb, some of whom looked dressed for a costume party, others of whom looked like they wore this every day. In a circles, carved out of the dancing masses, those who appeared the most accustomed to the dress code were enacting a performance worthy of the most devoted dervishes. I saw the dance I most associate with “Fiddler on the Roof” , with people squatting and jumping back and forth to the knees. Lots of big movement !!! What, in experimental theater school, when we were learning to dance like the fluids of the body, was described as being the way you dance Fascia- the lining around the cells. Big bold movements. It was the sort of situation where I couldn’t believe people were entering the middle of the circle of their own accord, but lo, they were, and leaving it with ecstatic smiles caressing their faces. Me, I stuck to liquor as usual. Santa Fe is full of American Sikhs, with whom i’ve been fascinated since moving here. I follow them a few steps at the farmer’s market before catching myself and going back to my routine. Maybe it’s because they are as fringe as I am and I am interested consequently in their experience. Voyeuristic but in a sympathetic sense? I like seeing the blond children in turbans having breakfast across from me at Chocolate Maven. I imagine the sensation they must create when they visit India, how they must stand out in Punjab. Here, in the ballroom full of white people wrapped in colorful saris and shalwars, they do not stand out at all. A black man in a turban and striped poloshirt is dancing in the middle of the circle, whirling around, limbs racing . Around him, his smiling community and me watching from the edge, thinking this is some strange amalgam. A little seventies TV, a little something verydifferent.