This was probably the best cupcake I ever ate.
It was my lunch break from set, but I’d come to set prepared from a therapy session, one where I’d helpfully been informed that because I was nicely getting over my anger/anxiety from being witness to a fatal incident, this meant I was ready to get back to my usual state of depression about my post-collegiate career (or lack thereof).
“Where you should be” is how my therapist described it.
So given my particular psycho-emotional location, I had decided that I couldn’t go on to a film shoot without at least some good food in my belly, so when the Assistant Director gave me a “negative” in my when’s-lunch text-message, I picked something up for myself along the way.
That something was a Baoguette (picture not included), a mini-twist on a Bahn Mi, that in this case was 5 dollars for a mess of daikon, carrot, cucumber, Sriracha sauce and dark-meat chicken on, what else, a “baoguette”. The sandwich was yummy, a little hot for me (even though I ordered mild) and I admired most that it was handed to me, plasticless, in a blunt paper sack and that despite it’s various vegetables and sauces, it somehow managed not to drip or spill before hitting my mouth.
Bahn Mis are usually a yummy situation in New York, for digestion and otherwise, managing well in an economy where five dollars of non-McDonald’s goodness comes much appreciated, especially when it fills you up as well and as flavorfully as a Bahn Mi. And while the one from Baougette was neither as authentic as “the real thing” down on Mott St nor as cheap/character-driven as the Simpsons-watching sammy down at Nicky’s on Ave A, Baoguette is most notable for its location: it’s square on St. Mark’s Place between 2nd and 3rd, right in the terrible-touristy over-priced heart of the East Village. As such, it provides a viable (if slightly more expensive) alternative to the double-whammy sucktacular combo of Two Bros Dollar-a-Slice Pizza and San Loco down the block.
Anyway, it turned out to be a good idea, given what I was in for back on set.
The reason I guess, or one of them, that my therapist deemed me “better” was that I had for the past five days been working from set-to-set in the very same capacities I had worked on in Georgia: as a Script Supervisor and a Digital Intermediate Technician (D.I.T.). In truth, it was less about getting into the swing of things than out of sheer boredom; I had no plans for my life, so when someone offered me anything, I jumped.
The first weekend was the D.I.T. work, sitting at my computer internet-less, transferring footage from a digital camera on to several drives, while listening in the background to either Real Time with Bill Maher, anime, or if I got really desperate, what was actually going on on set. What was going on on set were various strangers coming up to be interviewed on how movies changed their lives, doing amateur imitations or talking about what they aspired to. The strangest ones I caught were a Mormon aspiring-actor singing “Circle of Life” from The Lion King, sound effects and all, and a Beijing social-climber talking about her wish to emulate Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.
But while that was strange, it was mostly sitting with my back turned to the action, waiting for lunch, a coffee break or to sneak downstairs for internet or to make fun of the attendants at the sound-stage.
“Manager, I’d like to make a complaint. The attendant has inconsistent facial hair.” I would tell my friend Jesse Fisher between takes.
“Dually noted.” His manager, an easy-going fellow named Jermaine would reply, in between sneaking peeks at a DVD playing on a computer.
The shoot went by quickly, nonetheless, despite boredom and asides and I found myself out for drinks with the people on the shoot and one of my teachers talking about life after college, in-college and etc. Going out for drinks with teachers was never a phenomenon for me, even in college, but I was surprised at how ordinary it finally was.
My friend Andy’s shoot, on the other hand, was anything but a snooze—an action-packed adventure full of down-pours, thunder-storms, sexy women and transsexual Spanish-language pornography.
I was a script supervisor; a decidedly more hands-on job (at least more hands on than sitting at my computer with my back turned) and it involved me getting to see most of the craziness on set.
I admit I was a little worried going back on to a student film shoot after Georgia,–the possible unleashing of something repressed was not lost on me.
“Andy.” I told the director. “If I need to leave, I will.” I told him.
But where I had previously had to figure with Cranes and lights the size of luxurious doghouses, I found myself shooting below fourteenth street with a battery-powered light known as a “sun gun” and a Mag-Lite duct-taped to a Red One camera. It was refreshing, actually which was a happy surprise from Andy, who I previously had exhorted on this blog for being generally a refreshing person in the world of Tisch-Film.
The days flew by on set, with mostly hand-held shots, with the longest day clocking in at 6 hours and actors, young and in good humor. The script was a “loose” adaptation of the Odyssey entitled “That Night”, wherein Todd, an office-worker dealing with extra stress-and-mess at a job he needs is accidentally roofied and must make his way home through downtown Manhattan amidst its indigenous characters and travails.
The day I remembered most involved an impromptu transvestite, whom Todd has mistaken for his girlfriend, when he awakens in “her” bed, only to find tranny-porn playing on the TV and his “girlfriend” standing up to pee.
The actor, a character who I’ll call “Randy” to protect his identity, turned out to be a half-Italian, half-Vietnamese Econ major (not “Latina” as described in the script) who far from being either a “tranny” or a “queen” was actually about to start an ambiguous job in finance at one of the “bailout banks”.
“You know that means we’ll be paying 36% of your paycheck.” The ever-political Dan Pleck, the mixer on this shoot, pointed out.
“I know! And thank you!” Randy said dapperly.
Randy seemed mostly in good spirits and was fairly professional, considering the transsexual pornography, his wig and the casual use of the word “tranny” on set and I found myself quite impressed until I went outside for a cig-break with Andy.
“Yeah. He wanted to see my cock.” Andy told me.
He sort of brushed the ground with his foot, looking down like a guilty Peanuts character.
“He said he wouldn’t do the part unless I showed him my dick.” He said, matter-of-fact.
“Jesus, Andy. What did you do?” I asked.
To which Andy bucked up.
“I showed him it, man.” He said with a grin.
I was a little horrfied.
“Uh, well, I’m like, here for you man.” I offered.
“Nah,” He replied. “I’m good.”
“Come on, man, I’ve got no problem showing my dick wherever. Ain’t nothing to be ashamed of.”
At which point it became clear, around lunch-time that I should get some air.
It was then I found the cupcake, on the walk I took at mid-afternoon lunch.
It was at a place named “Butter Lane” which appealed to me as I walked by. I tried the frosting–Chocolate or Vanilla, French or American–and decided on the French Chocolate frosting (lighter, more chocolate-y) with the classic Vanilla cake.
I never was a fan of chocolate-cake cupcakes; they never have as much chocolate as they should.
It was great, really.
The chocolate frosting was fluffy, with an intense flavor.
The cake was buttery without being sodden.
It was 3 bucks, but it was worth it.
And I took a picture, because, well, I guess I couldn’t believe it..
And because in 20 minutes, I’d be back on set.
BBQ Chicken Baoguette- $5.00
St. Marks Pl bet. 3rd and 2nd Aves.
6 to Astor Pl
French Chocolate w/Vanilla Cupcake- $3.00
7th St bet 1st and Ave A.
6 to Astor Pl, FV to Lower East Side-2nd Av