A Somervillain Thereminist in White Castle’s Court (Day 1)

Ben & a random VW Bug owner outside the officesFeb. 19, 2007: Shortly after writing my Seamy LA post, I was picked up by Ben, a production assistant who comes to LA for a few months each year to make some quick cash, but spends most of his time in northern Idaho where he lives off of his earnings. LA is such a seductive place, you have to admire someone who can maintain a balance like that.

Sears Silvertone Twin Twelve Model 1484Small Silvertone AmpWe arrived at the office around 11:30. After dealing with some paperwork and various introductions, I set up my theremin in a small office to test out the two Silvertone amps that Ben had found for me. David, the director (with whom I bonded after learning that his wife was in the awesome Fastbacks), and I quickly decided that the larger two-piece version had more “huevos” (one of David’s favorite words, as I soon learned). We also quickly attracted a small audience (as theremin sounds are wont to do), and David encouraged me to “warm up” by playing Video Killed the Radio Star (as heard in the youtube video that got me this gig) for the crowd. There was much laughter and applause.

Me and Susan BarnardDavid WildNext, I met with Susan Barnard, head of wardrobe. David and Susan had encouraged me to bring the Silver Suit (as seen in the aforementioned youtube video) as well as lots of other fun clothes I’ve worn on stage. After trying on various combinations, they ended up choosing a pair of blue jeans and one of their own shirts. The only piece of my own clothing we ended up using were my two-tone red and purple/brown Hush Puppies. Ah well, at least they provided padding for the musical gear in my suitcase.

In the meantime, the folks from the ad agency, as well as Debbie, the representative from White Castle, had arrived. Which meant another performance of Video Killed the Radio Star! There was much laughter and applause.

I was pretty much done for the day, but I had no plans until the evening and was carless until then, so I killed the rest of the afternoon by practicing a bit on the theremin and chatting up the actors from the other spots (also there for wardrobe fittings). I would ask them if they’d been in other ads, and when they would ask me the same question, I’d tell them my story. There was much laughter but (thankfully, because that would have been weird) no applause.

Hali, the Icelandic PADue to my carlessness, the production company kindly offered to drive me wherever I wanted to go. So at the end of the day, Hali, a production assistant originally from Iceland who was working on a screenplay (a trip to LA is not complete until you meet someone working on a screenplay), drove me all the way to Atwater Village where I hung out in a coffee shop until my friend Donna got out of work. We ate dinner at a place Donna calls “Hipster Pho” and then rushed to Spaceland where her band Bedroom Walls were playing. The band was good, but a trip to LA is also not complete without a celebrity sighting. Thankfully, Kiefer Sutherland was in the house. I was very tempted to approach him and say, “My wife is a huge fan… of your grandfather’s“, but I restrained myself.

A cab ride back to Santa Monica (where I somehow found myself explaining a theremin to the driver) concluded Day 1 of my adventures in LA. Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion, coming soon….

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