9 June 2021 I love Air conditioning

Started by KathyB, Jun 09, 2021, 12:53 pm

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Today is in the lower 90s, but with 13% humidity, so it feels like 90 degrees F, but even so, I prefer being inside where it's air conditioned. I am a wimp. I used to be able to work when it was 90 degrees inside the house (NOTE: I did not say "work without complaining," and this was back in the day when I didn't have air conditioning, so I had no choice but to work during the heat), but now I get cranky when it's in the upper 80s inside. Right now it is in the mid-70s inside, and it feels blissful.

I don't see a single cloud in the sky.


We've gotten into the lower 90s with some consistency this past week, but averaging more like mid-to-high 80s (it's currently 83-feeling-like-88, according to my laptop's weather widget).  Still, the humidity has been high enough to keep me running my A/C pretty much nonstop.

Temps are supposed to dip this weekend and remain more or less in the mid-60s to upper-70s through next week, which would be wonderful.

Right about now, all the fancy people are congregating for the ITH premiere at the United Palace theatre three blocks from my place (and just about halfway between me and the primary filming location where Usnavi's deli, Rosario's car service, Daniela's salon and "abuela" Claudia's apartment all faced each other across the intersection of 175th and Audubon).  I can't decide whether it would be fun, or just kinda pathetic, to wander over and gawk.


Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jun 09, 2021, 05:01 pmI can't decide whether it would be fun, or just kinda pathetic, to wander over and gawk.

I hope you gawked and have a fun story or two about what you saw.

Like Kathy, I love air conditioning and can' take the heat as well as I used to be able to.  When it gets into the 90s I can't out in the heat too long.  I'm happy it is supposed to start cooling down starting tomorrow.
I no longer long for the old view!


Jun 09, 2021, 09:58 pm #3 Last Edit: Jun 13, 2021, 12:57 pm by scenicdesign71
Quote from: scenicdesign71 on Jun 09, 2021, 05:01 pmI can't decide whether it would be fun, or just kinda pathetic, to wander over and gawk.

...It was a little of each, I guess, but at least my curiosity was somewhat satisfied (or as satisfied as it was likely to get, at any rate -- I had a pleasant enough stroll, but 80 degrees felt like 90 and the humidity left me dripping after an hour of leisurely wandering).

Needless to say, I couldn't have gotten into the theater itself, so I just strolled around outside.  It seemed they were essentially set up to cram an L.A.-size premiere party into what amounts to an NYC pocket park (actually the tiny chunk of 175th St, adjacent to the United Palace, that some years ago was closed to traffic and converted into a pedestrian plaza).  It occurred to me on the way over that I didn't even know what time the screening itself was supposed to begin, but in spite of the relatively sparse gawkers and event staff milling around with a vaguely expectant air, there was no imminent sign of anything beginning (red-carpet arrivals, or the screening emptying into the now walled-off plaza, as the case might have been, but apparently wasn't, at least between about 8:15 and 9:15 pm when I was there).

I was able to catch a few very partial, obstructed glimpses through those (temporary) walls, to see the plaza all dolled up for the party, its pavement covered in yellow-gold carpet (streets paved with gold?), and a phalanx of sort of tradeshow-booth miniaturizations of several faux "storefronts" apparently inspired by the movie set.  For a moment I wondered whether any of this party décor had been recycled from the set pieces (themselves duplicating pieces of the real exteriors up here) used on the soundstage, where we had re-created half of the intersection for certain scenes -- but as far as I could tell this didn't seem to be the case.  One wouldn't necessarily want camera-ready grittiness as the backdrop for one's premiere party anyway, I suppose; the size of those façades might easily cramp the space; and, as easy as it might be to ascribe not recycling in this way to pure Hollywood profligacy, I can well imagine that, following 21st-century economics in which monetary value often appears to be radically divorced from common sense, it might actually be cheaper for them to build a new, smaller, party-friendly replica of a WaHi street from scratch than it would be to store (for what ended up being well over a year), reassemble, and modify the more realistic life-size version they already had.

What tips this all into meta-surreality, of course, is that the real thing -- the ACTUAL, literal, irreducibly specific real thing that all this is not only based upon, but where much of it was actually filmed -- is exactly two short blocks away, literally visible from the plaza itself... or it would be, were it not for the 8-foot tall plywood barriers surrounding this outdoor party space on all sides, effectively walling off the cutesy pasteboard "neighborhood" party decoration from the actual neighborhood it was aping, and into which it had been inserted.

After nosing around the outside of the Palace to see what little I could see, I made my way east to our former filming location.  For a weeknight, things seemed fairly bustling, almost more so than two blocks over at the theater.  One of the murals we painted (depicting a stalwart immigrant in a fearsomely tiny skiff, braving an azure sea with the Dominican flag as his sail) is still there, its dramatic moonlit sky now adorned with a single small, red graffiti tag.  A shuttered restaurant formerly known as The Heights -- already shuttered for some time before production began, and once again sporting a For Rent sign -- remains almost exactly as we left it.  Storefronts and stoops had been repainted for the movie, awnings replaced with our own designs (often, interestingly enough, in more old-fashioned, hand-lettered styles, though the film is set in more-or-less the present day), signage and murals and Daniela's entire salon exterior added to the existing streetscape. Almost all of this had been restored to its original state after filming concluded, but not quite all: the bodega, originally green, was painted yellow for the film and remains that color today, as per the wishes of the owner (who also asked us to leave our seafaring-migrant mural intact).  One store on the periphery, vacant prior to filming but decorated by our designers as a discount-menswear shop named Manuel's (a nod to LMM; just across the street we had another fictional store identified as Hudes Hardware, after the book/screenwriter), has now become a takeout spot of some sort, and appears to be doing brisk business.

This all gave me a sort of familiar sentimental pang, similar to the feeling of being in theaters alone, very late at night, working the graveyard shift to get a set ready for its first audience.  On one hand, there's a kind of melancholy, even self-pitying, anti-glamour that most backstage folk have probably experienced at one time or another (though I might be slightly atypical in having made it such an enduring habit): Cinderella sifting the ashes while the actors drink and make merry (or get their beauty sleep).  On the other, there's a peculiar charm to empty, dormant spaces (especially when they're as full of history and emotion as most theaters).  The difference in this case, of course, was that our intersection was far from deserted or forgotten; only its recent-ish history, as the site where the blockbuster premiering down the block was filmed, had settled back into the familiar, unspectacular daily rhythms of an actual neighborhood in the real world.  And even there, though I didn't survey passersby, I'd be surprised if at least a few of the folks on that block this evening weren't aware of the gala happening nearby, of what it was celebrating, and of that strange, unforgettable month back in the summer of 2019 when those movie people took over the neighborhood and turned it into a celluloid dream of itself, with hundreds of people dancing in the streets.

(Scratch "sentimental"; make that "maudlin"...)  :D