Day 8, Or, Can I Kick It To You One Time, Jann Carl?
Today was Bring Your Children To Their First Of Probably Many Strikes As Corporate Greed And Union-Busting Will No Doubt Follow Them For The Rest Of Their Eighty-Plus Years On This Earth, Or Mars, Wherever We're Living In Eighty Years. It was also the first day of the second week, and the first day of starting the first strike shift at 6am (it has something to do with Teamsters being early birds). I gotta tell you, one of the reasons I became a writer was so that I didn't have to ever have anything to do with something called "6am." I have lived blissfully for years with only the vaguest notion that "6am" exists, taking it on faith that it's indeed there but never verifying its existence with my own eyes, like Mount Rushmore, or Country Music Television. Well, I can now tell you with certainty, it does exist. It's absolutely horrible, but it's there.
About 30 of us arrived bundled, our breath pooling visibly in the brisk Burbank smog, and walked the Riverside gate. The best thing aside from the children (who are cute because they're kind of like tiny little drunk people; they slur their words, they fall down a lot, they have little control over their emotions, and they're constantly whining for something to drink), was seeing the horrified looks on the faces of the commuters who thought for damn sure they'd miss out on having to deal with annoying the strikers by coming in early. So sad and defeated, they were. The crosswalk at the Disney gate is ludicrously pedestrian friendly (for no reason; it's on a made-up street with nothing to walk to) and so by hitting the WALK button over and over, the light kind of never changes. We once got in six full rotations during one WALK cycle. This is with a growing line of cars waiting to turn left into the lot. One guy on a yellow motorcycle got so angry he zipped over and complained to the cop, who I imagine said some cop version of "Tough titty." I for one don't particularly relish keeping people from going to their jobs, but we have so little control in this strike, abandoned out on our sometimes-sad little out-of-the-way gates, cut off from friends, family, work, bathrooms, Nikki Finke, that every left turn missed or supportive honk really makes our day. Striking writer "Blaze" and his headbanded goofball buddies got their hands on drums and a megaphone and had the line rocking.
Some of us eventually headed back up to fill in the ranks at our Alameda gate, where we were besieged by a bizarre number of photographers and reporters trying to capture the cuteness of those dern striking babies. The constant photograph-snapping got really annoying after a while, but I suppose any coverage is good coverage. (Unless it's being done by Variety's Dave McNary, who, with his biased, silly reporting during the strike, has somehow managed to turn himself into a figure of writer wrath near equal to that of Nick Counter. It didn't have to be this way, Dave! Turn away from the dark side!) More and more children came, and where there are children, you know who is soon to follow: That's right. Entertainment Tonight's Jann Carl!!!
While Jann Carl interviewed Michael Tabb's children and others for a surprisingly long time (since children generally don't have all that much intelligent or useful to say about the labor movement) Eli Stone's Courtney Kemp and I fake-smooth-talked Jann Carl. "Excuse me, Jann Carl. Mmm, you're looking pretty fly tonight, girl. Let me be your Entertainment Tonight, and I'll give you Access to my Hollywood." (You get punchy on the line, I'm telling you.) The hours wore on and more and more children came and Jann Carl packed up her mole and left and eventually the second shift came on and it was time to go home and try to have a life separate from the strike. Sadly, not so easy.
I took lots of shots of shoes, since I find they're the most important thing on the line. And children, because of all the cute they wield over us like scythes.
The new tools of our trade.
Where Walt's head floats in a super-cooled vat of childrens' tears.
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
The lovely Wendy Mericle and Courtney Kemp.
Babies being all cute and manipulative.
Once you have the Finns on your side, you're set.
The connection is made. Aw, yeah. It's on now, Jann Carl.
Jann Carl doing what Jann Carl does best. Being Jann Carl.