So they are filming this very heavy movie on my street. The film is called "Across The Universe" and is directed by Julie Taymor (who directed 'Frida'). Guess what the movie is going to be? What the world so needs right now: a baby boomer self-congratulatory sleaze-fest. According to their write-up, it will be "...a psychedelic musical love story using famous Beatles songs as the source for a whirl-wind tour of the sweeping changes the world experienced in the 1960s" And guess who's in it? Bono! Barf? The set designers have shamelessly raped and pillaged the "charming" Lower East Side at the intersection of Rivington and Clinton streets with super-faux, super-cheeseball 1960s ephemera, ham-fisted graffiti, fake store fronts, period cars with "love 'n peace" painted on them... and even piles of fake trash covered in psychedelic colors (piles of trash that are bolted to the sidewalk so no one steals them) Brilliant! I'm used to having my eyes assaulted with crackheads and stabbings and obstacle courses of dog doo... but now this? One business (I think it's a Korean nail salon) has had it's frontage transformed and has now become... that's right: The Black Panthers' headquarters! They even slathered 60s graffiti and a fake beatnik coffee shop sign over the front of ABC No Rio... ugh... please kill me now.
I took these two photos (left and right, click to enlarge). Again, like the nail salon and ABC No Rio, both of these are working businesses... still in operation when the "magic of Hollywood" has gone for the day. I wonder how much dough these places get for this kind of visual disruption? I bet it's gonna be a real come-down when people walk into the Psycedelicatessen asking for an electric brain banana and a dreamcatcher, and see that it's just a Spanish Bodega that sells plantains and Alka Seltzer. I'd love to walk into the other one, a family-run deli made up to look like The Village Gate, and loudly demand to know the next showtime for "Alice In Acidland" is. The Village Gate right down the street from the Black Panthers' headquarters... just imagine! What's around the corner... Spahn Ranch? During the day the streets are shut off for several blocks, while crowds of extras dressed as Woodstock-bots awkwardly shuffle around while a director on a crane screams at them through a bullhorn and 'Let It Be' overloads on a loudspeaker. Last night when I was jogging, they were doing some night shoots, and I saw them filming in front of a fake "TV Repair" shop they had constructed over an old jewelry store, and they were shooting this group of costumed hippies standing, staring, motionless like zombies at the TVs in the window... which all were broadcasting (brace yourself) identical test patters! Heavy! I wonder what Beatles song will go with that?
Speaking of... I hear Madonna is in town right now attending some political heaviness at the United Nations... why not invite her to make a cameo with Bono? Her usual brand of "movie magic" may be just what this picture's sense of groovy purpose needs! No... deserves!
Blogger Bluejake has created the clever game of Movie Extra or Lower East Side Resident? Bet you can't tell which is which! Here are some people talking about Rivington Street on an IMDB chat board. I love how one person calls it "Potentially the most blasphemous movie since 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'." Here is a nice write-up from Curbed. Here is someone named Kathryn's collection of Flickr photos of the area. Apparently they are filming all over town as well.
They say that if you can remember the 60s, then you weren't there. I think that just about says it all... doesn't it?