Thursday, January 28, 2010


Which of your favorite Libran monkey background divas was seen recently on the set of a certain “upper east side” TV show and involved in, shall we say, a wedding plotline of a certain Eastern European nature? xoxo, GOSSIP GIRL

Here’s one clue - a photo of all the accessories that the hair department used to get my hair up ready for the big scene. I do look like a monkey from the back, but the front is oh-so-chic. I wore shoes that I THOUGHT were comfortable but after 14 hours of dancing, endless ballroom crossing and standing, even Hush Puppies would aggravate my bunyons.

And, despite the characters they play on the show EVERYBODY was really nice and not at all bitchy. Blair, played by Leighton Meester (for some reason, I always call her “Keester” in my head) was especially funny with her castmates when off-camera. She was particularly playful with Wallace Shawn & Margaret Colin since they were all laughing and laughing. I tried to hear what they were saying but only heard snippets. During one scene, I was standing behind “Keester” and she had this GORGEOUS gold-toned dress on with a mesh top. There was one hair stuck on her back under the mesh (like when you get toilet paper or Kleenex or a dustball stuck in your pantyhose) and it was driving me crazy looking at it, but I couldn’t say anything because the background is not allowed to talk to the principals (even though some people break that rule and seem to get away with it! No fair!). When the scene started, Leighton turned around to face us and on cue, started crying. HOW DID SHE DO THAT??!! What deep childhood wound did she summon up to get her to the point of tears when seconds earlier, she was laughing? Guess I’ll never know and guess all those classes at HB Studios were totally wasted on me.

Right before the actual taping of a show, somebody is hired to shout “last looks” and all the hair, wardrobe and makeup people come running onto the set to make sure everybody looks right. One time, the hair lady was fixing “Blair’s” long flowing locks and then Leighton started futzing with the hair lady’s hair. I don’t think anybody else noticed but I thought it was HAIR-LARIOUS.

And, since we were at the Party Mecca of the World - a big ol’ wedding hall - there were chandeliers and pianos everywhere – on the roof of the building, in the ballrooms, in the lobby, wherever you looked - but then there were mirrors everywhere, too, so maybe it was just one piano. Anyway, Penn Badgley (aka Dan Humphrey) took several opportunities to play jazz during his breaks. He’s really talented. But again, couldn’t talk to him or I’d get kicked off set forever. RRRGGGG. So hard to hold my tongue. So I’m standing in the lobby, with the tween heartthrob of the world playing the piano right near me and there’s nothing I can do. I was talking to my friend Rachel, who was reading her phone messages, and realized that my cellphone had accidentally been on “record” - we were on break so it’s okay to have your phone there but NEVER EVER bring a cell to set and NEVER film or photograph anyone without their permission. Anyway, though I can’t ever prove it, here you can hear Penn’s music in the background. I pretty much just got Rachel’s feet and my face upside down, but it was really all about Penn and me.

During the wedding ceremony, they were trying out different ethnic music to play and songs would come in over the loudspeaker. The lead actors were sitting among us. Penn was sitting with Chase Crawford (aka Nate Archibald) and they were joking around a lot. When the music came on, Chase jokingly suggested they play TIK TOK by Ke$ha. It was just a little side remark but I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I LOVE THAT SONG.

Don't stop, make it pop DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, Imma fight Till we see the sunlight
Tick tock, on the clock But the party don't stop,no Woah-oh oh oh Woah-oh oh oh
Ain't got a care in world, but got plenty of beer Ain't got no money in my pocket, but I'm already here And now the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger
I'm talking about - everybody getting crunk, crunk Boys trying to touch my junk, junk Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk...

At lunchtime, wardrobe offered us plastic ponchos to wear to cover our posh outfits so that we wouldn’t spill on them. I readily took my blue poncho and put it on, thinking everybody would do the same, but NO-OOO. Everybody else just put on a coat or sweater and ate like a normal person instead of a giant, living, walking garbage bag. The only other person who took one was John, who played the Orthodox Priest. He was in fancy schmancy brocaded clergy vestments and Epitrachelions. He, at least, had a tasteful yellow poncho and he pulled it off quite well. The second day on set, I wore my raincoat to lunch and felt like I’d evolved slightly in a fashion sense. Now THAT’S something to write home about. Wallace Shawn was sitting at the table right behind me and I kept trying to hear whatever wisdom he was doling out but people around me kept talking too loudly. SHHHHHHH! I swear, though, that every time I passed Wally on set, our eyes met and subliminal profundities were being exchanged. Or maybe not. Maybe I am just a wishful thinker.

Sometimes, doing background work is like speed dating. In one scene, you’re paired up with one partner, and in the next scene you’re with another, then another. No continuity, but lots of variety. Here I was with numerous partners – tall/short, moustached/clean-shaven, delicately fragrant/stinky, Greek/Philadelphian, SAG union/non-union, etc. But one thing for sure, in human nature, people just can’t shut the heck up. When they’re setting up the shot, the Director and A.D. and lighting and sound teams need to communicate with each other. The A.D. had to say 1000 times to the 125 extras, STOP TALKING. Some people would just be quiet for a minute and then they’d start talking again! It was amazing to me. And it wasn’t like they were saying anything important, just stuff like “have you done this show before?” “I’ve never watched Gossip Girl, do you like my heels, do you like oyster, who’s that character, is he famous?” etc. It’s not like they were solving the Darfur genocide issue or illuminating exactly what happens after we die - just chit chat and they wouldn’t shut up. SHHHHHHH!!!!

During the reception, we were supposed to be drunk and I was weaving my way through the dance floor with my fourth “date” of the night. I was passing a group of teens that actually had lines in the scene and may have included Penn B plus the character of Eric Van Der Woodsen (Serena’s brother, played by Connor Paolo. If it were him, he’s really short - kind of in indirect proportion to Chuck Bass or, rather, Ed Westwick's head, which looks really big!) when all of a sudden, I felt an irresistible force meeting my drunken swagger and I’m pretty sure that one of the boys in the posse TRIPPED on my FOOT. HOLY CRAP! I was too mortified to even look back to see who it was. Maybe if I didn’t actually see it, then it didn’t happen, even though it’s probably on TAPE for all times!

At the end of the long, exhausting day, the Director (the delightful Janice Cooke) was so happy with us that she started a chant, “When I say bad, you say...” “ASS!!!” Bad-ASS - Bad - ASS!! SHHHHHHHHH! xoxo, GG


Anonymous said...

That's so cool. I want to be an extra on gg someday. Do you know why blair was crying? Did she and Chuck fight?

Anonymous said...

I heard that Blair and Chuck break up at the wedding. Is it true?

Born in Defiance - EB's Blog said...

Sorry Anonymous -- We're sworn to secrecy on plot-lines so can't reveal anything until the show airs but I can tell you this - despite all the batting of my eyelashes at him, the dark and edgy Chuck did not leave Blair for ME.

sendtherain said...

Aww, that's so great you got to be at Dorota's wedding!

I'm so sad you can't tell us about Chuck/Blair, though... It's horrible not knowing :(

I just hope your last comment doesn't mean Chuck left Blair for someone ELSE, lol.

Anonymous said...

lol, aww, you didnt get Chuck. I know you cant say anything, but could you just say if he cheats on her? it would break my cb heart

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I'm jealous as hell that you have such a job. I wish I had attempted to do something like that straight out of college or even in college. I missed out. Lots of hard work but sounds pretty exciting.

Sure you can't give us any scoop? Heck even a small riddle will do.

Born in Defiance - EB's Blog said...

You'll find out on April 12th when the episode airs. It's called "The UnBlairable Lightness of Being." (I'm sure there will be more storyline revealed before then by the show's regular bloggers and on Twitter, but my lips are sealed.) You know you love me...xoxo!

jody prusan said...

GREAT TO HEAR FROM YOU and you looked beautiful - I did not know that you took classes at HB - I study with Austin and am in the ensemble - However you're a TV star and probably have no use for theatre folk

Born in Defiance - EB's Blog said...

Jody, I studied with Bill Hickey, back in the day. I love Austin but he would probably kick me out of his class if he even heard me do one line-reading. "She's a hack! Get her outta here!" xoxo.