Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, but my WGA picket line duties — which, oddly enough, have become even more fun and invigorating in week two — have nonetheless put a serious cramp in my blogging time. I’m not complaining, but, man alive, after sticking it to the AMPTP all day long, writing is the last thing I wanna do at night.
So, while I probably won’t be posting daily updates from the picket lines EVERY day from here on out, I wanted to finish out the posts from week one with a bang.
And let me tell ya, Friday’s historic WGA unity rally — with over 4,000 striking writers gathering outside the main gates of the 20th Century Fox Studios in Century City — was one hell of a bang!
Shutting down Pico Blvd. and Avenue of the Stars in both directions, red-shirted WGA members and their supporters poured into the streets for a rousing strike rally kicked off by a rocking mini-set from Rage Against The Machine’s madmen Zach de la Rocha and Tom Morello.
Unfortunately, there were so many people there that I couldn’t hear a word they sang, much less get a picture like the one above (which I borrowed from a cool photo essay on LAist.com) but I heard later that their brief set was filled with pro-union songs calling for “a fair share of the wealth” and that sounds good to me. So, rock on, hermanos!
Next up was the Rev. Jesse Jackson — who I also could not see or hear, so, thanks again to Laist.com for the pic! — who spoke at length about the long, storied history of unions in America. That’s right, Jesse, sing it, dude!
But despite rousing speeches by SAG president Alan Rosenberg (“L.A. Law”), several members of the WGA negotiating committee, and TV legend Norman Lear (who I managed to snap a pic of later, see below) perhaps the most heartfelt words spoken that day came from “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane.
Speaking to the fact that the average WGA member makes $62,000 a year (WAY less than the $200,000 figure tossed out last week by the AMPTP) and usually struggles to make ends meet between gigs, MacFarlane said: “[WGA members] are middle class. They live in homes that look to me like the home I grew up in, and my parents were teachers.” Nicely put, Seth!
And as the cheering crowd wildly shook their picket signs in approval, WGA President Patric Verrone summed up the energy of the membership perfectly with his parting words: “Two years ago, we started this campaign by looking for leadership from our members…what we found was a membership of leaders!” Wow…not a dry eye in the crowd.
And then, we marched down Avenue of the Stars towards Fox!
Being the total celebrity stalker that I am, I made the rounds snapping pictures with anyone and everyone who’d have me: “Happy Days” writer/director Gary Marshall, “Best Week Ever” co-hosts and self-proclaimed “cultural pundits” Frances and Angela (aka “Frangela”), Oscar-winning writer/director Paul Haggis, and best of all, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” creator, Joss Whedon! Awesome!!
I also snapped some candid shots of “Frasier’s” Kelsey Grammer, former “24″ and “Far From Heaven” actor Dennis Haysbert and even though it didn’t turn out (sorry!) an impassioned Billy Baldwin (“Dirty Sexy Money”) discussing the strike with a fiery redhead.
But probably the highlight of the celebrity tilt-a-whirl that day was talking AMPTP trash (at length!) with “Family Ties” actress Justine Bateman, who is shown below chatting up my super cool strike captain (and ride for the day!) game show writer Aaron Solomon.
Don’t know if you can make it out from the Bateman pic or not, but Aaron (on the far left) is wearing a shirt from the short-lived Fox game show “GREED”.
Aside from our friend Ginger, who had the misfortune of attending a taping of that lame-ass show with me back in the day, I’m sure no one watched “GREED”. But man, just the sight of the words: “I feel the need for GREED” looming over the Fox logo on Aaron’s shirt was hilarious!
Ha! Who would have thought a grungy old shirt from a canceled game show (hosted by the über cheesy Chuck Woolery no less!) would so perfectly encapsulate one of the central problems at the heart of this strike?
Down with AMPTP corporate greed, que viva la union!