WGA Strike: Day Five!

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.

Cool, Mr. Burns picket sign designed by a striking “Simpsons” writer @ the FOX Studios strike rally (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!

WGA members gathering outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

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.

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE’s Zach de la Rocha and Tom Morello @ the WGA strike rally oustide FOX (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!

Rev. Jesse Jackson rallying the WGA troops outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!

TV legend Norman Lear meets the press @ the WGA unity rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!

WGA members @ the unity rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!!

Me & “Happy Days” writer/director Gary Marshall @ the WGA strike rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

Me & BEST WEEK EVER’s “Frangela” @ the WGA strike rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

Oscar-winning “Crash” writer/director Paul Haggis and me outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon & me @ the WGA strike rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

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.

Kelsey Grammer chats with reporters @ the WGA unity rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

“24″ actor Dennis Haysbert talks to the media @ the WGA strike rally outside FOX Studios (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!

My WGA strike captain, Aaron talking strike with “Family Ties” actress, Justine Bateman @ the WGA strike rally (Nov. 9, 2007)

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!

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “WGA Strike: Day Five!

  1. Not only has the strike put a cramp in your blogging time, it has also put a cramp in your shaving time! You are looking a little unkempt, my hirsute friend. 🙂

    Cool pics. Love the Simpsons picket sign. That’s cool you saw legend Norman Lear (I don’t always agree with your adjectives, but on this one I do).

    That’s cool getting a pic with Gary Marshall, although I would have been more impressed if it was with Rob Marshall (I know, no relation, but still, a good opportunity to plug a musical theatre hero).

    Love Justine Bateman too. I would have been more excited if it was 20 years ago, when Family Ties was my favorite show (and she, my favorite character). But still pretty cool.

    And I don’t know if I was a writer, I would want Jesse Jackson speaking at my rally. That guy has like no credibility left.

  2. yeti9000

    Mmhmm…and if Rev. Jesse wanted to speak at your next company picnic would you turn the man away? Hell to the no!

    Credibility or not, that man was on the balcony with Rev. King as he lay dying in Memphis. That alone qualifies him to speak to us! =)

    Of course I would have preferred Hillary or Barack, or even Dennis Kucinich (who could have hitched a ride to the event on a UFO with his pal Shirley Maclaine) I was happy to see any political figure get involved in our cause!

    And as for the facial hair, that’s my strike beard, yo! I will not shave again till we get a fair deal! Ha!

  3. You think with all the Hollywood money that typically goes to the Dems each election cycle that Hillary, Obama or any other viable candidate would step in the middle of what they see as an internal debate?

    Especially when the studio heads have the biggest pockets and write the biggest checks, like the SKG in Dreamworks (“S” is a big Hillary supporter, while “G” throws his support behind Obama).

    You may be onto something with Dennis Kucinich, or perhaps even Mike Gravel. But does anyone really take these guys seriously anyway?

  4. yeti9000

    You’re right, it would be cool if someone of stature (totally unrelated to the biz) could step in at some point.

    But since many people credit former agent to the stars, then studio chief at Universal, Lew Wasserman with ending the last strike, I think what we really need is another Lew Wasserman!

  5. Justine Bateman’s shirt looks like she got it made at Neighborhoodies.

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