Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bob Marley, of USC

Good luck, Bob. You're gonna need it...

As our economy plunges ever deeper into the dank swamp of hard times, it seems clear that things are destined to get worse before they get better. The only relevant questions at the moment are how much worse, and how long all this will go on before we turn back towards the light?

I have no idea, and it doesn’t look like anybody else does, either. The country has lost 600,000+ jobs per month for the last three months – close to 2 million jobs thus far – but here in Hollywood, at least, the arrival of pilot season has temporarily rescued some of us from the rolls of the unemployed. This brief frenzy of activity won’t last long, though, so everybody lucky enough to land a pilot is putting his/her head down and plugging away like a good little work-bot, concentrating on the here-and-now in the hope that the future will take care of itself.

Not everyone is sharing the wealth. Features remain moribund, caught in the economic whirlpool like every other money-intensive business. Between the lingering uncertainty over the SAG situation* and the credit crunch, it’s been hard to get a movie off the ground lately, leaving Television, the true opiate of the people, as the only leg of the Industry still barely chugging along -- and given all the changes muddying the waters of TV, there’s no telling how long this little engine can stay on the rails.

People cope in different ways. Last weekend, I noticed the poster at the top of this page, which -- due to my crappy camera and harsh lighting conditions -- is pretty much illegible. But here's the text, scanned for your edification.

(Phone number deleted for reasons that may or may not be obvious)

So I guess Bob Marley is alive after all, and apparently attending USC, one of the most expensive private universities on the West Coast – only now he “looks like Michael Jackson.” Given the surgically-enhanced and utterly unearthly countenance of The Gloved One, I’m not sure why anybody other than one of those Las Vegas celebrity impersonators would brag about this, but I'm sure Bob Marley (of USC) has his reasons.

Then again, if I’d been dead for 28 years, I’d need a little money and help too -- and I'd probably look a lot like Michael Jackson.

But hey, let’s be charitable and give him the benefit of the doubt. Bob Marley (of USC) isn’t asking for much – he just wants to meet some capital-P People so they can give him money and help him with... Things. If you don’t ask, you won’t get, so they say -- and this is certainly true in Hollywood -- so I have to admire Bob Marley (of USC) for his chutzpah. He plastered these posters on streets all around the CBS facility on Fairfax and Third (where the Craig Ferguson show is taped, along with “Dance with the Stars” and “American Idol”) in the apparent hopes that some bucks-up Industry mover-and-shaker might take a shine to a guy with the name of a long-dead reggae star and the face of Michael Jackson -- and if the latter really is true, then this poor guy deserves our sympathy, if nothing else.

So I salute you, Bob Marley (of USC), and wish you the best of luck.

*It looks like this logjam might be finally breaking.

For the Bob Marley who didn't go to USC, click here.

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