SUMMARY: Extra on an MTV Video Shoot at the Angel Orensanz Synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan late 90s.

Memorable for inspiring the following vignette and for introducing me to a space that would be the scene of several later events hosted by the Ransom Corp. and myriad collaborators.

by GK duBois

The rain is so loud they can’t film the scene. The door opens, sprinkles blow in on my arms. Everyone who was talking gets quiet. The A.D.–he’s drenched. “We’re gonna wait out the rain. We can’t get a clean take on the sound.” He walks past us into the pit where the band sits.

The drama is us. Kara, my assigned scene date, pulls out a flask. She and I later on will continue this trend, drinking too much tequila at Barracuda and sharing strange Martian kisses. Right now, she’s saying she’s going to Wyoming tomorrow a.m then New Mexico to shoot a rodeo. She grew up riding horses in Connecticut. I’m a writer working on a screenplay about an island restaurant. I tell my tale of the hot springs at Truth & Consequences, a chocolate Lab and walking the burnt mountains at night. 

The rain is lifting in drifts, resounding in infinite echos on Norfolk Ave & the synagogue’s colored glass. The set here is real–real wood, panels, doors, chairs, fans.

Someone is saying there is a tree growing inside a house that’s breaking apart. I have a love for fragments of conversation. Alston slides over and has a swig. He’s says dancers make shit for money but he knew what art he chose and what it would take and what it’s about. He’s working on a piece about streetlights. And just like that, we’re his rehearsal choir– “I am the green the yellow the blue.” He’s flapping his wings crouching and leaping forward, a choreography, he says, for moving across cultures. “These are for the horizontal lines,” he says. He slides one foot as far as he can without lifting the back foot and pulls his arms back, his chest out and leans up into his front foot on tippy toe. The AD re-appears from the pit and waves us to follow him. “We’re going to shoot the scene with you guys in the pews.”

Row by row, we slide in as the room darkens. The techs test the strobes. Kara, my date, smelling in my mind of horses and immense western blue skies, clutches my hand. The band takes the stage. All our eyes turn to them.