Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fake Rain and Flying Umbrellas

One day last week after work I decided to walk to OC’s school to pick her up, when I came across a large group of people with lots of black equipment around. As I got closer, it looked like a movie set. It turned out to be a Hyundai commercial being made on Main Street, across from the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. There was a water hose to create rain, (it doesn’t rain every day in Portland, despite rumors to the contrary) cameras underneath a plastic cover, lots and lots of lights and cables and black boxes of equipment all over the place, and lots and lots of people in black shirts and black pants standing around.

The commercial went like this: the camera is focused on a group of three or four women in pretty raincoats and umbrellas standing on the sidewalk. When cued, the black Hyundai goes speeding past them, and one of the umbrellas is rigged to fly up, turning inside out. The woman makes a surprised look, and CUT!

It was sort of fascinating, especially all the equipment strung out all over the place, and all the people needed to produce the thing. There are so many car commercials that all blend together. I like it when they come up with something unique. I liked the commercials several years ago, with “Something wicked this way comes” poems. Did you know those were written by ad writers? I thought they were actual poems! Anyway, they were unusual and the commercials were visually appealing. Let’s face it, anything’s better than some guy with a kangaroo yelling at you about some great deal or another. There is a guy with a kangaroo and a car dealership in Hillsboro. What does a kangaroo have to do with cars, I ask you?

I’ll be looking for the flying-up umbrella commercial, and then I can say I was there when that was filmed. And that will be, ummm, cool or something.

This is Portland, and just because Gus Van Sant lives here doesn't mean he can be spotted as easily as a Hyundai commercial. That is the height of celebrity around here. My friend, however, has managed to run into Art Alexakis no less than three times. Two of which were on her birthday.

There you go, Portland in a nutshell: it doesn't rain here every day and you can see a Hyundai commercial AND Art Alexakis. You know, if you're lucky.

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