For the past couple of months, I have been doing background acting, if you want to call it that. Essentially I’m just a stiff in the background of a couple of films. The first one I did was Homeland, the Showtime series starring Claire Danes. It’s for the season that’s going on right now (5), and I was introduced to her and she actually speaks a line to me in it. Unfortunately when she speaks it to me, the camera’s behind me so you can only see the back of my head. Still, I think the back of my head gives a fairly noble performance: it gives a slight, almost imperceptible nod. There are also a few scenes that my face is in, one where I’m walking through traffic, one where I’m walking through an office, and one where sitting at a desk going through a ream of phoney paperwork, but I don’t know what showed up and what was left on the cutting room floor. It’s episode 8.
The other film I did was a German film. They didn’t bother giving me a name for my part or anything. They did give me a fake mustache and paint my face white. I’m calling myself Volker Gottlob von Grimmelshausen.
Thursday, while I was at the place I go to for back therapy, I was talking to a 70-something Jewish guy from New York who’s been in Germany for forty years and looks just like Flanders from the Simpsons. He said to me while we were doing our exercises, “Enjoy Berlin while you still can.” “Why’s that?” I said. He said, “It’s going to be changing a lot soon, with all the refugees here and IS.” I nodded, not sure if I agreed with him of not, but I told myself to write down what he said in my diary to see how I feel about it in a month, or a year, or five years. Or the next day when the attacks in Paris happened.
This is Liberty Leading the People, by Eugene Delacroix, which seems as apropos now as it was when he painted it in 1830.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this affects Berlin, London, Paris, et al, and the refugee crisis. Not that refugees were the guilty party – I shouldn’t have to say – but this certainly won’t help their cause. If anything it’ll just heighten their desperation and the rage and fear of those who don’t want them around. So what to do now? I wish someone could say because I sure can’t. I have a hard enough time decoding and comprehending and unslanting what I read because I read all my news in German. For now, this is what I’ve got: at the end of my workout, I went into one of the back rooms and my physiotherapist, a pregnant Columbian Frau built like an M4 Sherman, had me lay on the bench and began twisting and pounding the shit out of my ruined back. A few minutes later, my prophetic Jewish-American friend pulled the nylon curtain back, poked in his little bald head, saw me in my contorted position and said, “And don’t take any wooden nickels.” Then he shut the curtain and I heard the tread of his sneakers on the carpet as he left the room.