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Sweat and Fireworks
July 2, 2000


Call time: 12 p.m.
Location: 6th and Wharton, South Philadelphia Row Home
 Fireworks from the New Jersey State Aquarium

Cast: Suze Kowalski, Maggie Siff, Curt Kowalski, Bill Zielinski, Mickey Gretto, Lou Lippa


The main scene today involves Suze giving Mickey a haircut in his dining room. We use a dolly with a circular track, to film the before and after scenes (in between Mickey actually goes across the street, to a South Philadelphia corner beauty shop, and gets a real haircut) This time weire pushing it n we all barely fit in the house. The scene involves more choreography - the camera, the actors, the dolly, etc. It takes most of the day, but I think it's gonnna be worth it.

Next we move outside, to film a fight scene between Curt (Suze's husband) and Mickey (the retired boxer). The scene begins with Curt throwing firecrackers at the pigeons that have gathered around his house. (We mock the firecracker thing - the actor pretends to light a firecracker, then tosses it out of frame) We've arranged to have some pigeons from the Schuylkill Valley Nature Center that are to be released into the world on set. The pigeon wranglers sit below screen, and release the pigeons on cue, hopefully they will fly through the frame on their way to pigeon Philadelphia freedom. Weive got 26 pigeons. We release three at a time. They don't always fly exactly in the direction we would like them to fly, but it'll be OK in the end.

The fight scene ends with Mickey throwing a punch to camera (Curtis POV of the blow) to accomplish this we set up a piece of plexiglass on a couple of stands right in front of the camera. Mickey's third try breaks the plexiglass. I'm sure this is the take we'll use. . .

The final scene in the South Philly location is a talk between Curt and Mickey in the house. Temperatures outside are in the 90s and on this late afternoon, it is ridiculously hot inside. Sweat forms during each take. It's a good thing we're shooting Mickey close up, cause he's got sweat marks forming on his chest. . .

After the long, very successful day of filming in South Philly, I meet up with a new crew to travel over to the aquarium in Camden to film the fireworks that evening. We've got a great spot (the folks at the Aquarium have carved out a great spot - there are about 2000 people who would love to be standing where we are). There's a bit of rain, a lot of lightning, and a spectacular fireworks show - one shot I'm particularly anxious to see is the reflection of the fireworks in the windows of the Society Hill Towers. . . to the eye it was magic.

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