I received an e-mail Saturday telling me to go to the Chan Centre at UBC tomorrow for the filming of the music video for "Talk to Me Dance with Me" by Hot Hot Heat. They needed extras to dance in the background.
The story is pretty interesting: Talk to Me Dance With Me was not scheduled to be their next release - they just released the new video for "No, Not Now" a week earlier. But it turns out that a DJ at KROQ started playing "Talk to Me Dance with Me" and listeners started requesting it, suddenly making the song into an unplanned U.S. hit. Meaning - MTV was waiting for the video before it was even made.
For me, this meant driving three hours (including the border on a Sunday) and dancing to the same song for five hours, then driving back home and trying to get some sleep before work this morning. I called Lady Styro for advice, but alas, I got her voicemail. So I rambled on and on about whether or not I should go, then finally said "Okay, just call me." But she didn't get my message in time (it was a Saturday night, after all).
I decided to put off thinking about it until Sunday morning.
Sunday, I took a shower I decided to just take off (no Canadian pun intended -- okay, maybe a little).
I packed two Vitamin Waters (because I am such an addicted sap.... favorite: peach "endurance" least favorite: kiwi strawberry "focus" - because it kinda tastes like lip gloss) and some cookies for the band (which I had made Friday night, and they were still laying around, and they had walnuts so Sean wouldn't eat them, and I seem to have this tradition with feeding members of Hot Hot Heat) and I hit the road.
Then ten minutes later I returned home to get my birth certificate.
Then I hit the road again.

The drive was great - muggy but neither hot nor cold. A good day for a drive with the windows down.
When I got to the Canadian border I noticed that all the cars were getting into just one lane - all the way below, by the US customs gate.
There were hardly any cars waiting so I couldn't figure out this formation.
Oddly, a gold Volvo wagon cut in front of me, and I was checking it out, because it's the only thing to look at in front of me, then a car rolls up to the left of me with his turn signal on,
Approaching the blockade at the border
asking to be let in. It was another gold Volvo wagon. I actually said "wo". I thought about this for two to three whole minutes. Once I got to the coned-off area, surrounded by U.S. Customs guards and Blaine police, one cop leaned towards my car and said "Thanks" and pointed forward.   (?)
It was extremely uneventful.
So getting to the border was a rare opportunity to pick any stall I wanted and I picked Mr. Stinky Pant's stall.
Citizenship? U.S.
Where you going? To Vancouver.
Reason for visit? To be an extra in a music
Mystery Dual Gold Volvo wagons
Are they paying you? No - I'm just in the audience.
Go ahead.

No eye contact. No voice inflection. No interest. He didn't even look at my I.D. (Time to retire, Mr.

I got to Shane's in record time - stopped by his house long enough to say "Hi" and "Where's this Chan Centre?" and Shan and Shane both pointed towards the University. Fair enough. Got to Chan Centre (Wow, is it ever a beautiful building on a beautiful campus) and didn't know where to park, so I pulled in by the back door where all the trucks were. Talked to some nice women about dogs, while Emma the dog met my cats by sniffing me like crazy.
Steve came out to give me a hug (I feel like I'm their Old Aunt Dayment) and I told him I'd come in after walking around.

The MuchMusic Van &
my Super Special Parking Permit
I parked my car in the hospital garage where I received my extra special photo-copied parking permit, and saw the MuchMusic Van, which had me all a-flutter. When I got to the front of the Chan Centre, it was locked, but I came across a videographer for Much Music and asked him if he was going back in (he was) so I dallied along with him as he taped the campus. While he was taking video shots of the campus, I was taking some pictures.
(I later found out that he IS CHRIS NELSON.) As in "You don't know who CHRIS NELSON is?!?"
I suppose it was like a Canadian saying "Yeah I met this guy Carson from MTV."

THE Chris Nelson taping the Chan Centre
[I'm sorry, Canadians, I didn't know who he was. We are culturally different. We have different vee-jays in my country. Do you know who Martha Quinn is?])
He was very nice. We talked about UNLV's campus vs. UBC's campus, which led to Jerry Tarkanian (as any conversation regarding UNLV does), which led to sports, which led to the conversation spiraling away to empty space. Dayment + Sports = Poof!  Gone
We were in the backstage door by then anyway. I walked through the band area and once the music stopped we walked into the theatre.
Gorgeous Campus Park

Inside the Chan Centre - lights and fog machines and equipment
I asked someone standing there if I could take pictures and they said it was fine if I didn't use a flash. Which is probably just as well, since I'm pretty sure the flash would have just captured the fog from the fog machine.
After they were done with that "scene" they said they needed more people upstairs (on the second floor balconies) and off I went.
Before I got there, they taped a scene of all the fans chasing Hot Hot Heat into the theater, and then gave instructions to dance and sing along if they want, and clap their hands to the beat during certain parts of the song.
But I pretty much figured that out. So that's what I did. Then I did that on the left on the ground floor. Then the center on the third floor. Then the right on the bottom floor again. Then the far left on the second floor. (I know that I'll see this video and go "There's me! There's me! There's me!" while pointing all over the place.)
It was actually a lot of fun. It was cool to see them changing the set-up for the camera - and they had a printout for the scenes that needed to be taped. We were moved around and scrambled all evening. The song was played quite loud on a decent sound system and Paul would drum along with it - so it was pretty easy to rock out.
From one of my vantage points
They ordered about twenty pizzas for the extras and I went to the front lobby - and that's when I realized I was supposed to fill out a release form. I had to hold it up by my face while they took a picture. The backstage area had better food so I went back there (because I can) to talk to the boys, and they were signing a big stack of CD inserts (each extra received a copy of the CD signed by the whole band - very nice).
Ben and Joan were there to support the troops and we shared some border stories, and I gave them some hot-spot shopping advice.
A bunch of video stars during the break
Ben wanted to wear an orangutan suit
Paul had tape labels for where each drum piece was
Can you see Danté twice?
Production team checking notes
It was very interesting watching the crew between takes. They move FAST.
They throw all the rails down and have wedges and a level to make sure everything's level (duh) and it's quick.
At one point, I asked one of the director guys "What is their job called?
And he said "That's two grips and a gaffer."
And then I said "Huh." because I had not planned on a reply, but he was still looking at me.
The taping went until 9:30 pm. Many finished before that - the last couple hours were a small bunch of us that crowded into certain spots where the taping focused.
One of the many camera formations for taping
We got a bit punchy at the end, just from being tired, and the amount of high energy needed for the last few shots had us dancing like muppets. It was totally fun.
And, yes, I know I've already said that.
After the director said "That's a rap!" we all cheered like crazy and went into the lobby where (even) more pizza awaited us.
The extras all got the autographed CD's, plus stickers, wristbands, and t-shirts.
I got to my car in the garage and drove back over to the back door to bring the cookies in (I had left them in the car).I bid my farewells to the band (I don't know when I'll see them again - no shows scheduled in Seattle any time soon). "Talk to Me Dance with Me" video is scheduled to play on MTV Monday, October 6. I don't know what time yet, but I'm assuming it will be a Breakthrough Video or some other promotional presentation.
The Set
I probably won't be easy to find, since I'll be nowhere and everywhere all at once (how poetic), but I was wearing a black t-shirt. Just like the other 90% of the extras.
You can make a drinking game out of it! Like a Where's Waldo on MTV!
We can all play "Where's Dayment".
There was one scene where the camera panned all four floors straight up (or was it down?). I am front and center in the third balcony, above the drums and directly below the scientists' window (....and that's all I'm going to say about that. Yes, the video has a plot.)
Helpful hint: I will be the one who does not look nineteen.
On the way home I went back to Shane's to see the Robosexuals have their band practice, called Sean, and headed home. I'm sure when I called him I sounded like a giddy teenager.
But that happens a lot.
The border was completely clear and the drive home was tiring but, thankfully, uneventful. When I finally got home around midnight, Sean had just settled into bed - we talked for a while and I fell asleep with "Talk to Me Dance with Me" playing over and over in my head.
And again when I woke up this morning.
Everyone cross your fingers with me: "BIG HIT! BIG!"

P.S. Shout out to my Waterfalls homies.

Shane & Shan (Joe not pictured)
d a y m e n t e d . c o m