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North Highland Avenue backdrop for TV show

June 9th, 2016 under Arts
I Love Dick second 2nd assistant director Mary Beth Chambers, writer Sarah Gubbins, and writer/director Jill Soloway watch the filming relay from the comfort of the Big Bend Sentinel office on Friday.

I Love Dick second 2nd assistant director Mary Beth Chambers, writer Sarah Gubbins, and writer/director Jill Soloway watch the filming relay from the comfort of the Big Bend Sentinel office on Friday.

By SARAH M. VASQUEZ
sarah@bigbendnow.com

MARFA – As I looked around the Marfa Big Bend Sentinel front office on Friday, with a video monitor and influx of crew inside, I blurted out, “I think this is the most people we’ve ever had in here.”

Even on our busiest days, which are typically Wednesdays, there are usually no more than seven people in the office at a time, but the “I Love Dick” crew commandeered our office as they shot a scene for the Amazon TV pilot. Lucky for me, the crew thought my comment was amusing.

Fridays in the newspaper office are usually pretty chill. Unless breaking news happens, there isn’t much going on over here, but last Friday, series creator Jill Soloway set up camp with us to get out of the Texas heat.

The shots for this location were all exterior, so the space provided much-needed shade and a place for the crew to hide from the camera. Actress Kathryn Hahn ate her lunch on the Donald Judd bench. She was hesitant because she didn’t want to be inconsiderate, but Robert Halpern insisted that’s the purpose of the furniture, to be used, “and Donald Judd said so,” Halpern told the actress.

Timing would have it that we’re currently going through renovations though, so Halpern told Soloway and other crewmembers who walked in to “excuse our construction zone.”

Soloway and company are wrapping up two weeks of filming in Marfa for a potential TV show based on the Chris Kraus novel, “I Love Dick.” The book tells the story of a protagonist, also named Chris, and her obsession with a well-known theorist named Dick.

These past few days, Marfa residents and visitors have caught glimpses of actors Kevin Bacon, starring as Dick, Hahn, who plays Chris, and Griffin Dunne, who will play Chris’ husband Sylvère, filming scenes around town and just hanging out in general. But this isn’t new to us as “Giant” was filmed here in the mid-1950s, followed by “There Will Be Blood,” “No Country For Old Men,” “Far Marfa,” “Marfa Girl,” and host of other films and advertising shoots.

I ran into Bacon twice the first day he arrived. First, he stood in front of me with Hahn and Soloway getting tacos for lunch at Salsa Puedes. I was too nervous and hungry to say hello. I crossed paths with him later that day on my way home from work. Because we say hello to everyone here, I instinctively lifted my hand and waved hello to him. He said hello back, but I immediately felt embarrassed that I said hello to a childhood icon like we’re friends or something.

Later that evening, I posted on Twitter as my quote of the day, “If I would I have know I was going to run into Kevin Bacon, I would have showered.” Typically I don’t disclose who says these quotes, and I still won’t, but I did tag Bacon. In my years of experience on Twitter, sometimes the person you tag notices and sometimes they don’t.

In this situation, Bacon noticed. He even shared it on his personal Twitter account and included that he loved it. Since then, that tweet has been shared 17 times and liked 103 times. I received texts from friends who said I was “twitter famous,” which I replied, “sure, for not showering,” because that’s every girl’s dream. The experience was a good excuse to introduce myself though. When I eventually met him at an art opening at Ballroom Marfa, I told him I was the girl who wrote that tweet, and it went from there. He still thought it was funny.

(staff photo by SARAH M. VASQUEZ) The I Love Dick crew films a street scene with local extras on North Highland Avenue.

(staff photo by SARAH M. VASQUEZ)
The I Love Dick crew films a street scene with local extras on North Highland Avenue.

Back to Friday, Soloway let us watch through the monitors the camera’s point of view as Hahn walked along Highland Avenue. There were extras across the street at the place formally known as Maiya’s, (and now called Stellina). The script called for one of them to yell a greeting at Hahn as she meandered along the sidewalk. She waves back and greeted back. That was the scene, all of 30 seconds.

Many locals were hired as extras, including former Padre’s Marfa bar manager Nick Cooper, Valentine artist Boyd Elder, Frama barista Eli Cordova, former Alpine Avalanche publisher Gwin Grimes, and Marfa ISD robotics teacher Rob Crowley.

I was going to finish up some work but the boss said that was enough excitement for one day. Soloway said, “Yeah, when is this going to happen again,” and let me hang out and take more photos.

Now when she sees me around town, she immediately says hi.

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