WGA Strike Day 16 Hollywood Blvd. Rally
Tuesday, Nov. 20, was day 16 of the WGA strike and thousands of WGA writers, producer/showrunners, and SAG actors showed up to march down Hollywood Blvd. in support of the ongoing walkout. Also there to lend some muscle was the Teamsters Union, who parked three enormous rigs on Hollywood Blvd.
It seems that lots of folk are jumping on the bandwagon (there was an actual band wagon, where Alicia Keys performed two songs) to support the striking writers. I even saw a small contingency of nurses, who arrived with their union signs and joined the march. Lending culinary support were members of CAA who walked around with mountainous trays of scrumptious scones and provided hot cider.
So, who are my mystery people on phones and why was JS at the rally? I was invited to join entertainment professional Philippa Burgess, of Creative Convergence, pictured in the above left photo with the showrunner/executive producer of “Lost” Carlton Cuse. Philippa and her partners were conducting a live teleconference with over 100 emerging writers around the country, letting them experience the strike first hand. Philippa and I marched with the strikers and lent our support while we asked anyone we recognized within range to give the teleconference writers some words of advice and/or encouragement and answer the big question of the day “how can these writers who live far away support the strike?”
Besides Mr. Cuse, also joining the teleconference were Ray Romano (pictured above with yours truly) and, on the right, Jonathan Lisco, showrunner/executive producer of the new TV show “K-Ville“. In addition, speaking to the cell conference was a showrunner from the Disney Channel and the very gracious and lovely Debra Messing.
Talk about a moveable feast! Or was that a moveable feat? While marching with thousands of people shouting strike slogans, and the ever present choppers above, we could barely hear each other speak, yet somehow these notables managed to keep pace with the crowds and talk on the cell phone to the writers around the country. My hats off to them for a) being troupers and showing up for the strike with no fanfare or self-agrandizing and b) lending their impromptu support to strangers on a phone thousands of miles away.
The rally ended two hours later at Grauman’s Chinese Theater with some rousing speeches by the WGA and Teamsters reps and a heartfelt talk by Sandra Oh. All left feeling well supported and pumped, and hoping for a happy Hollywood ending. Soon.