Last week my roommate called me on the phone and told me that The Shield, one of our favorite shows, is going to be shooting an episode on our street. In the world of The Shield, much of Silverlake, Alvarado and Rampart doubles for the crime-infested, low-rent community of Farmington. Now Vic Mackey and crew are gonna shake down our ‘hood, and we’ll only have a few days to get ready for it.
“I’m thinking of having a cookout,” my roommate said.
“We should put up a banner on the front of the house. It’ll say ‘Goggins’.” No, seriously. I actually suggested that.
“Do you think he’ll be there?” My roommate asks.
“We can only hope,” is my reply.
The Goggins in question is Alabama-born actor Walton Goggins, aka Shane Vendrell, aka Cletus Van Damme. He’s also Vic Mackey’s right hand man and our favorite character on the show for a number of indescribable reasons.
So the first day of shooting comes and I’m walking back from picking lunch up at the store and I run into the production as it arrives and proceeds to pretty much shut down our quiet little Silverlake street.
It takes me two seconds to find a couple of bored-looking teamster-looking gents to pump for information. I pop the question. Goggins. Is he coming? They were more than willing to all but hand me a copy of the call sheet, and from the looks of it Walton Goggins is in the house; Specifically, the house next to ours.
I dart inside to tell my roommate, who’s been using his iPhone to snap blurry photos of the proceedings from our kitchen window.
“He’s coming. I mean, he’s here. Next door,” I tell him.
“Oh my god.”
“We should have made the fucking banner. Or some T-shirts.”
Moments later, rehearsal is up, and it looks like there’s some action right outside our front door. We walk out to the driveway to see the Goggins running lines with fellow cast member Michael Jace on the grass in front of our house. We watch with rapt attention as they walk through their blocking with the camera operators and the director until everyone seems satisfied.
“Wait, what are they doing?” My roommate asks.
“What do you mean?” I can’t take my eyes off Goggins. I didn’t know he was so tall.
“They’re dumping trash all over the place.”
And sure enough, someone from the scenic department had grabbed a blue recycling bin from the back of one of the houses and tipped it over onto the grass in front of our house, spreading garbage across the stricken sod my kindly old landlady had laid down a few months prior in an honest attempt to make our little stretch of North Commonwealth Avenue a little bit prettier.
Now, I may not live in the best part of Silverlake, but I’m proud of where I live. Yes, the church on our street gets a fresh layer of gang tags every weekend. Yes, those creepy vans with the tinfoil in their windshields and the homeless Mexican dudes living in the back are perpetually parked up and down the street and only move twice a week to avoid getting a parking ticket. Yes, those are bars on all of the ground level windows in every home on the block.
Now everyone who sees this show is going to think that my neighborhood is dangerous, creepy, and filthy. They even took those missing posters for Solomon Templo and taped them to the light post next to our driveway, as if to say, Yeah, ’round these parts you’re gonna get kidnapped and tied to a lawn chair, too.
My roommate shrugs at the refuse strewn about the sidewalk. “At least they’re recyclables.”
I’m about to get really annoyed when Goggins and Jace return to shoot the scene, and through the magic of motion pictures we find ourselves transported to a bad area of Farmington. Detective Shane Vendrell and Officer Julien Lowe drive up to the curb in front of our apartment and walk over to the house next door. I imagine they’re about to bust down the door of a notorious crackhouse and coerce a damning confession from some smackhead prostitute, and I smile.
Like I said, I’m proud of my neighborhood.