Sin City Day 8 – The Petit Lady Next Door

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Audrey in the monitor – in the scene, Adeline has been left alone in the hotel room by her mother, who is gambling into the wee hours.

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Audrey wanted her hair down, but the director want her hair braided to make her look younger.

Today, we shot in the hotel where Audrey and I are staying.  The production rented three rooms near each other — one for filming, one for craft service and holding and one for equipment and prop storage.  The crew went in and out of the three rooms, carrying heavy equipments and talking to each other.  A petit young blond lady came out of the room next to craft service and asked if we could be quieter.  The producer apologized to her and promised to be more considerate. 

My scene was finished by 5pm and I waited in the craft service room in case Audrey needed me for anything.  That was when I first heard the eruption of the fight — extremely vicious, machine gun style shouting from the petit lady next door.  Her passionate high voice went on with so much intensity and velocity that it sounded like a wonderfully delivered stage monologue. Once in a while, I heard a low male voice protesting or placating, but he was inevitably drowned out by her shouting.  A few of the crew and I began to wonder what they were fighting about.  The fact that it was in a foreign language only intensified our curiosity.  We couldn’t believe that such a voice could have come from that petit woman (by now we no longer referred to her as a “lady.”)

Our DP Julian, who is from Peru, came in to get water and said, “Oh, they are from Argentina.”  Then our make-up artist JQ, who is Mexican, began to translate what she could understand for us.  It sounded like that the man lost a lot of money — thousands and thousands of dollars.  By now there was the sound of body shoveling and falling mixed in with the shouting.  We were all holding our breath for the gun shot sound that might come next.

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Then, as suddenly as it began, the fight stopped.  I wondered if one of them was dead.  After an interval of about 30 minutes, I heard the man and the woman talking again and felt somehow relieved that they were alive.  The talking quickly escalated into a second round of ferocious yelling from the petit woman.  Long paragraphs, long sentences.  How did she find so many words when she was this mad? 

After two intervals and three rounds of screaming, there came noises of struggle.  Just when I was imagining slow strangulation, someone from the crew came into the craft service room and whispered in excitement, “He is outside!”  A few of us went out to the corridor pretending to go to the set and saw a docile man in a dress shirt and vest trying to pry the door open while the petit woman gave the door one last shove.  And he was locked out.  The man waited there for about half a minute with all of us feigning nonchalance around him.  Then he gave up and walked away.

I am guilty of being heartless, but that was our Friday evening entertainment in the craft service room.  As the song goes – that’s what you get for waking up in Vegas.

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Aromatic Beef Curry

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When I knocked on Audrey’s door this morning, I heard a strangely low and gravelly voice, “Who is it?” “It’s mommy,” I was taken aback for a moment, thinking I lost her to the evil spirit of the hellish hotel.  She opened the door and whispered, “I had to do this.  Last night two different drunken guys knocked on my door.  Or maybe it was the same drunken guy who came twice.  I couldn’t sleep after that.”

So, we both needed some caffeine before the rehearsal.  I tried to order an Uber to go to Starbucks, but was surprised to find out that there was no Uber service in Las Vegas.  After our morning coffee, Audrey and I rehearsed one of the most important scenes in the film, where Adeline finds out that her father is leaving her and her mother. In the script, Adeline goes through a wide range of emotions in the scene— from desperation to anger to sadness to hopelessness.  Audrey did a really good job, especially considering how inexperienced she is at acting.  We both felt more confident about doing this job together after the rehearsal.

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The highlight of the day was when Audrey got her per diem and treated us to cirque du soleil’s Mystére in Treasure Island. The buoyant energy of the show was exactly what we needed after a restless night in that dreadful place.  I enjoyed the occasional gasps let out by Audrey almost as much as I did the incredible feats executed by the performers, who often seemed to defy gravity.

As promised yesterday, here is the recipe for the beef curry.  This is part of the care package for Peter when I’m here.

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Aromatic Beef Curry

Ingredients:

1 pound beef shank, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 pound beef tendon, cut into 1 inch sections (You can use all beef shank if tendon is not your thing.)

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon yellow curry paste

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares

4 carrots, cut into 1 inch sections

3 stocks lemongrass, tender middle part only, sliced diagonally

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon minced ginger

4 slices of peeled ginger

1 large potato, cubed

1 onion, chopped

1/2 can coconut milk (or the whole can if you don’t worry about the fat content in the coconut milk)

1/4 cup cooking wine

4 boiled eggs, peeled (optional)

Salt to taste

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Preparation:

Wash and cut meat and tendon.  Boil a large pot of water and poach the beef and tendon for about 3 to 4 minutes.  Pour out and water and rinse the beef and the tendon.

Using the same pot, boil the beef and tendon with the 4 slices of ginger, the 1/4 cooking wine and enough water to submerge the meet for 2 hours. 

Heat up a wok with 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Sauté onion, garlic, ginger, lemongrass and 1 tablespoon curry paste until aromatic. Add carrots, potato, coconut milk and broth.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Pour the content from wok to the pot of beef and tendon.  Add the boiled eggs.  Cover the lid and cook for another hour.  Add green bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes.  Serve with rice.