“And when the girls start kissing each other, you take their picture…”

Now THAT headline ought to get some blog hits.  🙂

But unlike others who use salacious blog headlines to drum up traffic, the headline actually happened to me.


It’s February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, and I’m already in a bitter mood.  The only person who got me anything for Valentine’s Day was my dental practice, Mohler and Choo, D.D.S. – who gave me a reminder that I had a cleaning scheduled for that day with their dental technician, Miss Colgate – and afterwards, I was allowed to take some free toothpaste and dental floss samples home in a commemorative “Pearls Before Swine” carrying tote.

So it’s Tuesday afternoon, and my cell phone starts ringing.

I wasn’t expecting any calls.  I check the Caller ID.

It’s a call from Daniela Malave.

I remembered Daniela; she was one of the Albany Patroons’ “Emeralds” dance team.  Note to all of you – I’ve covered professional minor league basketball for years, and the Emeralds were truly the most photogenic dance team of them all.  On a scale of 1-10, there wasn’t a girl on that team that was less than an 8.5.

The last time I saw Daniela, it was 2009 and we were both trapped in a warehouse with about 200 other “car extras” as part of the film Salt.  Today, Daniela lives in New York and is working as an actress and director.  She’s currently involved in a pilot for a proposed new web series, Bottle Service (I don’t think it has anything to do with recycling), and she’s calling me now.

Jeez, I’m doing all this exposition, maybe I should pick up the phone and say hi to her.  Don’tcha think?

We talked, and Daniela asked if I could do her a favor.  She’s working on the Bottle Service pilot, and one of the scenes will be filmed in Saratoga Springs.  In the scene, she needs someone to play a paparazzi photographer, someone who surreptitiously takes a photograph of two club girls in liplock.

This is not an April Fool’s Day joke.

Daniela remembered when I took pictures for the Patroons, and that I always got fantastic shots of the Emeralds during their dance routines, even back when I had my older, slower Nikon D70.  And now she’s working on a pilot for a new television series – and she offered me a chance to be in the show!

Again, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke.

Call time is noon at a bar in Saratoga Springs.  I went through my equipment – D700 at the ready, and since I have to look like a paparazzi, I went with my 80-200 f/2.8 telephoto “long lens,” which I’ve nicknamed the “Prince.”  Quick anecdote about the Prince – I purchased the lens on eBay in 2006, it was the first non-kit lens I ever owned, and the first one that had an f-stop above 3.5.  I got it dirt cheap – the previous owner removed the rubber grip around the lens barrel and wrapped the barrel with tennis racquet leather.  Which means I possess the only Nikon camera lens endorsed by Prince.

But back to our story.

Last Sunday, I drove up to Saratoga Springs, tried to find parking (there was some major dance event in the area and all the available nearby parking spots were filled), and went into the Mare restaurant, where Bottle Service was to be filmed.

Immediately I was greeted by Tabitha the Production Director, Kevin Craig West the creator / producer, Juan Luis Lopez Fons the director, Lauren Kraus the cinematographer, and a host of actors and actresses.  I immediately learned that Bottle Service is a web series based around a fictional New York City club, “Club It,” and the goings-on at and outside the club.   Times Union writer Bob Gardinier previously wrote an article about Bottle Service; you can access it here.

And I need to tell you, there wasn’t a sour person in that building.  Everyone was friendly and accommodating and totally welcoming.  In a matter of hours, I went from one tiny scene to appearing in three scenes, which was very exciting for me.  No speaking roles – but I play a hired photographer in each scene.  Nah, I don’t mind being typecast.

And at around 9:00 p.m., the scene I was originally hired for was filmed.  I can’t really reveal much about what was filmed at that moment, but suffice it to say that yes indeed two women did kiss – and my character caught the picture, which will later appear in a tabloid newspaper as part of a scandal that may or may not rock Club It to its foundation.

In fact, I’m going back there today to film one more scene.  How way cool is that?

You know what – after all the trials and trauma – including those that were self-inflicted – I needed something like this to go right in my life.  I really did.

If you want to find out more about Bottle Service, you should “friend” the Club It page on Facebook, or wait until the website (http://www.bottleservicetheseries.com) goes live.