One of my favorite parks in Seattle is Gas Works Park, located north of downtown Seattle next to Lake Union. Gas Work Park was built in 1906 to manufacture gas from coal; in the 1950’s the plant became obsolete because of natural gas. In 1975 the land was opened as a park; because of toxins in the Lake Union, wading or swimming is not allowed. This is unfortunate because the lake is beautiful.
On a partly sunny afternoon last Thursday (5-20-2010), the sun peek through the clouds, the wind was brisk and few boats ventured onto the rough waters of Lake Union. To the uninitiated, Seattle is surrounded by water, the Puget Sound to the West and south, Lake Union to the north, Lake Washington to the East. The park is unusual in the sense, it was not designed initially to be a park, the boiler house is now a picnic area; there is a beautiful grass hill that has a spectacular view of the city. When the sun sets, there is an orange hue that lights up downtown Seattle, the perfect background for a romantic comedy. Gas Works Park is one of my favorite parks on the West Coast because of the view from almost every angle. Even on a rainy day the park has a moody appearance; surreal, I think Federico Fellini could had shot a master piece film at this location; with the random objects scattered along the park, including the boiler room.
Last summer I was working on $5 Cover, when I was introduced to this park, it was sunny and warm; Seattle had just experienced a record heat wave. Lake Union was crowded with sailboats of every size. We were shooting one of the bands on the shore, the sun was setting, the director could not ask for better light.
On this shoot we were filming a music video for the Seattle Sounders, it was festive, like a soccer game. There were over a hundred extras, including the Sounders marching band. An intoxicated bystander, an attractive young lady, decided to disrobe in front of the camera, that was not planned and it provided a great story, the “lady” did not make the final cut; this is a family friendly music video that will run during games, her appearance was not family friendly. We shot in the wee hours of the morning, at 2:30 am; the video was finished.
At four in the morning it was time to head back to Los Angeles; I had twenty-four hours to make it back. I enlisted the help of one of the best motor home drivers in Los Angeles, Fred Masino. I was up all night, so Fred drove the first leg of the trip, I set up the bed, but soon I realized I was too wired to go to sleep. I set the GPS to Jubitz Truck Stop in Portland; I would fuel up the motor home and get some breakfast. In Ashland, Oregon it started to snow, but not like my last trip back home in early March in which I was almost forced to chain up and endure forty miles of driving snow. This time, the snow stops before we got to the California border. At 2:30 in the morning we made it back to Los Angeles, I would get three hours of sleep before I was due to start my next job. Note to myself; don’t do this again, learn to say "no".