Yelling 'Fire' in a Crowded Borough

My buddy Neil has been journaling the progress through his movie. Yesterday his shoot was interrupted by a fire:

Before anything could ignite between the actors, however, the air began to fill with the sounds of fire trucks arriving. Crew members lingering out in the yard rushed inside to inform us that a home several houses down the block had caught fire. I was loathe to stop rehearsal because we were already running late and had plenty of work to do. It's New York--Brooklyn, no less. One hears sirens all the time. But I went outside to look. 

Flames leapt into the sky just a few houses away. Red and white engines clogged the corner near us. Firemen with axes and tools jumped out and raced past where a dozen of us filmmakers stood gawking. A woman creeped out onto her front stoop in slippers and a bathrobe to ask us what was going on. My sound man and his assistant began eyeing their equipment nervously. Even the big, scary dog next door stopped barking long enough to look worried. Back inside, our set was filled with smoke. Another crew member panicked.

The old Superfriends/Legion of Doom fan in me wants to make to joke. But I'll decline. Somehow, the day before, Neil also managed to get kicked out of a bar and picked up a bit of slang:

I picked up a bit of movie-making slang. Apparently, to "Hollywood" something means to pick it up with your own hands, as in, "Hey, Sal. Can you Hollywood that bounce board for me?" I suspect the term's use is limited. A phrase like "I'm going to Hollywood one of these chicken wings from the craft service table" probably isn't quite right.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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