Monthly Archives: March 2017

We Are Extras in a Puerto Rican Sci-Fi Movie!

Posted by Cassie

Life is so fun and random if you let it take you down the strange twists and turns the river has in store for you. The fame and fortune just doesn’t stop around here (haha)! I really enjoy all things art and “Hollywood” from music to modeling to acting to directing to making videos, whatever! So when I heard that a film was looking for people, I immediately sent in my info and a couple of photos. A month later I still hadn’t heard anything.

Cassie Britton movie
As extras in a Puerto Rican Sci-Fi movie!

Then on a Sunday I was sent a message asking if I was available to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. I said yes, but please send the info (where, when, etc) as soon as possible. I didn’t get any info until Monday night at about 7pm and found out that it was in Carolina (San Juan area) and I would need to be there at 6am (less than 11 hours from then) and bring a specific wardrobe. I felt like I was on my own mission impossible movie.

I nearly cancelled because I told my contact that I didn’t think I could make the trip back and forth 2 days in a row driving from Rincón 3 hours away. She mentioned that I would get paid $100/day and I said that I would be driving with Britton. She then offered Britton to come along also as an extra as long as they liked his pictures in order to help cover the costs of us staying in a hotel in San Juan. Though Britton didn’t have the specific wardrobe, we thought we would give it a shot. It was also very hard to have to wake up at 2am and drive somewhere we’d never been.

Dining area. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided to all involved including extras

When we finally arrived and found our way to the office-building/warehouse turned studio, we were ushered into the dining area where we filled out our paperwork including our Puerto Rican drivers’ licenses that were required to work. Then we headed to wardrobe where it turned out it didn’t really matter what clothes we brought because they ended up switching us out of them multiple times.

At the Wardrobe trailer

Cassie movie trailer small
My costume for the film: a “gatekeeper” between alternative realities

Britton Prisoner
Britton’s first costume was as prisoner, then they changed their mind and made him maintenance man gatekeeper

The majority of the day was spent waiting with the rest of the extras in a room they called “holding.” It was pretty cool getting to know all the different characters. There was one woman from Italy who was also an opera singer. There was a guy who did promotions dressed as Captain Morgan. There was a guy who had written and directed his own films. There were college students and retired people. And nearly all spoke primarily in Spanish which was a challenge for Britton especially when he and I were separated. He had to use his favorite phrase when asked if he knew Spanish: Estoy aprendiendo (I’m learning). And he certainly keeps learning with immersion experiences like these.

Holding room
Extras in “holding”

The director definitely has some pull when it comes to extras as he could put us in roles that were more or less in the front of the frame. Britton mostly was in the background moving ladders and fixing flux capacitors. I was an office worker and wandered around the incident command center and down hallways with my prop tablet. Some extras actually got seats in the command center or talked (silently in the background) with the “jefe.” We had to do multiple cuts of the same thing. There were lots of calls to return to “primera posición,” “corre cámara” and “¡silencio!”

Cassie on set small
Just off the command center preparing to walk on set

Bruno and Cassie
Me and the director, Bruno Irizarry, who has been involved in movies such as The Rum Diary and 200 Cartas

When the first day finished up around 7pm, we asked some of the crew where we could find a hotel nearby. We didn’t want to spend much and we didn’t want to drive to Isla Verde or Condado since we weren’t making much and we had to be up and back at the studio by 5:30am the next morning. We were so tired after only getting about 3 hours of sleep the night before and working for 12 hours that we just wanted something upon which to lay our weary heads.

They suggested a place just down the road. And we found it easily. It had big red kissy lips on the sign and was down a long private drive lined with palm trees. But when we tried to check in at about 8pm we were told it was only for 8 hours at a time and that there was only very basic amenities. We thought that was a little odd, but went and ate dinner and returned around 9:30pm. It was very cheap at $30 for 8 hours which included tax, but when we entered and closed the garage door behind us, we felt like we stepped into a different movie: Grand Theft Auto perhaps?

Cassie Swing
Our room came complete with sex swing and instructions on the wall as well as a stripper pole

There was a sex swing, a stripper pole, purple and pink lights, a mirror above the bed, about 5 channels of porn and a kitchen squirt gun in the bathroom that I presume acts as a bidet. There was a lot of noise all throughout the night with people coming and going and listening to loud music, but the room at least was clean and I was so tired I slept through most of it. I think we were in fact the only couple not using this motel for what it was intended! These sex motels are apparently a very common thing here in Puerto Rico, and something that doesn’t exist in Colorado (at least not that I know of?)!

Sitting and waiting

None-the-less we got through the night for cheap and headed back to the studio for another looong day of mostly waiting around for them to call us. There is only so much you can do while waiting, especially if you don’t have a smart phone. So I doodled and did yoga and we wandered around a little bit until we would get in trouble and herded back to holding.

Still waiting
Still waiting…

Cassie other set
Another part of the building was used for another sci-fi movie

Cassie Stephanie
Having fun and making eyes with new friend, Estefanie

Overall it was a great experience and we made some wonderful new friends! I would definitely be an extra in a movie again, but maybe a little closer to the west coast. Keep your ears perked for a new science fiction movie called “23 Horas” and you just might spot us in the background.

Group extra Group extras with BK
With some co-extras and new friends

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Birthday Bubble Bash!

Posted by Cassie


Our new “career” in the limelight continues to grow and I love it. I have always been a ham ever since I was a kid (just ask my mom) and having the time and energy to really cultivate a creative expression has been one facet of our new life that I didn’t exactly expect, but hope continues.

RC Black and White

Recently we’ve had some great shows with our band including a Birthday Bubble Bash complete with a cake to dance inside, bubbles, real cake, balloons and lots of fun to celebrate our guitar player’s birthday. His nickname is Shampoo, so the bubbles were a special touch just for him.

Mark Happy Birthday
Happy birthday Shampoo!

One of our new songs to the set list was “These Boots are Made for Walking” by Nancy Sinatra, so I channeled her in my look. It is so fun to dress up. Around here (in Aguada specifically) there are all sorts of stores that carry the weirdest, most awesome clothes (costumes)! It took me some time to find the boots, however! In Puerto Rico, not many people wear full size boots to the knees (for good reason in this heat). I searched all over and finally found a pair in the children’s section of Shoe Carnival. Good thing I have small feet! :-)

Cassie body crop
These boots are made for dancing!

Cake Making Cassie Sandra
Behind the scenes: Making of the cake!

We also stopped by Rafucci Gas for a huge cardboard box to make the dancing cake and spent the morning of the show hanging out in the Harbor area with friends making the funny thing.

Cake with Lydia and Sandra
With the cake at the show!

The show was a success! It’s so much more exciting to play for a crowd of dancing people than for just a handful of people, or disinterested people. Remember that if you go out to see live music! You are part of the success of the show! Audience engagement and support makes all the difference: the band plays harder, better, longer and it’s just plain more fun! And really, that’s what it should be about. We are the vibe magicians, and our vibe is fun! So if you’re out dancing, clapping, and moving, we feel it and the vibe amplifies!

RC crew  Willies dancing
What a fun night (thanks to Daisy for these pics)

Our next show is tomorrow night again at WIllie’s Bar and Grill with the theme of Flower Power! Just wait till you see my outfit for that one! If you’re in town, come out and dance! It’ll be groovy, man, especially if you come dressed as a hippie! ;-)


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Delicious Puerto Rican Piñon aka Pastelon

Posted by Cassie


It has been so nice having a full-sized kitchen to cook in. I have been taking advantage of having an oven as much as possible. One of the things I wanted to try was piñon also known as pastelon for some time now. It is basically a Puerto Rican version of lasagna that uses ripe plantains in place of the lasagna noodles. I have had it before at some traditional comida criolla (Puerto Rican cuisine) places, so I had something of an idea what it would be like. I gave it a whirl and it turned out really good! It is sort of strange to have a slightly sweet flavor along with all the traditional Italian seasonings you would use in lasagna.

Here’s a video on how I made piñon. It is probably not exactly how you would do it if you were Puerto Rican, but it is my gringo-fied version. Haha.

¡Buen Provecho!

Pinon 2

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Making Friends in a Transitory Town

Posted by Cassie

It is often hard to make new friends anywhere you might move, but for people from the states without many ties it can be even harder. However, it is important to establish a social network that you can rely on during life’s ups and downs especially as a stranger in a strange land.

Coming from a working class city in the middle of Colorado (Greeley), both Britton and I never experienced much in transitory populations coming into our town. If people moved it was just to a nearby town maybe 5-10 miles away. No one really came there for vacations. It was not a tourist destination. The only transitory population was that of the university and even there, many of the students came from other places in Colorado. Because of this, when we made friends we would often know them and see them (for better or worse) indefinitely.

Ashley night out
We’ve met some great friends along the way, but many are no longer here (at a going away party a while ago)

Coming to Puerto Rico, and specifically Rincón has caused a shift in perspective on friendships. I suppose looking back now, we were naïve when a long-timer asked us, “So how long do you think you’ll last?” and we answered, “Forever, hopefully!” What we had missed in that short exchange was that this guy who has lived here for over 20-30 years has seen many people with long-term intentions stay for pretty short times. We also started to get what we call the “friend interview.” Things like: So how long have you been here? Did you buy a place? What are you doing for money? All of these were to filter out tourists and very short term people.

Everyone’s path is different and this just happens to be one of those places where people love to get away and think they could live forever but end up oftentimes finding that they want to get back to some of the familiarity of wherever they left. We have seen many people leave and lost many friends due to them moving for better job opportunities, going back to school, having a baby on the way, getting divorced, more or less getting chased out of town, having health problems, having family issues, or they find just don’t like living here and so on. We have been to so many going-away parties in the last 3-4 years (and become the new owners of the stuff that gets left behind) that it gets a little hard to know where to put your time.

Car Club
We are thinking of joining a car club to find friends with similar interests like cruising the coast on Sundays

We have found that we at first subconsciously and then slowly consciously started our own “friend interview” with people we meet here. This is not because we don’t want to meet new people, on the contrary, I learn something from every encounter. But developing a deep friendship or relationship with someone, in my experience, takes a lot of time and commitment. Once you have made the commitment if they were to suddenly leave, there is also a deeper loss. So for a friendship that is anything more than just “acquaintances” people become categorized by their likelihood of sticking around in our lives. In making this list, please don’t take it that any of these are better than anyone else, but just a guide for long-term friendships in a transitory town. In fact, we have at one point in time or another been pretty much all of these. Some “long-timers” have stricter criteria and won’t talk to anyone who hasn’t lived here at least 2 years. We’re not that exclusive and there’s always exceptions.

Here are the categories and benefits to each. Some people fit into multiple categories.

Tourist: A person you don’t already know who is just visiting. There is not much chance of a long-term friendship, but they can often have very interesting stories and it’s always refreshing to see the island from their new perspective.

Tourist with plans: This more than likely will pan out to be another tourist visiting, but they may mention that they want to buy property or they are going to move here soon. There is a slightly higher chance of a long-term friendship, but still pretty unlikely.

On a Wing and a Prayer: These people made it here, but just barely. They saved up maybe $1000, got on the plane and said, “We’ll figure it out when we get there.” These people are often very interesting as they probably have had this tendency throughout their lives to go out and try new things. I love meeting them and they often have really cool talents. They, unfortunately, will probably not make it past one tourist season though. When the money dries out and the rains come in the summer, they are often gone.

Hustlers: The Wing and a Prayer people who made it through the first season. They found their niche. They made the connections and did the hard work to make enough money to stay. Many transplant people are hustlers in Rincón. The drawback to the hustlers is that they are always busting their butt to make money, so they don’t have much time for just chilling out with friends.

Long-term renters: These folks are probably also hustlers, but now they can finally settle down into a place that feels more like home. With a long-term lease, they are more likely to stick around at least until the end of the lease. Most people rent in Rincón because it is so cheap. The drawback to a deep friendship is that if they are renters, they can also just up and move if they want.

Snowbirds: These people generally come from up north and like to spend the winters or part of the winter in Puerto Rico to escape the cold weather. A deep friendship is much more likely if the snowbirds also happen to own property.

Seasonal: Basically the younger, broker version of snowbirds who come down every year for the season for work and partying, but will go back north in the summer. They more than likely do not own anything that would tie them here long-term.

People who own property: People who have bought real estate here are basically saying “We are committed and have the resources to stay!” These are very good candidates for long-term friendships. Some people own property, but rarely visit. They are still good to know and often have great parties, but since they are just not here you can’t just meet up and hang out on the spur of the moment.

Long-timers/Year-rounders: How long a person has been here will give you something of an indication of how they have weathered the storms both literal and figurative of island life. It is not always easy to live here. The long-timers know this and they will be the first ones to try to categorize you in order to know the likelihood of running into you again. These people also often have great stories and histories. There is a high chance of developing a friendship with these people as long as you are also worthy of investing the time.

Boricua/Family ties: The best chance of knowing someone long-term and building a deep friendship is to meet someone born and raised here. They are generally immune to the whims of the tourism economics and have a lot of resources, most notably their family, to help them stay. They are comfortable living here since that is what they have always known. They are great candidates for long term friendships, though they are often even more leery of letting an “outsider” in to their inner circle. Like all friendships, it helps to have a common cause (work/hobby/kids) and, especially in this case, to speak Spanish.

Some friends at a beach party

I am not sure I will every feel the same amount of security and familiarity as I had in Colorado, but having a good group of friends definitely helps.

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