Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What's Blake Berris From "Days of Our Lives" Doing in Buenos Aires?!

There's nothing I hate doing in Buenos Aires more than I despise venturing downtown. Why leave leafy, leisurely Palermo to head to that Godforsaken concrete jungle where the broken sidewalks are way too skinny to accommodate the throngs of people crowding it? Luckily for me, in the five weeks since I returned to town, I've only had to go down once. 

This afternoon, though, duty called again, and as I stood in the Subte, squished between the subway door and a car full of stoic porteños, from the green line's Plaza Italia stop all the way to 9 de Julio, I was silently cursing the day I came back to BA. I had to sign important documents for the sale of my apartment in the office of the escribiano (fancy Spanish for "notary public"), so I figured that while I was begrudgingly making the journey, I might as well make it about more than just the escribiano and take some more photos for the Bangkok Post piece on Buenos Aires that I turned in this morning.

As I was setting up my umpteenth shot of El Obelisco, this one on the corner of Avenida Corrientes and 9 de Julio, I noticed something strange yet familiar in the lower right corner of the frame.

Could it be? No, it couldn't be? But I'd recognize those sleepy eyes and pouty, bee-stung lips anywhere. It was Nick Fallon!

Had I stepped out of my downtown nightmare -- complete with overpopulated sidewalks, noisy traffic and sinus-clogging urban fumes -- and onto the Days of Our Lives set? I'd literally just finished watching Monday's episode on YouTube, and when I last saw the homophobic genius ex-con, he was tied up in a dingy cabin on Smith Island, trying to talk down a gun-toting madman.

Then I snapped back to reality.

"Are you Blake Berris?" I asked after approaching the familiar face in the frame. 

He seemed as surprised to be asked it as I was to be asking it, his face lighting up the way tourists' often do when they unexpectedly encounter a fellow traveler who speaks their language. 

"I never would have expected anyone to recognize me here," he said to both his female friend and to me, smiling invitingly.

Since I'd just finished watching him on YouTube, his face was fresh in my head, but I didn't tell him that because in that same head, they sounded like the words of a creepy stalker, not unlike Vargas, the ex-con who seems to follow Nick Fallon everywhere these days. 

The truth, which I didn't bother to share with Blake either, was that even if he hadn't been on a U.S. daytime soap, or if I didn't watch that soap five days a week, I wouldn't have missed him. He's taller than he appears on TV, and more muscular, too. His sharp, angular features, which are so pronounced on YouTube, seemed softer, even more handsome in person.

He told me he'd just arrived yesterday from Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he was for the Fantaspoa International Fantastic Film Festival, which was screening his movie House of Last Things, and he decided that since he was already in South America, he might as well check out Buenos Aires for the first time. So far, so great.

I had a ton of questions I wanted to ask (like was it in the script for Nick to wag his finger when he called Sonny "fancy pants loverboy" last week), but I couldn't think of any of them because I was flustered in the way I get when I'm suddenly standing on a busy intersection, talking to a long-lost acquaintance, somebody famous, or a good-looking guy. So I asked the dumbest one that popped into my head: 

"Any scoop on what to expect on Days?" 

I felt like I was back at Entertainment Weekly, using words like "scoop" and dying for the workday to be over so that I could go home and get back to the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest.

He wouldn't share any juicy spoilers other than that things are about to get very intense this week and, inadvertently, this little nugget, which will be good news to Blake fans but perhaps not to those who hate his alter ego: Nick isn't going anywhere soon. Days tapes three months ahead, and Black is due back on the set next week.

After a little more conversation, we parted ways. He told me to look him up on Facebook; I told him to enjoy his time in BA. And while he's at it, he'd better make sure that bastard Nick Fallon stays in line, too. I'll be watching.

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