A Hawaiian shirt signed by not only Daniel Radcliffe but also Weird Al Yankovic. An hour-long dog walk from Adam Scott. And a pottery class with Busy Phillips. These are just some of the peculiar, celebrity-filled experiences that are currently being auctioned off to aid crew members during the Hollywood strikes.
Organized by The Union Solidarity Coalition (TUSC), proceeds from the auction, which is being held on eBay and will end on September 22, will offer financial support for crew members who have lost health insurance due to the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. “Though the strike is the catalyst for creating TUSC, we feel this is just the beginning of a larger, urgent movement of solidarity between all of the industry unions, and also our coworkers who aren’t part of a union,” said the organization in a letter to crew members.
With more than 50 listings, the bizarre nature of many of the sale’s lots has not only inspired headlines and memes but also a significant amount of bidding. The entire sale has already attracted more than $130,000 in bids, with more popular lots attracting five-figure offers. From a fedora worn by Tom Waits to a personalized mural painted by Lena Dunham, here are some of the auction’s most sought-after experiences.
Dinner with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross
Leading the auction with a bid of $11,000 is an opportunity to dine with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, creators of the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show. The two comedians, who are also known for their respective roles in shows like Better Call Saul and Arrested Development, are “real-life besties,” according to the listing.
The lucky winner will attend dinner with the actors in either New York or Los Angeles. If they’re unable to travel, the meal will take place over Zoom with restaurant delivery. According to the lot, a background check for the winner may also be required. Cross promoted the offer on Twitter, noting that “if you’ve never seen me feed Bob, you’re in for a treat!”
A personalized song from the cast of Bob’s Burgers
The second-place lot has the cast of Bob’s Burgers, an animated show that occasionally features musical numbers, singing the winning bidder a song written specifically for them. A $7,300 bid is currently leading the lot.
In addition to a custom video, which will depict an improvised song from the show’s characters Bob, Linda, Tina, Gene, Louise and Teddy, the winner will also receive a SAG-AFTRA Strike sign hand-drawn by Bob’s Burgers animator Simon Chong. The poster, which will include the show’s characters and a special message, is in “very good” condition, according to the listing.
A fedora owned by Tom Waits
For $6,920, fans of singer-songwriter Tom Waits can get their hands on one of his fedoras. Previously worn and signed by Waits, the hat is one from his personal collection and will come with a letter of authenticity from TUSC.
“Filmmaking is a collaborative act of adventure and faith. It’s a shiny vehicle that runs on the engine and wheels and durability of fellow foolhardy souls,” reads an Instagram post from Waits. “Labor Unions’ role is to remind us that we are family and family looks out for one another.”
Crossword puzzle help from Natasha Lyonne
One of the quirkier experiences in the TUSC auction is a brief Zoom call with Natasha Lyonne during which she will help the winner solve a New York Times crossword puzzle. With a current bid of $6,100, the “fifteen-minute existential conversation with Natasha Lyonne and her dog Rootbeer while doing the Wednesday NYT crossword puzzle” includes the opportunity to photograph the session—but no recordings are allowed.
While the offer may seem unusual coming from the Orange is the New Black actress, Lyonne has previously expressed her admiration for crossword puzzles and in 2019, helped create one for the New York Times. “I feel a deep transparency about how true my love of the puzzle is,” she told the publication at the time. “It’s a great joy in my life.”
A Zoom hang with the cast of New Girl
Currently at $5,300 is another Zoom call, this time with the cast of New Girl, a sitcom that ended its run in 2018. For 15 minutes, the winning bidder can chat with Zooey Deschanel, Lamorne Morris, Hannah Simone, Max Greenfield, Zoe Lister-Jones and Jake Johnson and ask the cast “(almost) anything.” As is the case with most of TUSC’s lots, the experience is only available for U.S. bidders.
Story advice from Lena Dunham and Spike Jonze
Aspiring screenwriters looking for writing advice can win a “virtual story basics session” with directors Spike Jonze and Lena Dunham, the latter of whom is a founding member of TUSC. Currently going for $5,100, the 30-minute Zoom session will include discussions on “creating character and plot, throwing all the rules away and being messy.”
The winner can invite two friends and is allowed to record the session, although the listing requests that the winner ask “no questions about personal lives.” Unlike most of the auction lots, which expire 12 months after the sale ends, this experience has no expiration date.
A hand-painted mural by Lena Dunham
In a second listing, Dunham is offering to paint a mural at the home of a winning bidder living in either New York, Los Angeles or London. Currently at $5,100, the winner should plan for the painting to take up to five hours.
“Lena will spend an afternoon rendering a custom mural—you give her a subject and some coffee, and she will be on a stool with her eyes squinted for hours, creating something you will enjoy having for years and years or until you move!” reads the listing, which describes Dunham’s mural subject matter as “stuff 6-year-olds talk about.” Photos accompanying the lot show other murals created by the writer, which include a castle surrounded by rainbows, mermaids and cacti.
A personalized dog portrait from John Lithgow
Don’t despair if you miss out on Dunham’s painting—actor John Lithgow, from Dexter, 3rd Rock from the Sun and the Crown, is also offering his artistic talents. “Oscar and Emmy-winning actor John Lithgow has a list of accomplishments and honors longer than we have space to list, but perhaps his crowning achievements are his watercolors of people’s dogs,” reads the listing, which consists of one personalized portrait of the winning bidder’s dog.
Currently at $4,450, Lithgow’s offer will require the final bidder to submit four to five images of their pet. As noted in the sale description, the painting may take up to one year to complete.
Brit Marling’s wolf sweatshirt
Fans of the Netflix mystery series The OA can also bid on a sweatshirt worn by actress Brit Marling in the show (current bid: $4,200). The faded hoodie depicting a large wolf is described as “cult-iconic” in the listing and will be accompanied by a handwritten note from Marling and a letter of authenticity from TUSC.
Marling referred to the item as her “favorite The OA costume” in a tweet promoting the auction. “Help us protect the art of storytelling and each other,” added the actress.
Lunch with Ann Dowd
Meanwhile, those looking for an introspective dining experience can bid on a chance to lunch with Emmy-winning actress Ann Dowd, whose lot currently has a leading bid of $4,050. “This is an invaluable chance for a lucky bidder to sit down with her and absorb the warm wisdom of her decades of experience,” according to the listing, which notes that Dowd was a pre-med student before she pursued acting.
The actress, who portrayed Aunt Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale and stars in the upcoming horror film The Exorcist: Believer, will dine either in New York City or via Zoom. Bidders must be 18 years or older to qualify for the lunch date offer, which expires one year from the auction’s end date.