If you’re still hanging on to your X (formerly Twitter) account, you already know that the platform’s viral hit of the week — besides memes about Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher restarting production on their TV shows — is an EBay auction.
The online bidding behemoth is the place to be on the internet right now thanks to a benefit put on by the Union Solidarity Coalition, founded earlier this year to support crew members who’ve lost health insurance during the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
The event, whose net proceeds will go to the organization’s crew healthcare fund, features some unique celebrity experiences — Natasha Lyonne helping you solve the New York Times’ crossword puzzle; Lena Dunham painting a mural in your home — which has inspired plenty of jokes about what fans would really shell out for. (One fake item depicted on social media priced details about the Archie Panjabi/Julianna Margulies feud at nearly $10 million — a bargain to any deep-pocketed “Good Wife” stan.)
And, of course, it has also inspired envy among those of us at The Times who cover culture and probably can’t justify a $3,250 Zoom on the ol’ expense account. So we decided to live vicariously through our writing and selected our most coveted items from the auction instead.
Collection of autographed celebrity children’s books ($420)
A collection of autographed children’s books may seem useless for an adult in her late 20s (who probably won’t be able to afford to have kids in this economy). But my therapist often uses the term “healing the inner child” and I’m sure these books fall under that monthly budget. “24 Minutes to Bedtime”! Maybe these stories will finally stop my endless doom-scrolling on TikTok. Although I do secretly wish that the great and gorgeous Channing Tatum would read me “The One and Only Sparkella.” And that Daniel Kwan and I could go for a walk as he reveals the secrets of how to be everything, everywhere, all at once. —Helen Li
Signed script of ‘The Flash’ and 100th episode crew-only metal lunchbox ($620)
“The Flash” was criminally underrated, and I may be one of the few who watched through until the end. The banter, the villain reveals and the Arrowverse of it all kept the show afloat for nine seasons. In the 100th episode, the Grant Gustin-led crew took a nostalgic walk back through highlights of the first five seasons — a perfect script to own and frame for a fan. But let’s talk about the lunchbox. Illustrated by artist Lord Mesa, it’s a distinctive comic book representation of 15 of the most influential characters on the show, centering Barry/Flash (Gustin), Iris (Candice Patton), Cisco (Carlos Valdes) and Caitlin (Danielle Panabaker). And only the crew got it? This alone might be worth the $620 asking price, but it would not be framed because both Barry and I need to consume thousands of calories a day to keep up our strength. Or so I tell myself. —Jevon Phillips
Lunch with Ann Dowd in New York City ($1,125)
“The talent has the right to end the experience at any time, for any reason, with no refund,” reads the disclaimer on the Union Solidarity auction’s $1,125 lunch with Emmy winner Ann Dowd, and I’d pay a premium for that part alone: What TV-obsessed gay man hasn’t imagined being verbally eviscerated by “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” Aunt Lydia or “The Leftovers’” Patti Levin before she storms out of the room in a fury? A close second would be a three-martini gab fest with one of our most compelling actors at some posh place to see and be seen in New York. I guess I better start saving up. It’s unclear from the listing who’s picking up the check. —Matt Brennan
20 Questions / 20 Minutes Zoom with Sarah Silverman ($1,525)
I would pay $1,500 for 20 questions with Sarah Silverman but only if she asks the questions and signs an NDA swearing she will never utter my name in public. (Just look at what she did to poor Joe Franklin in “The Aristocrats.”) She can ask about anything — my personal life, deepest secrets, darkest fantasies and greatest fears — and she is allowed, nay encouraged, to react to my answers with brutal honesty. I’m not big on therapy personally, but this would feel cathartic and cleansing, because it would also be a roast. Defame me Sarah, but just for 20 minutes. —Boris Kachka
‘The Bear’ apron signed by Jeremy Allen White, Ayo Edebiri and more ($1,525)
I would drop $2,000 on “The Bear’s” signed apron because in my own life I believe I embody the spirit of a troubled son who leaves his hometown to launch his career and escape his even-more-troubled family. It would be a great conversation starter to bring when I do visit my relatives and cook for them. Wearing this apron while I scream at them not to interrupt me in the kitchen would be very healing. —Georgia Geen
Fedora owned and signed by Tom Waits ($2,550)
Does he have a big head? It feels like he has a big head. I have a big head, and I’m not buying this to sit on the shelf like some museum piece. But there’s no hat size listed, so I’m going to take a leap of faith. “Worn by Tom Waits”? Judging from the photos, I’d say so — and then some. What does a Tom Waits hat smell of? Sweat and stale beer? Electricity and inspiration? I guess I’ll find out. First stop after it arrives: Norms in West Hollywood. 2 a.m. Eggs and sausage and a side of toast. Wearing that fedora, it’ll taste at least 10% better. —Glenn Whipp
Adam Scott walks your dog in L.A. for one hour ($3,050)
I would jump at the opportunity to have Adam Scott walk my dog for an hour. He is one of my favorite actors and he is usually on my television multiple times a week, as I rewatch “Parks and Recreation” more often than I care to admit. I’m assuming I can participate in the walk as well, and if so, I would have plenty of questions to fill our time. And walking my dog would be easy. He was cremated back in March and is housed in a small pine box. We’d have ample freedom to go anywhere — even in a coffee shop. —Mark Potts
Zoom with the cast of ‘New Girl’ ($3,226)
NYICK! You’re on mute.
Few things make me groan faster than a colleague or my mother suggesting we “hop on a quick Zoom.” The one silver lining of a work Zoom? They pay me to be there (and I don’t have to wear pants). So paying to Zoom seems insane — unless I’m parting with my paycheck for digital face-time with Jess, Nick, Winston, Schmidt and Cece. I’ll never be able to down a pint at the Griffin while listening to Maná, but at least I can ask Nick Miller for notes on my zombie novel. As a bonus, I’ve wanted to give some L.A. City Council members a piece of my mind about a few things, and luckily, it looks like Fawn Moscato herself will also be there. In Nick Miller’s words: “I am not a successful adult. I don’t eat vegetables and/or take care of myself.” Nor do I lack the common sense not to shell out at least $5,000 to video conference with my tribe. Z is for Zombie — and Zoom. —Nicholas Ducassi
Brit Marling’s wolf sweatshirt from ‘The OA,’ with personal letter ($4,000)
When I first moved to Los Angeles I was lonely. I was unemployed, save for a few freelance gigs. By day, I applied to journalism jobs, frantically cold-calling/emailing every news organization in a 100-mile radius. By night, with few friends in the city, I found solace in the worlds of the shows and movies that lit my dark Koreatown apartment living room. Among those that left its mark is the underrated science-fiction series “The OA.” The show, led by Brit Marling’s Prairie, pulsed with drama and suspense, but also hope and earnest optimism — it was exactly what I needed. “The OA” didn’t deserve the fate it got, canceled by Netflix after two seasons. Marling wrote that this wolf hoodie was her way of “holding onto OA.” If I can somehow manage to shell out $4,000, maybe it can also be mine. —Jonah Valdez
Watercolor portrait of your dog by John Lithgow ($4,050)
There are few things I love more than my dog, Sailor. Is John Lithgow one of them? Insert your own pregnant pause there. Ponder the horrible truth. The notion that the much-honored actor (immortally of “Footloose” for me) would, in a year’s time, craft a private watercolor of my 3-year-old Frenchie, a handsome brindle with plenty of attitude, makes me want to break out my checkbook. The current bid is well over my limit. But if money were no object, I’d insist on a term of my own: Lithgow must paint while in character, preferably Dr. Emilio Lizardo of “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.” Laugh while you can, monkey boy! —Joshua Rothkopf
The cast of ‘Bob’s Burgers’ sings a song written just for you ($5,000)
It’s probably best that I don’t admit how often I have “Bob’s Burgers” bangers like “Electric Love” or “Taffy Butt” repeating in my head. But even more than a man-on-elephant love song or Cyndi Lauper improving upon her own classic, Linda’s seemingly improvised Thanksgiving ode “Kill the Turkey” is my absolute favorite “Bob’s” tune. So of course I would drop more than a month’s salary and however much I can make from selling my kidneys to have the cast of “Bob’s Burgers” sing a personalized and improvised song just for me. And I would absolutely require that the song be used to announce my arrival everywhere. —Tracy Brown