LA Times Calendar Revamp
LaExaminer.com reports: "The local paper of record announced this morning that its long-awaited snuffing-out of the stepchild SoCal Living Section will take place this coming Sunday, as part of an overhaul of all features sections. Sunday Calendar will cease being a tabloid, and there will be plenty of new columns called "Connections," "Social Climes," "LA-centric" (insert wisecrack here), and -- most frightening of all -- something called "Media Matters," which is described as "Pulitzer Prize-winning writer David Shaw's comments on the world of media and information."
Howard Veit writes to LaExaminer.com : "For at least the past decade, the Calendar Section has been nothing but a mouthpiece for the Left Wing of the Democrat Party. It's like a party line clearing house for PC writing, art, music, and dance. The worst I can remember is a "review" of a surfing picture where the reviewer, bemoaning the lack of women surfers riding the thirty foot waves, ridiculed the audience. She actually picked people out and made fun of them for attending."
Cedric the Entertainer
Dennis Prager says on his nationally syndicated radio show 10/10/02 that baseball is a wholesome game for kids to follow. It has less violence than other games. While FoxNews is conservative, Fox TV tends to the raunchy. During last night's Angel game, an ad came on for the African-American comedy Cedric that Fox TV will show. 'You will laugh your panties off.' And the guy looks in the camera and says, 'And I want your panties.'
If Fox can't keep raunch off its sports programming, then sports should not sell to Fox. It is domestic non-violent terrorism. This is not the time to run raunch. My nine-year old son was watching the game.
Caller: I was looking forward to the show but now I'm not. It's offensive to women. Cedric says his show will be so sexually stimulating that women will want to send off their panties.
Male caller: In another ad, a woman is receiving a gynecological exam. The doctor faints and falls between her legs.
In a show about three women attorneys, a woman turns and says, he almost gave me a hickey between my legs. My kids turned to me with their mouths open.
DP: Ohmigod. I want this known to the sponsors. I mute the ads come on Fox.
Female caller: My kid was watching a cartoon on Fox when an ad came on for another Fox cartoon show called "Cybersix" featuring barely dressed young women. I never let my son watch Fox cartoons anymore.
DP: Fox has "Best Damn Sports Show." The word 'damn' shouldn't be in a title for a TV show.
DP says: I've watched ABC's The Bachelor. I don't understand how women can go on the show and humiliate themselves. How can they make out with the guy when he's also making it with other women on the show? How can they kiss him when all the others kiss him? There's a healthy aspect to jealousy, when you want your loved one to be yours.
How can 25 women go on the show and pursue the same man, fall in love with the same man? What are they falling in love with? How can they put themselves on TV to be publicly rejected? These are not actresses but I guess people will do anything to be on national TV. Second, many single women can't find a desirable man who wants to commit and they are willing to humiliate themselves to get him.
My wife and I fell in love quickly.
I don't think these women's tears are phoney. How can they all sit there and have the camera close in on them while he kisses and hugs another woman?
This program THE BACHELOR is a social phenomenon. I watch the show and cringe as these women's hearts are broken. It's almost worse than gladiator fights because at least the gladiators die afterwards.
Any woman who has such little pride and dignity, I could never fall in love with.
ABC Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire
From Variety.com: ABC has inked a wide-ranging, multiyear first-look pact with "The Bachelor" producers Mike Fleiss and Telepictures Prods. Deal includes a commitment from the Alphabet for at least two reality series, as well as a sitcom development deal.
Pact further establishes Fleiss... as one of the most prolific exec producers of original, non-imported primetime reality series.
"(Fleiss) is a big thinker, has a sense of showmanship, he understands storytelling, emotion and can execute a series to the highest level," Wong told Daily Variety. "And on top of that, he has so many ideas for reality shows that are really unique. That combination is hard to find."
Read about my experience with Mike Fleiss on Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire.
Cedric the Entertainer...is an equal opportunity offender, hilariously making fun of everything from fat cafeteria ladies to the flatulent qualities of Mexican food.
Except for "The Wire," a gritty urban crime drama, all the shows Cedric named are basically white. "Friends," in fact, is notoriously whiter-than-white; even in a big city like New York, the friends never seem to make any black acquaintances. But it is pretty funny, and the fact that Cedric admits to enjoying it rather than more politically correct shows may say more about racial progress than any number of threatened boycotts by Al Sharpton.
From the National Enquirer:
A sex-crazed Steven Seagal imported a Brazilian medicine man to turn him into a superstud, ordered a personal assistant to round up hot young babes to be his sex toys — and pumped himself full of as many as 12 pills every half hour, says a former personal aide.
THE AGING ACTION HERO was obsessed with sex, says his assistant -- and he lusted after women young enough to be his daughter.
Ahnume Guerios worked with the action hero from 1998 until July of this year — then says he quit in disgust over being forced to "pimp" for the superstar. What's more, Seagal's aide claims that the martial arts expert lived in fear of assassination, despised gays, and had himself hooked to an intravenous tube in a strange ritual "to cleanse his blood."
From the 7/12/02 LA TIMES: During a partnership that lasted more than a decade, [Steven] Seagal starred in films that grossed hundreds of millions of dollars, and [Julius R.] Nasso helped produce them.
Nasso is free on $1.5-million bail, preparing his defense against a federal indictment that depicts him as an associate of the Gambino crime family, ruled in recent years by John Gotti and his kin. Last month, prosecutors revealed that a microphone planted to get evidence of mob influence over New York-area docks had picked up a meeting in a restaurant between the 49-year-old Nasso and a local Mafia captain.
Their alleged topic of conversation? A scheme to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from "an individual [Steven Seagal] in the film industry" who was not named but whose identity was no secret: the don't-mess-with-me actor who broke noses and bones on screen.
Before I go to sleep, Before I brush my teeth
Before I go to sleep at night, I like to listen to Torah lectures on 613.org and elsewhere. Last night I listened to Rabbi Avigdor Miller. His remarks about the media sharply contrast with the Hollyoowd worldview. I present them here for the cause of intellectual diversity. From tape #492:
Q: Why is there so much immorality today?
Rabbi Miller: "Immorality is spread mostly be media and anybody who has a television in his house is inviting teachers of adultery and homosexuality into his home. You cannot say I am going to ignore them because if you bring in an evil influence, it's there, even if you close your ears and eyes. The Torah opens our eyes to the dangers of immorality.
"Before, the public schools taught decency. Today sex education is preparation for the most corrupt kind of life."
Q: Should we Jews help financially the Moral Majority?
Rabbi Miller: "Yes. They are a reproach to us. If we see goyim who are fighting for decency, many of them sacrifice themselves, some have gone to jail for holiness, the least we can do is give financial assistance."
Andy Rooney Curmudgeon
From TheJournalNews.com: There's a lengthy list of groups that CBS' Andy Rooney has offended over the years with his comments. Now, it's women who are taking issue with him after the "60 Minutes" commentator said female sideline reporters have no business making comments about football games.
"The only thing that really bugs me about television's coverage is those damn women they have down on the sidelines who don't know what the hell they're talking about," Rooney said Friday on MSG Network's "The Boomer Esiason Show." "I mean, I'm not a sexist person, but a woman has no business being down there trying to make some comment about a football game."
Rooney, 83, has drawn protests in the past for his comments on homosexuals, evangelists, American Indians, Greek-Americans and blacks. CBS suspended him in 1990 for a comment attributed to him in The Advocate, a gay magazine, in which he was quoted as saying, "Blacks have watered down their genes because the less intelligent ones are the ones who have the most children. They drop out of school, do drugs and get pregnant."
David MacCaray writes Romenesko: [Women] have no business loitering on the sideline, making insipid, meritless comments about a game they never played and don't understand.
This season, ABC's Monday Night Football disgraced itself by dropping Eric Dickerson as its sideline reporter and replacing him with Melissa Stark. One of the greatest running backs of all time, a Hall of Fame player and knowledgeable commentator, is replaced by a good-looking blonde.
LUKE SAYS: This reminds me of the Patti Shea controversy.
Patti touched a nerve that secular journalists don't like to admit exists - there is something fundamentally morally wrong with sending female journalists into a room of naked men, just as there is something fundamentally morally wrong with sending male journalists into a room of naked women.
Women as sports writers has aberrant appeal, like poets as sports writers. But women are biologically limited from understanding and appreciating sports as men do because of the female's lack of testosterone. Sports are driven by testosterone. They are primarily a male affair. Women writing on sports is like women writing on porn.
Pornography is overwhelmingly purchased by males. It's appeal is understood in a visceral way by most males. Most women aren't going to get porn anymore than most women are going to get sports. That's why none of the top 20 sportswriters are women.
I Hate The Jewish Journal
As anyone who's logged on to this site more than once knows, I'm not the most mentally stable person around.
I think I need to up my Tenex, a mood stabilizer. I'm feeling overcome by emotion now and I can't sleep. I must speak truth to power.
I've never admitted this before publicly.
Josh Kun, English professor, told me about 15 months ago that he hated the Jewish Journal and I don't think at the time that I had the strength of my convictions to agree heartily.
Perhaps it's just too familiar. I've read it almost every week for almost ten years. When I lived an hour's drive above Sacramento in 1993, I subscribed to it. No man is a hero to his butler syndrome.
Tuesday night I met Rob Eshman, editor of the Jewish Journal (see JewishJournal.com). He's a gentle soul. He edits a responsible paper. Best of all, he has a terrific wife. Rabbi Naomi Levy wrote a great autobiography that was a blessing to me. She did a good job reviving the Conservative synagogue Mishkon Tephilo in Venice.
But the Jewish Journal is everything I am not. Perhaps that's why I'm viscerally disgusted by it each week.
The Jewish Journal tends to be fair and balanced, though tilting left. It's responsible. It supports the Jewish community. It reads like a synagogue bulletin. 'Let's all pitch in and bring something to the bake sale Sunday so the women's club can buy new tablecloths.'
The Jewish Journal avoids yellow journalism. It does not sensationalize. It probably has high ethical standards for its writers. It does not needlessly provoke readers. It doesn't scream for attention. It tries to give everybody in the Jewish community a voice, from the ultra-Orthodox (it won't even use this term because if offends the most religious Jews) to the leftist homosexual activists.
But with the exception of columnist Theresa Strasser, it is BORING! It is PIOUS! It is unctuous. It is pointless. It never stirs the pot.
I don't want to hate the Jewish Journal. I don't want to admit my strong feelings. I'm embarrassed about them. I even admitted in therapy that I'm unfathomably filled with rage when I pick up this gentle well-meaning weekly.
I don't hate everything Jewish. I support Israel. I keep the Sabbath. I push myself to date Jewish women, even when they're frizzy-haired and 30 pounds over weight. I study Pointnoy's Complaint and Bava Metzia. I long for the day when people of color are no longer oppressed and queers can walk hand-in-hand in the street without being afraid.
I read the Jewish Journal every week without fail. It's filled with useful information. It tries hard to serve its readers. I like most of the people who work for it. Yet I hate the paper so much. I shake with anger when I read it. Not because it's slanderous or unbalanced but because it's dull. It's everything I'm against. It's nice and mature and grown up and reserved and balanced and ethical and pious and smug and superior. And a real snooze. It reminds me of the LA Times.
I wonder if part of the reason there's almost no intellectual excitement in Jewish life these days is that Jewish publications, with the exception of the Forward and a few interesting writers like Strasser, are so dull.
Chaim Amalek, the Voice of Temperance and Reason, writes: The solution to your problem is obvious, is it not? Make your own Jewess! Find yourself a healthy young gentile woman of valor, the kind with more beauty, grace, and intelligence than the average jewess can bear to contemplate, and impress upon her the beauty of Judaic thought and practice. Win her heart and mind, and lure her into conversion. Then marry her.
As for the Jewish women who are not pairing off because of men like you looking elsewhere or for other reasons, I say leave them to the shvartzes and the Dominicans. They are better equiped (in every way) to deal with these women and know better than to take any feminist guff from them. Besides, we are sorely in need of more gentile blood from all sources.
The future will be one of constant street battles between the Muslim hordes that have settled in the west (often bearing an invitation from jewish liberalism, praising the diversity that they bring) and the Jews. We need some niggaz with six pointed stars on our team, and fewer dweeb lawyers/accountants/writers for Heeb.
And before you call me a hypocrite for not practicing what I preach, I have hit on three or four Norwegian women of late for this purpose. Alas, no takers. They seem just as infected with the will to disappear as their Jewish counterparts. Either that, or they are not interested in the sperm of a 375 pound man of advancing years.
By the way, every large city in America has a paper like the one in LA. There is one for Long Island that has pages and pages of personal ads in the back, mostly from people who have missed the boat in life.
Finally, what are YOU doing to spread the word among the Jewish women of LA that if they don't make Jewish babies, and do it NOW, that they are handing Hitler yet another posthumous victory? As measured in potential life not permitted to be, secular jewish wombs in the aggregate prove to be a veritable Treblinka of lost Jewish souls.
And speaking of the holocaust, honestly, it is just insane the way the Jewish establishment spends tens of millions of dollars on Holocaust kitsch - and precisely where and on whom it is not needed - and nothing to convince Jewish women to make babies.
Finally An Authentic Voice The Jewish Media Can't Control
Shaygetz Jeffrey Wells writes on Kevin Smith's www.moviepoopchute.com the naked truth about Hollywood's Days of Awe: "What makes a movie Oscar-worthy, exactly? As we all know, it needn't be the best quality film of the year, or even the tenth-best. Aside from the usual political considerations, winners usually draw votes by tapping into some politically correct hot-button issue or by providing a satisfying lump-in-the-throat residue. (Or, in a pinch, by being the latest spectacular, big-canvas, pricey-production-value flick in the BEN-HUR tradition, like GLADIATOR and BRAVEHEART.)"
Emmanuelle Richard Turns Thumbs Down On New Madonna Movie
Emmanuelle Richard writes: "Just saw the new Madonna movie at a press screening. This film is ground for divorce between Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie if you ask me. Jesus. But it makes you want to rent the original "swept away" from 1974."
Lukeford.net Internship Program
It's open to all hot looking fecund Jewesses aged 18-30 who want to learn Hollywood journalism while simultaneously replacing the Jews we lost in the Holocaust. Please Email Luke.
Says a noted sage: "I want you to confront the Jewesses you meet with their infecundity. I would do this myself, but I don't know any women, Jewish or otherwise. I remember the Jewess of yesteryear, who in the midst of a mild earthquake, volunteered that she chose Mercedes ownership over motherhood. That is the key problem - the sexual proclivities of the Jewess. She must be opened up. That, or there must be a real program of outreach to hot blonde shiksa goddesses that shames the biological jewess into spreading her legs, sans birth control pills and abortions.
"Compare the Jewess with the Muslim and Palestinian women. They use their vaginas like cannons to pop out children."
My only comment is that this must be done within the strict confines of Jewish Law. The Orthodox do not have a problem reproducing. I can barely get to my seat in my shul Shabbos morning because there are so many baby carriages. A Torah-true Jewess skips college to marry at 18 and make many babies.
Producer Judd Apatow On Maternity Leave
I emailed for an interview and received this reply: "He is actually on Maternity leave for the next few months." I don't often hear of men going on maternity leave.
Luke Could Learn a Thing or Two from Joe Pistone
Chaim Amalek writes: I am reading a book whose lead character reminds me of you, you wisenheimer: "Donnie Brasco", by Joe Pistone. This is the true story of an FBI agent who spent six years undercover, penetrating the highest echelons of La Cosa Nostra. The parallels between your story and his are not exact, but they are there. Substitute "Hollywood" or "LA Jewery" (or "Porn" for that matter) for "Mafia", and Luke for Donnie/Joe, and you have essentially the same story: an outsider, trying to fit in without being too obvious about it, patiently mastering a role. And in each case, the target is destined for a fall.
How Hollywood Can Save the Jews
Chaim Amalek writes: The latest data concerning the demographic decline of the Jews in America is grim. The Jews are getting fewer and older, which means that they are destined to further decline in number if things don't change in a hurry.
The final solution to this problem must take one or both of the following forms: the Jews must aggressively seek out converts (preferably female, because only they can then make more Jews by having sex), or Jewish women should be discouraged from squandering their fertile years in graduate school or careerism and instead be socialized from a very early age to breed. This latter strategy works for the orthodox, and there is no reason why it cannot be made to work even for secular jews, provided they have a sufficient degree of racial/tribal consciousness.
I favor both approaches. Every faith bleeds away its malcontents, either because they lose interest in the faith, or because (as is often the case in Judaism) they fail to find within it the spiritual purpose that they seek in life. If you don't make good these losses through breeding or conversion, you die. And make no mistake Jews, there is no third way. Win converts, breed, or die out. The only question is how best to do this.
That is where the Hollywood Jews can help out. They, through their influence over mass culture, can help spread the word that young Jewish women should have lots and lots of unprotected procreative sex with racially valuable males (Jewish or not) so as to make many more Jewish babies. I want to see Jewesses breeding like Mexicans or Palestinians. And Hollywood Jews could make it cool to be Jewish by associating it with a sexually wanton lifestyle of procreative sex, thereby attracting converts.
Many a Jew will arrogantly protest that what the Jews lack in quantity, they make up for in quantity. Well, sorry chaverim, but in a democracy such as ours, numbers count. I do not look forward to the day when the nursing homes of America are full of high quality Jews. (Besides, as the famous socialist Lev Bronstein once put it, "Quantity has a quality all of its own.") Jews - the choice is yours. Win converts, f---- (procreatively), or die.
Luke, I want to make a series of ethnic videos with positive social messages. My first working title is "Chava Himmelman - She-Wolf of West End Avenue."
The treatment: Establishing shot. It is Friday night, in a Conservative temple on 86th Street, Upper West Side. The rabbi gives a speech condemning intermarriage to goyim, and bemoans the fact that so many Jews do not view one another in erotic terms. This upsets Chava, a 30-ish social worker who lives in a rent controlled apartment on West End Avenue (Hillary Clinton Country). She resolves to do something about this, namely, to make a series of educational videos in her apartment that will change Jewish attitudes towards sex with their own kind.
Some of these videos will have an S&M aspect to them, ala Max Hardcore, but with a Jewish slant. Just imagine what could be done with a dry hard kosher salami purchased from the Second Avenue Deli. Or with a Platinum Amex credit card, the edge of which has been honed razor-sharp. Or cross-dressing, in which an Orthodox Jew is made to wear women's clothes that include mixtures of linen and wool! OK, maybe that is too extreme.
The point is to present these videos as socially responsible because they re-sexualize people, and attempt to get them to mate with their own kind. Similar videos could be made for other ethnic groups. Imagine a video series in which black NBA stars are depicted preferring black women to white - NO ONE would oppose such a wholesome product.
I have the idea, and the capital, but have neither the actresses nor actors to do this right. Everyone I know is too shameful to f--- on video for others, even if for a good cause. And the one woman I know who would gladly do this is a goy, looks it, and is nuts, which means I cannot use her. Also, I know little about distribution of such product. How should one go about it - by distributing flyers at kiddush [Jewish wine drinking ceremony]?
Please ask all your friends if they want a role in "Chava Himmelman - She Wolf of West End Avenue". Or how about "The Shulamit Slutsky Story", or "Damn, That Sistah is H - O - T !" I already have the financial backing for this!
Chaim Amalek, Liberal Upper West Side Jew
Rocking Party For Toby Young
The Los Angeles Press Club threw a great party for bald British journalist Toby Young Tuesday night, 10/8/02.
I was so excited by the prospect of this party that I RSVP'd three times to advice columnist Amy Alkon. I was the party's first RSVP about a month ago. (Luke and Amy, picture courtesy of Emmanuelle Richard)
I park on the street for free at 8th Street and Hope. I'm wearing my Australian black wool suit, a black silk T-shirt, black socks and my black Italian leather shoes. My sister made me buy all these unnecessary clothes brand new (when there are great thrift shops around LA) on my last trip to Brisbane, Australia (April 2000).
I arrived at the Downtown LA Standard Hotel at 550 S. Flower St at 6:45PM and took an elevator to the rooftop. I wandered around until I struck up a conversation with producer Spencer A. Tandy.
Principally a Broadway producer who's lived most of his life in London and New York, Spencer moved to Los Angeles to producer a sex farce movie. Over the past ten years, Tandy has sold eight of his screenplays but none have been produced.
Spencer speaks in a grand theatrical tone of voice. He has a moderate British accent. Exuding tremendous energy and enthusiasm, impeccably polite, he reminds me of producer Hilly Elkins.
Spencer is due to meet his friends screenwriter Richard Tuggle, who sports a shock of white hair, and writer William Stadiem, the world's premiere expert on whores and madams. Bill has an article on Russian hookers in the August issue of Playboy.
Stadiem has just finished a book on Frank Sinatra in the 1950s and 1960s. He writes screenplays.
There's free wine and beer but I don't drink. I only meet beautiful non-Jewish women at events like this, sources of temptation pulling me away from the Torah.
A sage says: "Based on every woman I have seen you with, your taste is awful or you are very desperate. I find that what happens is that the women you can get drops in quality as you age. Less stimulus = less response. And why don't I ever hear you meeting hot Jewish women?"
I ran into my friend - brassy blonde matchmaker and Hard Copy producer Dianne Bennett - who also works for Playboy.
The shutdown of New Times Los Angeles must've hit Matt Welch (LAExaminer.com) particularly hard as he was about to go to work there as managing editor. Maybe this will give an impetus to his plans to set up a Los Angeles paper. He's meeting again with investors.
Has anyone gotten as much gushing publicity as Richard Riordan for doing nothing but flirting with the idea of starting a paper and having meetings at his home? A source says it all depends on how bored Richard becomes. He was seriously flirting with becoming a write-in candidate for CA governor. If he gets really bored, he might just start this damn paper.
New Times staffers drank hard after learning their bitter news last Monday and some used other substances to ease the pain.
Rick Barrs, New Times LA editor, is moving to Phoenix in two months to edit that edition of the NT paper.
The Standard had some nifty waterbeds on the rooftop. I spot Matt's wife Emmanuelle Richard snapping some decadent photos of reclining ladies Cathy Seipp and Amy Alkon. I get in the middle of them, a dream come true. (Photo courtesy of Emmanuelle Richard)
Cathy has introduced me to many wonderful people (Rob Long, Amy Alkon, Ross Johnson, Rick Barrs, Eugene Volokh - who Orthodox rabbis kvell over because he's Jewish and brilliant, even though he doesn't have an ounce of religiosity). I'm in her debt.
Khunrum writes: "Luke has "Gone Hollywood" on us. The names are dropping like bombs over Iraqi."
I'm a deeply insecure person, that's where my rage comes from, and it's often hard for me to meet people. Tonight Cathy introduces me to Rob Eshman, the left-wing editor of the Los Angeles Jewish Journal. He's slender and about 6'3" tall. He's chatting with former Universal executive Barry Isaacson. With his beautiful wife Jenny, Barry hails from England.
I bring up the topic of Lauren Winner, the 25-year old Columbia graduate student who converted to Orthodox Judaism and then Anglican Christianity.
The following quotes are reconstructed from my faulty memory.
Barry: "Don't tell me she did it because of Orthodoxy's discrimination against women? I'm so tired of hearing about that."
Luke: "No, she did it because she sought a relationship with God, and Judaism doesn't really offer that. I know because I was raised a serious Christian. My Dad is a Christian theologian. And I converted to Judaism and it's much harder to establish a relationship with God in Judaism."
I've lost all my inhibitions at this point and I'm preaching to folks I've just met.
Barry was raised Orthodox but had a recent traumatic experience when he visited a Hollywood Reform temple for the first time: "I was taken to Temple Isaiah for Yom Kippur and the female rabbi talked about this Old Testament story. Have you heard of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac to God on Mount Moriah?"
Luke: "Yes, I've heard of it."
Barry: "Well, she turned it into a secular civics lesson. She said that Abraham should've disobeyed God. We don't sacrifice kids even if God says so. We have to talk back to God. I'm afraid that most of the congregation went home from Yom Kippur thinking they have to do more defying of God and the Jewish tradition."
Luke: "Of course she was going to have an anarchic take. She's a female rabbi. A female rabbi by definition defies Jewish Law."
Rob Eshman's wife is Conservative Rabbi Naomi Levy. I'm on thin ice here.
Rob: "Jewish Law doesn't say women can't become rabbis."
Luke: "Sure it does. A woman can't be a baal tefilla (lead congregation in prayer because men, who are commanded to pray three times a day, have preference over those not commanded) or be a witness."
I start lecturing everyone. "Barry, I wouldn't worry about the congregation going home affected by the sermon. Most Conservative and Reform Jews don't take their rabbi seriously. Only Orthodox rabbis have strong influence."
Rob: "That's not true. It's an individual thing. Some Conservative and Reform rabbis achieve deep connections with their congregants."
Rob wanders off.
As if I haven't stirred things up enough. I ask Barry about controversial British journalist William Cash, now residing in London. Cash wrote an article in 1993 about Jews running Hollywood that about got him run out of town. For good reason, says Barry.
Barry Isaacson is mentioned in the Cash - Jews article. An executive with Universal, Isaacson went to head Tom Pollock to ask for permission to speak to the press. Pollock told him to keep it humorous. It was good advice. Those (Steven Spielberg, Neal Gabler, Barbra Streisand) who took the pious approach, crying anti-Semitism, ended up looking foolish.
Luke: "The incident showed the dramatic difference in ability with the English language between Brits and Yanks. The average working class high school dropout tends to speak more eloquently than Americans with graduate school educations."
Paul Lister, a quiet production executive at Dreamworks (also from Britain and also a Jew?), is finally goaded into speaking: "I totally disagree."
Paul says he never speaks to the press unless he has something to sell.
Barry, who's wife Jenny is a journalist, laughs at how the news media can make you look foolish. He remembers Toby Young coming to interview him around 1992 and asking him all these puff questions - what makes you you? Why are you so great? How did you become so wonderful in your work?
The press ask these puff questions to make you feel adored, but they're only setting you up to make you look foolish. Pollock's advice was good.
Barry laughs about Cash's article, which he hated. The day after it went around Hollywood, Isaacson received three expensive pairs of white socks. Cash had written that Hollywood Jews tend to wear white socks.
An executive with Universal for ten years, Barry has tired of studio politics and is setting up his own independent production company.
By now I've driven away everyone from our conversation but the sturdy couple Barry and Jenny Isaacson. They've been married fifteen years, have two kids (four and two), and appear in love. They stand with their arms around each other.
Jenny is a totally cool chick. She's beautiful and spunky and devotes herself to charity. She's Director of Communications for the Starlight Children's Foundation, started by Peter Samuelson. She goes to the trouble of hunting me down later, when she and Barry want to leave already, so she can introduce me to William Stadiem, who I wanted to meet. Thanks Jenny.
I knew William's brother Tex, a high-level auto-mechanic, about seven years ago from synagogue. Tex now operates a garage in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Jenny Isaacson worked at Buzz for its entire seven year run (spunky magazine covering Los Angeles) with Cathy Seipp, Jill Stewart...
Barry marvels at the ease with which I toss of sweeping potentially offensive generalizations. I ask him about the British tendency to sadistic verbal play. I meant that a compliment to the Brits.
Barry says it's irony more than sadism. It was only when the British empire disappeared in the 1960s that the British became funny. The Jews became funny, says Barry, because they suffered so much.
As usual, I think I know better.
Luke: "Empires rise and fall according to a pattern. First they become a military power, then an economic one. Only when they go into decline, do they create their greatest art. And secularism plays in too. When the Jews observed the Torah, they weren't very funny. The Torah and the Talmud and the Jewish codes of Law like the Shulchan Aruch are not funny. Studying them is not a barrel of laughs. Jews became funny and created TV and movies after they left Jewish observance. Britain became funny after it left its Christian foundations."
A movie is projected against an opposing rooftop.
Emmanuelle Richard looks absolutely ravishing with her longer hair. I don't know why so many chicks wear short hair and try to look and act like boys. It ain't sexy.
Emmanuelle and I are excited that our friend Marc W. is coming to town soon. We've never met him in person.
Emmanuelle introduces me to Kate Sullivan, an adorable young pop music critic. She writes to LAExaminer.com: "The la weekly was hardly kicking ass, bruce! last i heard they were third in the voice chain in per-page ad revenue, after City Pages (in the fucking Twin Cities, pop. like 3 million). there's a reason they wanted to kill us, yo! from my p.o.v., this is the reason: since i got my short-lived job at the new times, 2 out of 3 people i'd talk to would say, "oh, yeah, the new times--i like the new times. I read the new times." local musicians would say, "i couldn't get any coverage in the weekly, but the new times reviewed my cd." the new times was a part of people's lives, as cheesy as that sounds, their club listings sucked monkey ass but they were about to totally redesign, and the weekly was rightly nervous."
I meet cerebral producer Steve Shor, who's dated a former Miss Sweden. He takes her to premieres as his date at the Cannes Film Festival.
Shor's producing hero is Saul Zaentz. Steve wants to make movies with intelligence, not a commodity in generous supply in Hollywood today. Steve says there's a direct relationship between creativity and risk.
Steve's trying to set up a project starring Australian actress Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive fame).
The Standard rooftop set aside for our party is jammed from 8-9PM.
I run into friends of mine from shul - Aaron Kemp (wearing a tiny yarmulke), who works at the Screen Actors Guild, and Evelyn Sheikopf, a former editor for Variety now working as a freelance writer. Evelyn had pieces scheduled to run on producers Peter Samuelson and Steve Shor that were jumbled by her departure from Variety. So she chats with Jenny, who works with Peter on Starlight.
Around 10PM, Evelyn asks me who I've spoken with.
Luke: "Three producers, including Steve Shor."
Evelyn: "Oh, I was scheduled to have lunch with him. Where is he?"
I track him down and introduce them.
There are a ton of stunning women at this party. My prejudice says that most of them are too beautiful to be writers. Though young hot-looking chicks who can play girlish seem to get all the best interviews. Who wouldn't want to be interviewed by a cute young chickie?
As I'm leaving the party, I spot authors Mickey Kaus and Rob Long in conversation. By contrast to his bold column at Slate.com, Mickey seems shy in person.
The party has now dwindled to about 25 people.
I didn't hear one person mention LA Times Hollywood reporter Anita Busch. I never see any LA Times people at these press club gatherings.
From the L.A. Press Club PR release:
Journalist Adam Davidson, originally from Israel but a resident of Los Angeles the past three years, writes: "I'm on my way to New York, my new hometown. I'm driving cross-country to get there. I'm in Cincinnati now. But I think I'm going to go to Israel for six months or something as the correspondent for Marketplace radio."
Jil Stewart writes on LAExaminer.com: "My deepest thanks to Matt Welch, laexaminer.com and everyone else helping to share the New Times L.A. archives on the internet. New Times L.A. is the only in-depth record of why LAPD Chief Willie Williams was really fired, how deep the Mexican Mafia crime syndicate has infiltrated in California, Cardinal Roger Mahony's true level of involvement in sex coverups, and why the bilingual education and whole language fads ruined the lives of millions of kids. Those were just a few issues we wrote about extensively, getting at a truth too uncomfortable for the PC media. There were also single hot stories, like Susan Goldsmith's gutsy "Blacks Only"--about blatant racism practiced by the black power elite who run M L King Medical Center, and Rick Barrs' Finger revelations about the LA Times cutting a deal to promote Staples Center. It's an incredible record amassed by a tiny staff, (though I realize I'm prejudiced.) It is crucial to the health of an influential city-state like Los Angeles that researchers, reporters and the general public be able to easily access this contemporary history of L.A. If an important book is sitting on the shelf in a library, but has been deleted from the library computer directory, does it even exist?"
Jill Stewart tells me that she will never write for the LA Weekly because of its orthodox leftism.
Altreader writes to www.laexaminer.com: "New Times never made a profit in six years because its product was weak, and all the bleating in the blogosphere won't change that. Let's review the New Times oeuvre: 1) A pair of self-derivative columnists: Jill Stewart (who was incisive and sharp-witted but essentially wrote the same "local politics is crooked and I hate the Times" column over and over and over and over again) and Rick Barrs (whose top priority seemed to be the number of homoerotic and scatological references he could jam into a column); 2) An anonymous news staff that churned an endless parade of unremarkable and unmemorable stories (aside from Susan Goldsmith and her mom, can anyone name 5 make-a-difference stories from the past six years?) 3) Freelance filler whose sole purpose was wrapping "content" around page after page of ads for hookers and vaginal rejuvenation surgery."
David Poland writes to laexaminer.com: "I already miss the New Times. LA Weekly has improved exponentially since Laurie Ochoa came on, but in the last few months, they seem to be aware of it more and more. Good writers have become smug. And the distinct personalities that drive any good alt weekly have become blurred. The lack of competition from what was seen as the "edgier" alt makes me worry that LA Weekly will become as brazenly self-indulgent as the LA Times. And will this industry town ever have a paper that really understands and cares about the entertainment beat?"
William Cash writes: "Americans don't understand what is meant by the term Establishment. According to The Spectator in 1955, it was by definition exclusionary, and exercised its power socially. My 'point' was that 'the leaders of the computer, entertainment and communication industries' were not a real Establishmentas their power was exercised corporately. Far from constituting any sort of 'cabal', I stated that Jewish influence in Hollywood was to quote Barry Isaacson's own words when I called him up 'no worse than public schoolboys in the City'."
Dominic Lawson, Spectator editor, writes: "The Hollywood executive, Mr. Barry Isaacson, who last week denounced William Cash as 'a Monty Python caricature of an English upper-class twit' clearly understands the value of racial and social generalizations."
The Luke Ford Advisory Committee might come to town in the next few weeks. Fred Nek writes: "I have reached the point where I'm now working about 2 hours/day. I am thinking of going to LA during October or November or December, checking out what sort of neighborhoods I might want to live in, where I could take acting classes, and if there were any sort of interesting event, tagging along if it were appropriate."
I spoke by phone October 2, 2002, with author Dennis McDougal about his new book (written with Mary Murphy of TV Guide) on the Bonny Lee Bakley murder "Blood Cold: Fame, Sex, and Murder in Hollywood."
I had no interest in the Robert Blake case but I bought the book last week because I like McDougal's work. I zipped through it in under three hours, finding myself most interested in the Robert Blake sections and least interested in the story of grifter Bonny Bakley. From my years writing on the sex industry, I've met too many women like Bonny.
Luke: "How are you doing?"
Dennis: "I'm ok except my shoulder hurts. It's like God saying, 'Stop tying so much.'"
Luke: "Does that mean you won't be pitching in the World Series this year?"
Dennis: "Yes but I might be pitching at ICM."
Luke: "How did you get into the genre of true-crime books?"
Dennis: "Before I started reporting on the business side of entertainment for the LA Times, I was a general assignment reporter. I sedued into covering the courts and the blood and guts of nightside city desk. I got intrigued by some of these murder cases that went through the courts in Long Beach in particular. They struck me as unique and nobody seemed to care too much. The coverage was pedestrian and it struck me as demanding more attention as to why people commit crimes. Then I won this fellowship in 1981 and went up to Stanford. I got to do whatever I wanted to for a year, so I specialized in psychology and law, with an eye towards abnormal psychology.
"When I came back from Stanford, I went to work for the LA Times covering the entertainment industry. By the time I got bored with that, the trial of this serial killer Randy Kraft was underway. I'd covered the case when I was at the Press-Telegram in Long Beach. I thought it was worth a book [eventually Angel of Darkness] on the psychology of the serial killer. Until that time, it hadn't really been done. I contacted an agent and she quickly sold the book and that became my first book. I've always had a fascination with what makes people commit crime. I segued from there into several other true crime books."
Luke: "How did you come to write the Robert Blake book?"
Dennis: "I keep trying to swear off true crime and it keeps coming back and landing on my plate. That's been true of my last two books. I did a book on the Yosemite murders about four years ago. I did that because the publishing house called me and asked me to do the book. I was strapped for the cash and said yes.
"In the case of Blake, the murder was committed. There was a flurry of coverage by the tabloids. Then after a couple of months passed, the phone rang one day and it was the West Coast bureau chief of TV Guide, a publication for which I write on occasion, and they asked if I would team up with one of their writers, Mary Murphy, and try to get to the bottom of the Robert Blake case. I said, well, so long as you are footing the bill, why not? They paid me a princely sum and gave me an unlimited expense account and said go find out.
"I spent the next six months flying around the country to Memphis, New Orleans, New Jersey, New York, gathering information, interviewing people and writing a long piece for TV Guide. They cut the piece to about 1/5th of what I sent in but it was still one of the longest pieces TV Guide has published in the past ten years. But there was so much more left unsaid.
"Three weeks after the piece was published, Blake was arrested [April 18, 2002]. I called my agent and said there's a book here. She got me a deal. I spent the next ten weeks sitting in front of the computer, probably hastening my current repetitive stress syndrome malady, to finish the book by July 1."
Dennis: "You read it in one day? So I take it that it was an easy read?"
Dennis: "That makes me feel good. That's what you always worry about, especially when you work under extraordinary time constraints... Whether or not it's going to have continuity. Whether or not the story arc's going to work. Whether your whole game plan is going to translate into readability."
Luke: "I found myself more interested in the Robert Blake character."
Dennis: "Mary Murphy is good friends with [author] Richard Reeves. He read it and came away with the same reaction. He'd forgotten how intriguing a character Robert Blake really was. Until he read the book, he'd bought the media line that he was a broken down old TV actor."
Luke: "I read your book so I could what techniques of book-length journalistic narrative I could steal for my own work. How happy are you with the book?"
Dennis: "I'm happy with it. I'd wish I'd had more time."
Luke: "Any reviews come in on it?"
Dennis: "Somebody told me the Globe [weekly tabloid] gave it a glowing review. My agent said to me the other day, 'You go from the ridiculous to the sublime. You win national awards and get reviewed in the Economist, New Yorker and New York Times for one book, and then the next book gets reviewed in the Globe. You run the gambit.' I pride myself on that because I don't like being pigeonholed. I am a serious biographer and historian but at the same time, I think good true crime is well worth the effort. Not only does it tell a story and have a genre following, but a good true crime story gets into the fundamentals of human behavior and is something of a morality play.
"True crime over the past ten years has fallen on hard times because of the cheapening of the genre. Certain individuals in New York [Charlie Spicer at St. Martin’s] hire Fleet Streeters [street in London where most of Britain's most-read newspapers were published] to whip out instant books that are basically nothing more than clip jobs [patching together previous articles]."
Luke: "If you like true crime so much, why are you trying to swear off it?"
Dennis: "My whole career has been based on mastering one thing and moving on to the next. I'm 99.99% sure that I will never work for another newspaper again. I worked for a small newspaper and then a medium-sized newspaper and then I worked for the biggest newspaper west of the Mississippi, and arguably at the time, the best newspaper in the United States (it was vying with the New York Times during the 1980s before it fell on hard times in the 1990s and fell beneath the radar). The Los Angeles Times was the pinnacle of my newspaper career. Do you stay with something till the day you die or do you move on? I have always tried to move on.
"The same thing is true of my book career. I started out with true crime. I had people come to me with ideas because I had a reputation with true crime. After doing five true crime books, I felt like I'd mastered it. The test of that is the Blake book. Had I attempted to do the Blake book 12 years ago when I first started writing books, I don't think I could've written it in ten weeks. It's a process of trial and error. The first true crime book I did took me a year to write. Once you master something, you can do it with ease.
"I do not want to become the James Michener of true crime or historial biography. James Michener wrote two or three really good books early in his career and he just changed the setting and some of the basic characters and did the same thing over and over again for the rest of his life. He always made the best-seller list and he always had a following, but somehow that strikes me as not fulfilling."
Luke: "Were you able to include everything you wanted to in your Blake book?"
Dennis: "I did have an argument with my editor over style. I purposefully tried to establish Bonny's voice, showing her outrageous and oft times comic behavior of a remarkably amoral woman. I took liberties in speaking in her voice. The editor came in and excised most of it and I raised hell with him and he put most of it back. Although I was petulant for a week, I'm happy with the book. It's been optioned for a movie."
According to Variety 5/21/02, "Producers Mark Sennet, Alan Jacobs and Mark Hayman are developing a project about the Bonny Lee Bakley murder based on Dennis McDougal's upcoming book [Blood Cold]."
This is the second book to come out on the Blake murder. Gary C. King published Murder in Hollywood a couple of months after the murder.
Dennis: "I know the homocide investigators have not let up for a moment since the arrest. I know that they have already turned up further evidence and witnesses. I'm sure there are suprises ahead. That said, I think the substance of the book is solid, and if or when we update it for a future edition, I think it will be easy to do."
Luke: "You had some lurid details about the relationship between Blake and his daughter Delinah that never made the book."
Dennis: "It was all rumor and it was all filtered through Bonny and her sister and her friend Judy Howell. There was no way of verifying anything beyond what we had. There are certainly strong implications that there was a strong and unique relationship. There's a weasel word [relationship] for you. But the nature of that relationship remains a mystery. The homocide investigators from LAPD have pursued that and it's a matter of public record that they wanted to know the nature of the communications between Blake and his grown daughter Delinah during that period he essentially kidnapped his child away from Bonny through subterfuge and turned the child over to Delinah. To borrow a phrase from Watergate, what did she know and when did she know it? That comes through clearly in the search warrants that were issued with the arrest and the investigation that preceded it."
Luke: "How did you reconstruct the dialogue in the book? You have direct quotes from the private phone calls between Blake and Bonny."
Dennis: "There were tapes. In their paranoid fashion, both Blake and Bonny taped each other for months, both before and after the marriage. Those tapes fell into the hands of the LAPD. Some of them have been made public. A lot of them haven't. That's one of the reasons Harland Braun [Blake's criminal defense attorney] asked for more time. You may recall a couple of months ago when Harland saw to it that a taped conversation between Bonny and Christian Brando was released. That's the kind of thing that runs rampant through this case. The dialogue is easy. You can feel confident that you got it accurate because it comes directly from transcripts of taped conversations."
Luke: "Did you listen to actual tapes?"
Dennis: "Yeah. Not all of them. That was helpful to me from a writing standpoint. Hearing her actual voice and Blake's reply gave you a taste for the flavor and the intonation of their conversation. There's something more personal hearing the actual voices than just reading the words."
Luke: "Didn't you have an interaction with Blake's lawyer Harland Braun where you suspected that Robert Blake was secretly in another room listening in?"
Dennis: "Yes. I'm convinced now that he was. I did take down the license plate number of what I thought was his Chevy SUV and it was Blake's car. It was that same SUV that, on the day of his arrest (4/18/02), he drove from his house to the gate and then saw the assembled press. So he turned around and drove back to the house. It was in fact Robert Blake who came down the elevator from Braun's office. This is after Mary and I conducted an hour long interview with Braun and Braun's chief investigator."
Luke: "Is that a normal tactic for a defense attorney? To have his client hide and listen in on an interview."
Dennis: "I don't think so. I've known a few defense attorneys in my time and I've never heard of it happening before. On the other hand, it's not illegal. It does strike me as deceitful."
Luke: "Did Mr. Braun want to know what you knew?"
Dennis: "He didn't put it in that way but his line of questioning led me to believe that both he and his investigator Scott Ross were at least as interested in what we knew as they were about being forthcoming about their case."
Luke: "You saw Blake go down the elevator?"
Dennis: "No. We left first. Mary got her car and left. I went back to the gift shop [at the building in Century City where Braun keeps his offices] to get some gum, coffee and the LA Times. I made a phone call. By the time I got down to the underground garage, went to the valet and picked up my car, and was pulling out, that's when I saw Blake, holding his [infant] daughter [Rosie], with two women. One of the women appeared to be the girl's nanny and the other one was not Delinah, but may have been his niece who lived with the Blakes in the mid eighties, after Robert's sister died.
"I saw them emerge from the elevator and go to the valet desk to pick up the keys to their car. That's when I said, 'Wait a second. Who's that?' They hustled into their SUV and I waited at the top of the ramp for them. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. They came up and were right next to me as the light turned green. I looked over and sure enough it was Robert Blake sitting in the driver's seat. As the car took off, I hung back and wrote down the license plate number and later on verified that it was him.
"It struck me as odd that he would be there on a Monday morning, some 50 miles from his home. Maybe he just showed up because he liked that particular building in Century City. I doubt it."
Luke: "Thanks for your time."
Dennis: "You are welcome. How's your book coming along?"
Luke: "I'm struggling to find a narrative."
Dennis: "As you know, there was a time when producers were far more important [in Hollywood] than directors. Then the Alfred Hitchcock revolution made directors auteurs [authors of their own films] and put producers into the background. In reality, when it comes down to dollars, are far more important to the studios - bankers. Directors are regarded the same way as stars. They're bankable based on their track record, but does that mean they turn a movie in on time and under budget? No. Only the producers do that."
Luke: "But I hear from my interviews that most producers believe that once a movie begins production, and there's a conflict between the director and the producer, the directors always wins with the studio."
Dennis: "That's the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock and Francois Truffaut. I think the director always wins because the director is regarded as the star. The director carries the same weight as the Tom Cruise or Eddie Murphy or Julia Roberts, whereas the producer has fallen into the hierarchy of the writer - a necessary evil. You go back to that wonderful movie, The Player, and there's that great line about, 'If we could just get rid of the writer, we'd have something here.' If we could just get ourselves a box office star and director, and get rid of writers and producers, wouldn't that be a wonderful world?"
Peter Bart Plays To Crowd
LukeFord.net correspondent reports: "Bart told them how unfair it was that the studio system did not fully appreciate their talents. So far as I could tell, everyone in that audience was a loser."
From Variety.com: "NEW YORK -- The explosive growth of DVD and largely untapped demand among older moviegoers could spell salvation for today's indie filmmakers as they battle the perpetual contradictions between art and financing, Daily Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart told attendees at the Independent Feature Project Summit during his keynote address in Gotham on Friday.
"Bart hearkened back to a kinder, gentler studio system of the late 1960s, a time when an "art" film could be made within the hallowed studio halls even if those films went against the commercial grain. He noted there is now a chasm between the studio world and the indie world, which 30 years ago existed as a single world.
"The usual black T-shirt and cut-off shorts crowd appeared all-too-aware of the financial and artistic dilemmas in funding specialty films."
Subtext Of NY Times Article - Why Can't Jews Shut Up?
From NYTimes.com: Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, warned his cabinet ministers today not to talk about American plans for Iraq, urging them to overcome for the good of the possible war effort what often seems a national compulsion to share one's insights as widely as possible. Prodded by the Bush administration, Mr. Sharon concluded that it was time to address what one senior Israeli official today called "the blabbering thing that occurs here."
Given the rollicking tumult of Israeli politics, it is not uncommon to see leaks in the news media about official anger over leaks, or to read an inside account of one high official dressing down another for talking too much to reporters. The Israeli media have been awash recently with officials' views on Iraq.
Producer Alexander Tabrizi
I was watching football at David Poland's house early Sunday afternoon. The games were lame. David called his producer-friend Alexander Tabrizi. "I've got someone I want you to meet."
Thirty minutes later, Alexander shows up. From Iran, Tabrizi has lived in the United States since 1970, when he was 14 years of age, he says.
David insults Alex about coloring his hair. David says Alex fears getting old. David aggressively slings the barbs Alex's way but the Persian doesn't fight back. He's a gentle soul, a superb schmoozer and a loveable hustler. He's produced about 15 films for negligible box office
Alex: "I've always had a passion to be in the entertainment business. I started as a [rock drummer] musician [in the Florida group Goldfinger] and actor but I realized that I liked to be in charge."
Luke: "Which of your movies has had the most meaning for you?"
Alex: "The first one is always the big one. You think it is a miracle. Screwballs . Roger Corman was in favor of helping me. The picture was made for $500,000 and grossed $12 million domestically. It became a franchise. They made four movies back to back. I didn't get a piece of it. To see my name as executive producer on the screen was exciting."
The credit doesn't show up on Imdb.com.
Tabrizi's first credit on Imdb.com is as co-producer of the 1985 film "The Lost Empire." According to a review on Imdb.com, the film "is trash in perfection! The costumes (none of the female "actress" wears one...), the set decoration and the special F/X are more than lousy (even for the 80s standard!) and will remind you sometimes on the old Ed Wood-movies!"
Alexander next made the poorly reviewed 1987 movie Beach Fever. Also in 1987, he chose to associate produce Body Slam (directed by Hal Needham) instead of Oliver Stone's Platoon. Other projects Tabrizi worked to make but never succeeded include On Golden Pond, and Total Recall.
SpiderPants writes on Imdb.com about Body Slam: "Whomever wrote this film is in dire need of some intelligence. But that utter lack of brains, that total undeniable inability to comprehend anything filled with wit or satire, made for one of the most laughable films I have ever witnessed in my life."
Alex: "When the American Film Market [a week-long film festival in Santa Monica for independent films] started , became a film buyer. I also became head of [acquisition for] a video company, Media Home Entertainment. It was the first time the industry recognized the value of video."
Tabrizi helped produce 1984's Exterminator 2 for Cannon and MGM.
Alex: "We not only acquired the videos of other companies, we financed our own. I had access to about a dozen [major] projects including On Golden Pond, Total Recall, and Platoon. I tried to get them funded. When you lose the rights on projects, you move on.
"This was my aggressive period. I was part of a distribution company and an independent producer."
David lowers the volume on the football games and listens to our interview with a smirk on his face.
Luke: "Do you have people in the industry that you look to as mentors, that you try to model yourself after?"
Alex: "David Lean, William Wyler, Peter Yates, Steven Spielberg, Brian de Palma, Martin Scorsese... These guys had tremendous affect."
Luke: "Any one movie most break your heart?"
Alex: "I had Platoon in my hand and I tried for one year to get it financed. I believed in it so much. I even wanted to make it in Kenya. I raised $4.5 million to do it. I had a choice - either make Body Slam with Hal Needham as director (fresh after Cannonball Run) and Oliver Stone and Platoon. So I decided to go with Body Slam. The same company financed both of them. Platoon grossed $400 million and won a Best Picture Oscar and Body Slam [Alex's biggest budgeted film] opened [theatrically] in one state - Nevada.
"I didn't think that another gory Vietnam film was going to do that well. Nobody was buying. It had a bunch of unknown actors in it. Who was Charlie Sheen? Who was Tom Berenger? Willem DeFoe? Oliver Stone had just finished Salvador."
Luke: "Why does David diss you so much?"
David: "When did I diss him? All I said was, I want you to meet Alexander. You will find out all you need to know about Alexander from Alexander. You should know him because Luke has an interest in producers.
"The amazing Mr. Tabrizi - the man with a different hair color [every time you see him] and all the special accessories of Alex being Alex."
David takes us to lunch at the crowded Urth Caffee on Melrose Blvd. We meet their friend Dr. Steve Burres, a plastic surgeon who appears to have had a frightening number of plastic surgeries on his face. The scars are rampant.
Steve writes exploitation screenplays that have yet to be produced.
Steve: "Alex has people skills unlike any I've seen before."
Alexander spots a cute girl walking by. "Hi honey, how are you?"
Steve laughs: "He's a great communicator. He could get a phone number from a fire hydrant."
Luke to Alex: "David says you were at a bar showing the Miami Dolphins football game and you were passing out your card to every attractive woman in the place?"
Alex: "I don't pass them out. They ask for it. Politely I give it to them. They want to know who I am."
Luke: "David, is that your recollection?"
David: "No. Alex works the fair sex really hard. He does get numbers. Remarkably they do hang around him."
Dr. Jolly writes on Imdb.com about Alex's 1993 film Save Me: "[Harry] Hamlin and [Lysette] Anthony are having sex every five minutes, and soon, the movie becomes another Cinemax romp fest. Being male, I did enjoy seeing the naked Anthony a few times, but visual stimulus can only last so long. Hamlin and Ironside are TV actors, which means they are stuck in character roles (in this case as lawyers which is even worse). Overall, if you flip over to the channel playing this one and catch Anthony nude, you're lucky, because it's the only reason to watch this one."
Alexander is a master schmoozer and has elaborate theories on male and female psychology. David and Steve crack up.
Steve: "Alex is friendly with everyone. He never has anything bad to say about anyone. I don't know if you want to put those things. Mostly you're probably looking to put in something nasty."
Alex: "Elie Samaha is a hard-working guy but he's not to be trusted. I had to sue him. I won.
"Mark Damon is one of my favorite salesmen ever. He financed a couple of movies [Save Me and Cyborg 2] and gave me a fair shake. He has a great taste for marketing. You don't see that much money from him but he does well."
Luke keeps prompting Alex with names. "Stacey Snider?"
Alex: "I met her through Ron Meyer and Jeff Korshack [head of business affairs at Universal]. She's always been wonderful to me. She always assigns top executives to work with me project by project.
"I met Ron Meyer when he was an agent with William Morris in 1977. We became good friends."
Luke: "How was your one experience as a director?"
Alex: "Beach Fever was my original idea. I put it together with a semi-professional team..but somehow my team did not support me as I had hoped. Believe me, I am better than a lot of them [directors] out there."
Luke nudges the conversation to David Poland. Alex says many nice things about him and adds, "He should do a lot better than where he is at now."
David to Alex: "What percentage of people you run into want to be in the industry?"
Alex: "Eighty five percent."
Steve and David rib Alex about his unwillingness to pick up checks. Today he pays David Poland $5 for his bowl of soup.
Alex: "Everybody in Hollywood likes to be taken care of."
Luke: "Do you resent the number of Jews in the industry?"
Alex, a secular Muslim: "No. I like them all."
Luke: "To what do you attribute David's fascination with your hair?"
Alex: "David likes grey hair on people."
David: "No, I like colors that are naturally in nature."
Steve: "People constantly adjust their appearance. When you go out in the sun to get a tan, you're adjusting your appearance."
Luke: "To what do you attribute Hollywood's wall of silence to your screenplays?"
Steve: "Because I am a nobody. Hollywood would rather do a fifth remake of Peter Pan than take a nobody's script."
Luke: "Have you ever offered Alex any of your scripts?"
Steve: "I sure have. And he couldn't raise $200,000 for me to make another beach movie [The Making Of Bikini Space Aliens] with lots of nudity in it."
Alex: "I'm not interested in making low budget movies. It's hard work and there's no money involved, particularly sex and exploitation."
Steve offered the movie to famed distributor Omar Kaczmarczyk, but Omar demanded the lead role in the movie before he'd finance it. But I'm not allowed to write about this. Steve and David are cackling.
Steve: "I was going to put up half the money... Then this guy who looked like Jabbar the Hun [Omar] was going to be the leading man in the movie, I decided this wasn't going to be."
Luke to Steve: "Do you ever go around to chicks and hand out business cards and say, 'Your breasts look a little saggy?'"
Steve: "I never get patients from handing out business cards. They need to hear about you from somebody else."
David explains to Steve: "The fifth question Luke asked was whether I'd ever received a blowjob from a publicist in exchange for killing a story."
Steve is most fond of pursuing attractive members of the fairer sex.
Luke to Alex: "Are there any films you've made in which you were not happy with the creative result?"
Alex: "Almost every one of them. Most of it is about not having enough money and time."
Luke: "Are you embarrassed by any of the films you made?"
Alex: "Not at all."
Luke: "David, what do you think are Alex's strengths as a producer?"
David: "He's very tall [about 5'7"] and his hair is fabulous.
"Alex is a relationship builder and a consensus builder and he brings people together. So many people put up with the foibles that Alex has because ultimately he brings people together. You meet interesting people when you spend time with Alex. Like so much of Hollywood, he's a hustler, which can be said of the people who made Carolco. Terminator 3 is a hustle deal. There's no artistic inspiration there. It's all about money. It's a picture they can pre-finance overseas. They've already paid for the movie. It will probably be the most expensive movie ever made but it's already in profit because of overseas sales.
"Alexander has grown steadily over the years from Beach Fever level. It's all based on his relationships."
Alex: "If you don't have a dream, you have nothing in this world. Eventually I'm going to hit big. Winston Churchill said, failure to failure is not a loss. When you lose your passion, that's a loss. I have not lost my passion."
David Poland orders a large slice of cheesecake. Alex and Steve take large spoonfulls.
Alex: "David is not afraid of gaining weight."
Steve: "Alex is a healthy eater and he brushes his teeth after every meal and he does not have a cavity in his mouth."
Alex: "One of the best ways to help yourself healthwise... You have no idea how much your mouth breeds bacteria. If you don't clean, that bacteria causes sickness in your system. You have to spend a minimum of five minutes a day to clean your mouth."
Luke: "Are you afraid of the Gay Mafia?"
Alex: "I am not afraid. They are great people."
Luke: "David, what did you think of Alex's movie Strip Search?"
David: "Strip Search is an interesting picture because it is schizophrenic. It's a crazed sexual art film about the underbelly of Montreal. At the same time, it's a low budget crap fest.
"I saw Beach Fever before I knew Alexander. USA played it all night because it was such a fabulous piece of junk.
"I met Alex through watching a Miami Dolphins game at a bar."
Luke: "Have you ever slipped him a script of yours?"
David: "One time I gave him one of my low-budget horror comedy screenplays but he didn't really get it."
Alex: "It wasn't ready. The script didn't work. David has good concepts but that is not enough."
Steve: "I've never met a girl through writing a script."
Luke: "Do you prefer real or fake breasts?"
Steve: "Real breasts still have the advantage."
Alex says he doesn't fear growing old.
David: "I think he fears anyone else perceiving him getting old. He feels he must be young to attract young women. The film industry is not kind to people who are aging."
Alex: "Show business is to be forever young."
Alex prefers to date women aged 21-30. David prefers to date women 25-40.
Alex: "I've found that women choose you, not you them. They do tend to hang out with me. Last night I had dinner with four of them at Jerry's Deli."
David and Steve wonder who picked up the check. Alex paid part of the bill.
Alex wants to settle down, marry and have kids in the next two years. David and Steve double over with laughter.
David: "One of the best things Alex is suited for is child rearing."
Alex says he does not do drugs and he does not drink. He loves Las Vegas "because they give you a double whammy of oxygen [in the hotels] and I get high from it."
Luke: "Do you visit the brothels in Nevada?"
Alex: "Not at all. I've never paid for sex."
David: "Alex has not paid for anything at all."
Luke: "How many women have you been with in your life?"
Alex won't answer.
Steve aggressively to Luke: "Why did you ask? Did you go to journalism school?"
Luke: "A little bit."
Steve: "Did you drop out?"
Luke: "Everyone told me not to major in it."
Steve: "So you are an educational fuck-up?
"Why should any of us read your book? Do you have any verification of any of this information that you've gotten from Alex? Do we have any case to rely on your integrity to properly portray Alex? Do you have any credentials that we can rely on that you will be accurate?"
Luke: "More questions."
Steve: "We haven't gotten any answers yet."
Luke: "I'm not giving any answers."
David: "He's [Steve] not bitter at all."
Steve: "I'm just asking. If he's going to ask you about your blowjobs, whatever..."
Alex: "To say you have been with so many women is insulting to women. It's not a manly thing to say. It's how many women respect you. All the ladies I know, they're all my friends. If you're sexual, it's private.
"These guys [David and Steve], if they see a woman, they never see her again. I see them over and over."
David says that's an inaccurate assessment of his love life.
Alex: "I can walk around the block and run into three beautiful women and they will say hi to me. Can you do that?"
Alex: "You know why they say hi to me? I'll teach you one day."
Steve: "He's right. They will. He has a gift. He can walk up to a table of five girls and start talking out of nowhere. The rest of us would feel that they would shut us down or ignore us and he will break through that barrier. And they will give him their phone number."
Alex asks David if he should see Red Dragon.
David: "You'll probably think it's ok."
David thinks it is a piece of crap.
Luke: "How would you describe Alex's taste?"
David: "Incomprehensible at times. Alex likes gentler films."
Alex: "I don't like dark edgy movies. I like simpler stories with a good message, a good soul, a good heart."
I'm with Alex on that. We both like Big Fat Greek Wedding while neither Steve nor David have seen the film.
David says he cried at a number of films at the Toronto Film Festival.
Alex says he's unbothered that his films have received brutal reviews.
Steve wonders if Roger Ebert praises so many black movies because he has a black wife.
Luke: "Do you think if critics gave more thumbs down to black movies there would be another LA Riots?"
Alex, Steve and David say that's ridiculous.
Luke: "Do you feel intimidated when reviewing certain ethnic movies that the group might come to your home and burn it down if they don't like your review?"
David: "That's absurd. I do think that reviewers are sensitive that they might be accused of racism if they go after certain films."
David Poland writes Luke: "Just noticed that I had been demoted on your links list...Yeah, yeah, yeah... you and your sex questions... now this!!!!"