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Hollywood Handbook

The following is satire.

I found the following on www.moviecitynews.com (written by a Craig McPherson):

Here is the ultimate guide to help you find the right company for you in Hollywood, in terms of where you might fit in Hollywood pending your personality, goals, and desires -- for those of you who have just graduated from college or you would like to start a new career...Good luck, and make those parents proud!

Creative Artists Agency: Are you hot? Are you boyishly handsome? Do you hate reading? Do you enjoy sex with 50 year olds and 20 year olds as well, or quite frankly all ages? Are you a switch hitter? Do you enjoy sex in offices and have committed adultery on several occasions? Are you fond of embezzlement? Have you been caught having sex by your wife with another man? If you have answered yes to atleast two of the above mentioned questions than Creative Artists Agency may be the place for you!

International Creative Management: Were you a nerd in high school? Are you overweight, have skin problems, or suffer from male pattern baldness? Have you recently had cosmetic surgery, and pawned the charges off on your company's expense report? Do you actually enjoy reading, but only the first thirty pages of everything? Do you like avant garde independent movies that know one really cares about, and you don't really understand, but make people believe you do? Look no further than ICM!

William Morris Agency: Have you practiced incest or thought about it? Here at William Morris, incest is the name of the game as agents share beds with clients, agents share beds with assistants, who share beds with mail room workers, and mail room workers will share beds with anyone and everyone that will make them a junior agent including bike messengers, Fed Ex, UPS, and DHL drivers!

United Talent Agency: Are you a good liar? Are you an alcoholic? Are you addicted to any sort of drugs? Have you been to rehab? Do you suffer from depression or low self-esteem? Are you always yelling at people, and fond of vulgarity including racist and sexist comments? Look no further than UTA!

Universal Pictures: Do you love money? Do you fantasize about having orgies, and selling your kids for money so you can get that vacation home in Tahoe? Do you daydream about turning everything into a movie even a McDonalds happy meal into some sort of franchise movie idea? Universal specializes in making money not movies, and money is the name of the game here. And you even get a discount at the theme park if you become an employee, so you can save those millions you make and have stupid southern hicks come out to LA and pay to ride that new McDonalds happy meal ride!

Paramount Pictures: Are you a lesbian? Are you BI-curious? Do you like to be sexually harassed by really old granny looking women with bad breath who refuse to shave their arm pits and legs and fight for women's rights? Do you like to take something great, and just ruin it for no reason whatsoever other than trying to put your "stamp" on it? Are you always paranoid that someone is out to get you, and there usually is? Do you always keep your door closed and have hidden agendas and alternate motives? Are you friends with Robert Evans?

Dreamworks Pictures: Are you gay? Have you been raped? Do you like S&M, role playing, bondage? Do you like to be raped or like raping others? Do you like gang bang sessions on yachts and vacation homes in Aspen? Have you slept with Michael DeLuca? Are you willing? Have people said you look like a sixteen year old high school jock? Do you have dirt on Michael Ovitz? If you've said yes to atleast one of these questions, than break our that tie, or prada dress, because you my friend have scored an interview! Dreamworks can make those dreams come true!

Walt Disney Company: Are you cheap? Do you count every cent, and save every nickel? Do you recycle your Christmas presents by giving them to others for their birthdays? Do you lie on your time card and try and get more overtime? Has money become an endless obsession for you? Do you have dirt on Joe Roth? Are you friends with M. Night Shyamalan? The Walt Disney company specializes in helping you with assisting you in those issues, and teams you up with people who share similar problems, in a loving Machiavellian sort of family.

Warner Bros.: Do you follow others and are afraid of your own opinion? Were you the kid in high school who bought the new Jordan sneakers only after six other kids on the block already had them? Did you always want to join the "in crowd" but no matter how much money you spent you just were never taken seriously? Were you part of the Jason Priestly family in Beverly Hills 90210, that never really fit in Beverly Hills? Do you always feel like you'll never be a part of anything serious, but always keep trying? Warners will be a great home for you!

MGM: Do you like living week by week? Do you only have a checking account? Do you not care when your next meal, or paycheck will be? Are you a freeloader? Do you enjoy taco bell, and El Pollo Loco for business dinners? Do you subscribe to magazines, DVD clubs, and music clubs with fake names so you never have to pay the fees? Do you have any ideas for another James Bond movie? Do you think you can play James Bond? MGM has been known to be the best in all these areas and will definitely make you feel right at home!

Miramax Films: Are you in your 20's? Are you willing to work for minimum wage? Are you willing to put in 90 hour work weeks without overtime? Do you like to create your own title to make yourself look important? Do you like small cozy offices, and don't care about promotions or raises? Do you enjoy being a slave to fat cats who take credit for anything you do? Miramax is a special place for those with extremely low self-esteem, who are clueless about what they really want to do, and will settle for anything. Are you a filmmaker whose film opened in Sundance in 1991, which Miramax bought, and has yet to release? Are you friends with Gwyenth Paltrow? They even have offices on both sides of the coast, so you can surf or ski!

New Line Cinema: Do you enjoy sex in public places? Do you like cocaine and expensive call girls? Were you part of a frat during college? Do you like to hire your friends whether or not they're even qualified for the job? Do you like to dress down by wearing army pants and baseball caps during meetings? Do you have spare keys to Mike DeLuca's house so you can steal his scripts and bring them over to Bob Shaye? New Line is one big frat where you can sleep with anyone, drink and smoke as much your body can take, and get endless credit for things you had nothing to do with!

The Firm: Are you still confused with your life? Are you a slacker? Do you hate working, and would rather make money off other people and sit back and do nothing? Do you feel artists are annoying and wait three days to return their phone calls? Do you hate watching movies, hate reading scripts, and would rather just be a middle man that really gets no credit, but always want that 10% in return? The Firm specializes in doing nothing really, just sitting back, and getting in the way of clients and studios from helping to make movies, just trying to make that undeserved dollar for themselves! You even get a business card that says, "Manager!"

With the help of THE HOLLYWOOD HANDBOOK you're sure to fit in somewhere!! Good luck, and remember to always watch your back, young scholar, you never know who's breathing down your neck, and ready to insert a six inch knife in your lower back to get your job!! THE HOLLYWOOD HANDBOOK will be featured as a prologue for the second autobiography to be written by Robert Evans entitled The Kid Stays On The Lot.

Craig McPherson lives in Reseda, with his wife and three kids. He is the author of numerous unproduced screenplays and as worked as a bike messenger, studio security guard, tour guide, office manager, 2nd development assistant, and personal assistant to Bette Midler.

NY Times Flattering Joe Roth Profile

A few thoughts on Laura Holson's profile of Joe Roth, head of the mini-studio Revolution.

* Joe Roth must be the most over-rated studio executive. What's he ever done to justify the hype? Revolution's record of films is not impressive commercially or critically.

* Roth's reputation comes largely through the media, who Roth courts. He returns reporters' phone calls and give relatively straight answers. Journalists want to stay on his good side, have him keep returning their calls, therefore they write gently about him.

* He's a lousy director but he can't resist repeatedly trying and failing.

Laura Holson writes 10/27/02: Mr. Roth had the notion three years ago that there was a better way to make films that were both inexpensive and entertaining. But after Revolution's first releases, many critics said that Mr. Roth, a former chairman of the Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox, had forgotten the entertaining part.

One thing that Mr. Roth has always had going for him is his well-known relationships with actors and directors.

"If you call Michael Eisner I will never talk to you again," Mr. Roth growled at a reporter during lunch in New York, referring to his old boss, the chief executive of Disney.

Why Am I Home On A Saturday Night?

Pumpkin writes: And surely the Jewish community sponsors events this evening that you could go to without spending money that you lack. All in the name of continuity of course. Don't the jews have stuff going on that you could be doing? Or do they have this stuff on Sundays? I doubt it - Saturday is the night for getting the women drunk, and tonight there is an extra hour for pouring so much booze down their gulping thirsty throats that they would not even know your hovel from a room at some fancy pants beverley hills hotel.

Donating Party Of My Lung

I'm considering donating part of my lung to help a friend. I will be screened next week at USC. I figure if I do this, then I'll help my friend and prove to myself, to my religious community and to the world that I am a worthy person.

Rob writes: No offense Luke but aren't organ donors supposed to be healthy? Giving up a section of your lung will only further debilitate you. Think twice my friend. Besides you already gave your foreskin to the faith. Keep the lung.

Fred writes: Luke, I'm planning on taking acting classes. I want to be an actor, and I need a new nose. Mine is too ethnic, and heck, you're trying to fit in. Could we trade?

What's It Like Hanging Out With Chaim Amalek?

Khunrum writes: "Come now Luke...Enough of these teasers. What are you and Chaim doing? You two Yiddisha rakes must be tearing up the social scene."

I can't get into details because Chaim is a private man, but this article on ESPN.com gives insight into the private hell that is the life of Amalek:

Esera Tuaolo, who played nine years in the NFL as a defensive lineman, will reveal he is gay in an interview to be shown Tuesday on HBO's "Real Sports" and in the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Tuaolo Tuaolo, who played for five NFL teams, said a major reason for his early retirement in 1999 was the difficulty and frustration that came with keeping his sexual orientation a secret. "They didn't know who Esera Tuaolo is," he said in the interview with HBO. "What they saw was an actor." Tuaolo, 34, said players routinely told gay jokes in the locker room.

"They made me go further and further into depression, further and further into shame.

"When I'm driving like over a 100 (mph), maybe I could just like turn that wheel, just turn that wheel so I could just end it all," Tuaolo said in the interview.

When [Shannon] Sharpe was asked what would have happened if Tuaolo came out while he was still playing in the NFL, Sharpe said: "He would have been eaten alive and he would have been hated for it."

CHAIM AMALEK writes: My advice to you all is NEVER to sleep over at Luke's place. First of all, there is the bathroom issue - 'nuff said.

As a host, Luke sure ain't the most. No matter how many times I visit, not once has he thought to invite a hottie to tag along to provide me with a bit of heterosexual companionship over dinner to balance out Luke. (Speaking of whom regarding the issue of "balance", more pharmacological work needs to be done here, Luke. That maniacal laugh does not inspire confidence.)

MEMO TO MARC: He tends to become the Judgemental SuperJew when around REAL Juden like us. For example, he starts lecturing me on the evils of marrying a shiksa. In short, do not expect a good time around the guy.

Anita Busch

I heard at the LA Press Club this week that the man arrested for threatening Anita Busch is a Gambino crime family associate and was friendly with producer Julius Nasso, a friend turned enemy of Steven Seagal. This is not mentioned in either the LA or NY Times reports.

Nikki Finke Tackles Miramax

Love her or hate her, Nikki Finke is always an interesting read. She doesn't pull any punches. Here's an excerpt from her latest column in the LA Weekly:

As with Disney under Eisner, Miramax's high employee turnover rate is due to the Weinsteins' micromanaging and mercurial personalities. But the twosome are "becoming progressively nastier on a scale that people who have worked for them for 13 years have never seen," Gill told pals. "There's an enormous amount of tension there." Gill described the Monday after the disastrous opening weekend of Four Feathers, a desultory costume drama Miramax shared with Paramount, during which Harvey assembled 20 employees: "You are all fucking worthless. I do more in an hour before sunrise than you get done collectively in an entire day. I wish I could be as lazy as all of you."

Jeffrey Wells vs Patrick Goldstein

Jeffrey Wells writes: The first thing that jumped out of Patrick Goldstein's Oscar prediction piece ("It's time to get inside Oscar's little golden head," LOS ANGELES TIMES, 10.22) was the suggestion that Oscar season has arrived by virtue of the fact that Goldstein is now picking some favorites. The other was the notion that Oscar season has therefore arrived "early"...eight or nine days before November rolls around, four weeks before Thanksgiving, and just over nine weeks before New Year's Eve.

Really? Because I've been spitballing contenders since last April (and a lot of my predictions, ill-informed as some of them were when they first appeared, have been fairly prescient, if I do say so myself), the more aggressive publicists began figuring out their Oscar campaign strategies last July and August, and the finalists started to really come into focus just after the Toronto Film Festival ended five weeks ago.

But these pale in comparison to the biggest wrongo, which was Goldstein leaving Spike Jonze's ADAPTATION (which I saw yesterday morning) completely off his list, which was broken down into "favorites," "contenders" and "longshots." Goldstein has seen this Screen Gems release also, and he's either blind or too timid to stick his neck out, perhaps because his sources haven't been hopping up and down about it. And if they haven't, they're blind too.

LUKE WONDERS: Is this the same Jeffrey Wells who wrote a couple of weeks ago: "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.)"

In other words, he's saying there's no necessary connection between artistic excellence and Oscar awards. So why write about who will an Oscar? Who cares outside of the self-absorbed in the industry? Oscar awards only make a significant box office difference to under-publicized independent films like Monsters Ball.

Producer Evgeny Afineevsky

Patrick Runkle wrote a hilarious article about Yoram Globus and Menahem Golan on Inksyndicate.com. Here's an excerpt:

Without missing a beat, Golan’s film company became New Cannon Incorporated, with a shiny new version of the Cannon logo and the same old production slate. Golan’s partner in this company is young Israeli filmmaker Evgeny Afineevsky.

Reflecting on the legacy of the Cannon name, Afineevsky said, "We are doing a remodeling and reconstruction of the old [Cannon] stuff, with new beautiful stories of our time. Menahem wants to use the same concepts of low-budget movies with great stories and slowly rebuild Cannon to make it New Cannon."

Afineevsky promises that one of New Cannon’s titles, most likely Death Game, will play in theaters internationally this fall. Of New Cannon’s dometic theatrical chances, Afineevsky said, "If we make a good movie, you never know. Menahem is talking to people; I am talking to people. He has done it before, and you never know what can happen."

I MET WITH Evgeny Afineevsky at his New Cannon office September 30, 2002.

Born and raised in Kazan, Russia, he moved to Israel in 1991 at age 17. He came to Los Angeles in 1999 and set up Menahem Golan's new film production company, New Cannon. At the end of 2001, the two went their separate ways.

Evgeny speaks with a thick Russian accent: "In this town, I've realized, Menahem burned a lot of bridges. Menahem is not an easy person [to get along with]. He doesn't listen. He makes major mistakes. It's not the way I want to handle people. I don't see action movies in my life. I see comedies. I see beautiful dramas like we did in India. In a few years, I'd like to do a beautiful movie about the Holocaust. The Romanian government has offered me a grant of $1 million for this Holocaust movie. The Israeli Holocaust Foundation has offered another $500,000.

"I am not rushing. I am going step by step. I am researching what people want to see. Menahem started the martial arts and ninja [boom]. He invented Jean Claude Van Damme. Right now with all the problems with terrorism, it's painful, and it is not so interesting to see all fighting [movies]. After a hard day, people want something that will lift their spirits. I went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding and people were laughing. The jokes were simple."

Luke: "Do you have any best Menahem Golan stories?"

Evgeny: "I have a lot. We were meeting the prime minister of India. I created the meeting. Menahem tried to involve the prime minister of India in the moviemaking business and why it is important to support the industry. The prime minister is much older than Menahem. His mind is on Kashmir and Pakhistan. They have a huge country with problems with people living in the streets. Yes, Bollywood is number one in making [the largest number of] movies. Why does Bollywood need to be supported when they have their own money to make movies?

"It was funny. Through the whole conversation, Menahem was trying to explain, explain, explain, to him. In the end, Menahem, who likes to jump, said, 'Maybe you will give some message to the Israeli nation?' And here the prime minister jumped from his chair. 'No. I am not a profit. I can't give any message.' Everybody in Israel laughed about this.

"I was in Cannes this year. Menahem and I had a fight. Later that day, we were at a party and all of Menahem's ex-partners were there - me, Yoram Globus, Armand Gazarian... Everyone was sitting at a different table and not talking to each other."

Luke: "Have you met Yoram?"

Evgeny: "My office in Tel Aviv was in front of Yoram's office. Yoram and I are not talking because of my relationship with Menahem. Yoram's wife has a casting agency in Tel Aviv."

Luke: "What are the reputations of Menahem and Yoram in Israel?"

Evgeny: "Some people are afraid to work with Menahem because of money stories. Yoram is different. Yoram owns cinemas. He's a businessman. Menahem is upside down. During the period of Cannon, Menahem was the movie maker and Yoram was the businessman. Menahem can make money and immediately lose it.

"Menahem and I separated because I could see he did not care about quality. I have a European education. I try to do things perfectly. Menahem has no patience. He has a passion to make movies but he rushes to make them and finish them and make another one. He doesn't seem to care what happens with the movie.

"We've just finished Return From India. He doesn't care about festivals. All my fights with him were about festivals. He doesn't want to give it to various festivals. It's stupid because festivals make publicity for a movie. His mind is already on an action movie in Thailand. He's found another investor who's willing to lose his money."

Luke: "What's your sense about how Israelis are perceived in Hollywood?"

Evgeny: "When you are foreign, you sometimes feel that you are out of the family of Hollywood. But you still have a lot of big name producers like Haim Saban and Arnon Milchan. You still hear bad things about Israelis in the movie industry. I heard a lot of terrible stories about Israelis that Menahem invented. Having Menahem's name attached to me was a terrible thing because Menahem was like a father for all these Israelis... When you talk to some of the major talent agencies, and you mention Menahem's name, they close the door.

"I had a good relationship with Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks, producers of America Beauty. I introduced Menahem to them. It separated us for a long time afterwards. MGM people were more than happy when I told them that I had separated from Menahem. A lot of people were happy that I had separated from him.

"Menahem gave many actors their start. Sharon Stone's first movie was [1985's] King Solomon's Mines, produced by Menahem.

"Menaham is funny but he can be tough and hard if he wants. He can destroy a person's life.

"I changed the New Cannon name to New Generation because I don't want people to make an association between me and Menahem. New Cannon is a good name for a video label. They know that Cannon makes Chuck Norris movies and they love those types of movies. They don't know about the stories behind the movies [of people not getting paid]... To them, New Cannon is a label like Paramount and MGM."

Luke: "Is it difficult to get access to stars through agents?"

Evgeny: "It would be if I used Menahem or Yoram's name. It's easier to be somebody new in Hollywood than to be attached to somebody old."

Evgeny shows me video of him and Menahem visiting the Indian prime minister in New Delhi in October 2001. The video was widely played on Israeli TV.

Evgeny and Menahem wear ancient Indian dress - white pajamas. The prime minister's assistant asks Menahem why he didn't shoot his movie, The Return From India (based on the novel by A.B. Yehoshua), in Hindi, the Indian language. Instead, Menahem shot in English and Hebrew using mainly Israeli actors.

Menahem: "In India, they are used to dubbing. You can do it very cheap. But America doesn't accept dubbing."

Evgeny tells me: "Menahem couldn't remember the Prime Minister's name, so every five minutes he was asking for his name. Even where we're driving to the PM's house, he's asking the driver for his name."

Menahem keeps repeating the PM's name inaccurately.

Menahem poses for a picture with the PM.

Evgeny tells me: "Menahem thought he could show this picture to go everywhere and to do whatever he wants. He was arrested. Menahem thinks he's a god. It's usually like this. Menahem thinks he's a god."

Tape shows Menahem telling the PM: "This is the biggest film done by my company and it was done in India. It's a love story. It's not political. It's not about wars... What I would like is for the Prime Minister to give a message to the people of Israel..."

PM demurs: "I am not a profit."

Menahem: "I don't know if you know, but many Israeli youngsters come here to India."

PM nods. He knows this well. "After military service."

Menahem: "This book is published in America by Doubleday and it paints India in a beautiful light.

"I feel like Israel and India have a lot in common. A relationship between such a great country such as yours and what we've built in the last 30 years in Israel..."

PM: "I know what your home means after centuries of hardship... You represent an old civilization and way of life.. India's relationship are friendly. I visited Israel after the 1967 War. I would love to go there again."

Menahem: "I will send this message to Mr. Sharon, our prime minister, and I'm sure he will invite you. I'm also speaking as a film man. India is the number one country in the world for making [the largest number of] films. You make about 1000 films a year. We [Israel] make about 10-20 films a year. A co-production between Indian filmmakers and filmmakers from Israel would be advantageous...

"My government paid me a grant of $500,000 for this film Return From India."

I'm sure the PM already knows this but Menahem lectures him anyway about his own industry.

When Sharon, an Israeli cabinet minister, visited the US around 1990, he phoned Menahem Golan about his failing company Cannon and asked if there was anything he could do. That's the only time the two men have spoken according to Evgeny.

Menahem says his movie Return From India "gave wealth to many thousands" of Indians who worked on the film. Menahem's production spent about $500,000 in India.

Menahem tells the PM he was nominated for four Oscars. He never won.

Menahem: "My wish is to finish this film and to show it to the whole film. This is a story about the philosophy of India, the spirit of India. It's about peace and love. We need peace and love."

Evgeny: "Menahem loves to make movies, good or bad. Most of our fights with Menahem were because Menahem didn't care about the quality of the movie. Menahem would try to save money on things that you can't save money.

"We shot in this outlying part of India, the end of the world, where Kipling wrote the Jungle Book. We had big fights. If you are here spending money to show places that nobody has seen before, Menahem's rushing. It's our disconnection. He's the old generation. We're the new generation. That's why I've called my company New Generation. Our video arm is still called New Cannon, because many people seek Cannon videos."

Luke: "What's the film industry like in Israel?"

Evgeny: "It's bad. Israel only makes about ten movies a year. Israel doesn't even have labs to develop the film. So we have to send our negatives to Romania, Bulgaria or London. I'm a member of the Israeli Academy [Israel's equivalent of America's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars]. I was invited to the screenings [for Israel's version of the Oscars]. There weren't many quality movies. Menahem has the reputation in Israel as the father of the industry but he's squandered that. Not many like him."

Evgeny shot a live heart surgery for Return From India. He screened it for me and I felt squeamish. Return stars Israeli's top stars including Assi Dayan, son of Israeli war hero Moshe Dayan, and singer Riki Gal.

Menahem and Evgeny signed papers in Israel that they would not show a suttee (where a widow is burned at the funeral of her husband) but they portray one anyway in the movie "because it was in the book. It's a demonstration of love. They believe they are saving the widow's soul by allowing her to sacrifice herself."

Marat from Tel Aviv writes on Imdb.com: "Menahem Golan hasn't directed a movie in Israel for 25 years. This film version of A. B. Yehoshua best-seller [Return From India] was Golan's dream for many years and the bottom line is it was worth waiting for. The story evolves around a young Israeli doctor, who comes to India determined to bring back the sick daughter of his boss, but finishes falling in love with her mother. Fast pacing, hot erotic scenes, nice plot. There are some flaws in the adaptation, sometimes the pacing is too fast, but this movie is certainly a success. After 40 years of making movies, Golan finally made his best one."

Evgeny wants to give George Bush a copy of his new movie Crime and Punishment, based on a script by Menahem Golan of the Fyodor Dostoevsky classic novel. Bush reportedly finished reading the novel a few months ago. Evgeny says he has friends in the Bush administration.

Evgeny plans to go into production this fall on a comedy - "Oy vey - My Son is Gay." Two families, one Jewish and one Italian, struggle to come to terms that their sons are gay and in love. "We've had the script for a long time. Menahem has dreamed of making it. I gave the script to Lily Tomlin and she gave it to Lainie Kazan."

Luke: "What's the budget range for your movies?"

Evgeny: "$1-6 million."

I spent an hour watching Golan's rendering of Crime and Punishment and it was so bad I had to stop watching.

A friend had a similar reaction. "It's a horrible movie. It was boring. The acting was bad. Menahem Golan should not direct. Can you believe him having the chutzpah of adapting a Dostoevsky novel? The dialogue is horrible. How could the actors agree to such bullsh--?"

Dating Advice From Your Moral Leader

My friend Rob collects tape of a certain genre. He's accumulated an enormous collection over the years. They creep out his girlfriend. He asked my advice and I told him to dump them.

Rob updates: "It was weird. I told her I'd dump them and she said to forget it, that it would cause too much resentment. In any case I have started to slowly dissassemble my life's work ... *sniff* I sent a few off to an old roommate today.... But before I dump them all I want Fred to advise me on any legal recourse that I may have if we break up after the porn is disbursed. I feel she should pay half!"

Fred writes: Sounds to me like this calls for something very similar to a prenuptual agreement. Figure out the value of the collection, and call for her to compensate you for 1/2 its value if the relationship should cease.

Alternatively, perhaps you should put the collection into escrow, and await the outcome of the relationship. I would be glad to be the escrow holder, depending upon what kind of collection it is.

Alternatively, you could simply put the collection in storage, tell her its been thrown out, and if the relationship ceases, take it back out of storage. (That's actually my real advice.)

Let The Healing Begin

It's been a long time since I've said I love you
It's been a while since I've said anything at all
Captive in a fortress of my choosing
And it's time that I tore down the wall

(Sam Glaser, Lift My Eyes, from his CD A DAY IN THE LIFE available at www.samglaser.com)

I lift up my eyes to the moutnains, from where will my help come? My help comes from Hashem, creator of heaven and earth (Psalms 121:1-2)

Even The New York Cab Drivers Are Ready For King Moshiach

The group of Tmimim in the taxi had almost reached their destination when one of them realized they had forgotten to mention the Sheva Mitzvos to the cab driver. After all, they were going on mivtzaim; why shouldn’t they take the opportunity to speak with the driver?

"Here’s your money," said one of the bachurim as he paid their fare. "Do something good with it to hasten the revelation of Moshiach."

The gentile cab driver responded with a big smile and said, "I already have my Messiah…"

The bachur was momentarily stunned until the driver removed something from his pocket – a "7 Laws for 70 Nations" card about the Seven Noachide Laws, with the Rebbe’s picture on it. "Here it is," he said proudly. "Here’s my Messiah…"

This story is only one of many being told by shluchim and Anash all over the world involving the Sheva Mitzvos Bnei Noach and non-Jews’ increasing willingness to accept them. These stories demonstrate that when the Rebbe said the world is ready for Moshiach to be revealed, he meant that the gentiles are also ready.

Khunrum writes: OHMYG-D!! The good Rebbe is in the Holy Water biz. I thought the Catholics had the market cornered on holy agua? Well, I guess there is always room for more competition. Luke, are you starting a franchise?

Luke says: See what the Rebbe has to say about miracles.

Ariel writes: May I humbly sugest that even though using the word dumb in front of goym on the link to Beis Moshiach article might actualy stir up the pot and increase the clickthrus on it as I don't doubt was your intention you should remove it from there in accordance with what is writen in the Rambam Laws of Kings i think end of chapter 8 saying that a person who accepts 7 Laws of Noach should be treated with respect and kindness by the Jewish comunity and individual Jews to the extent that if he becomes poor he should be supported out of the community funds. I don't think it's right to use the word dumb there as it says "fear of heaven is the foundation of wisdom" may I humbly sugest another headline for that link for example "Even The New York Cab Drivers Are Ready For King Moshiach" :-) still catchy but not insulting to anyone feelings making it 100% kosher.

ArielS770: the holiness of the Rebbe or other Tzadikim affects even physical things they come in contact with him, elevates them to the higher level.
ArielS770: that the reason for a real miracle performed thru a real Tzadik or someone conected to him is to elevate a person above the mundane and conncet him to the Tzadik (righteous person) who is conected to Hashem "with all his heart soul and property."

See the story of Naaman in the Bible in 2 Kings 5.

Levi Ben Avraham Boosts Rebbe King Moshiach

Due to overwhelming demand, I am increasing the amount of Torah on this website.

Ariel writes: I just went to search for my site on google to see if it's already listed there and i found that you are linking to it from your site (as i requested if you like it) Lukeford.net now comes up 8th is one searches for "Rebbe King Moshiach" Luke Ford ... The Rebbe King Moshiach Prophecies About Coming War With Iraq. Here is a collection of prophesies from the Sichos (Public Chassidic Discourses) of the Rebbe ...

Even though such keyword "Rebbe King Moshiach" 3 words together is very uncomonly entered on google nonethless less the fact that you linked to my site from yours which is listed on Google will as i understand their system will G-d willing raise the rating of Torah.5u.com on google and all other engines like Yahoo that use google I'd like to wish you Yashar Koach for that and Tizke le Mitzvot and may you be a ChaYaL (Chassid Yerei Shamaim and Lamdan) and may you have a brocha of GeFeN (Gizunt Parnossa tova & eventualy Nachas :-) I the merit of being a partner in the Rebbe King Moshiach's Mivtzoim Mivtza Moshiach (Moshiach Comaign) and conected with it mivtza of spreading the 7 Laws of Noach (another article from Beis Moshiach about it)and the rest of the mivtzoim conected to it:-) And may this hasten the revealation of the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach teikaf uMiad mamash:-) Yechi HaMelech! Brocha vehatzlocha!

Here is a collection of prophesies from the Sichos (Public Chassidic Discourses) of the Rebbe King Moshiach and from the Holy Zohar concerning coming war with Iraq.

Khunrum writes: Is this guy anything like the psychic line my buddy Pete used to run from Florida? Tell you what. We'll put Ms. Cleo up against Rebbe King Moshiach and take bets on whose prophesies are more accurate. Come on Luke. Put up or shut up.

CIA Orders Luke Into Iraq

This could be my last night alive. I just want to know that I've spent it to the fullest. I realize that this means different things to different people. To me it means earnest study of Torah and saying Tehillim (Psalms). G-d bless you in all of your legitimate endeavors.

Eric writes: Uhh, well, maybe this is sort of like "Mission Impossible", and if so you should choose not to accept this assignment.

"To me it means earnest study of Torah and saying Tehillim (Psalms)."

On 2nd thought you don't seem to have much to live for. Go ahead.

Luke says: Dear friends, the power and influence of lukeford.net is sadly waning. Nobody of the female persuasion offered to help me live my last night to the fullest.

Hollywood Rude

An article in today's New York Times traces Hollywood's growing cult of the rude. In my approximately 100 interviews with producers, more than nine out of ten have been positive polite experiences.

"[D]displays of selfishly hostile behavior are increasingly common in Hollywood, and increasingly by small fry. Once the sole province of box-office stars and a handful of well-known producers and agents, divalike behavior has filtered down — sometimes way down — the chain of command. It is now the reflexive stance of personal assistants, who are obsequious to their bosses but aggressively disdainful toward others; of hairstylists to the stars, who show up an hour late for appointments with regular clients; and of unemployed screenwriters, who cancel dinner plans with old friends because they are suddenly "busy."

"Ms. [Suzanne] Todd, the "Austin Powers" producer, whose sister Jennifer is her partner in making movies and also in giving highly sought-after parties, has thrown down what amounts to a gauntlet. "We do a lot of parties, and I've made it clear that the rudest thing you can do is not to R.S.V.P.," Ms. Todd said. "Tell me you can't make it. That's fine. But if you don't R.S.V.P. or you don't show, you are off my list for good.""

That's funny. I've sent three interview requests to the Todd sisters and they never bothered to respond.

Khunrum writes: You were going to entertain them at Hovel Ford?

The Rebbe King Moshiach Prophecies About Coming War With Iraq

Here is a collection of prophesies from the Sichos (Public Chassidic Discourses) of the Rebbe King Moshiach and from the Holy Zohar concerning coming war with Iraq.

So what is the bottom line? Moshiach is coming now we got to prepare, Jews should strengthen and increase their study and observance of the Torah without compromises and their trust in G-d, the non-Jews should learn and observe the Seven Laws of Noah (see www.7for70.com) and in greater detail the online version of the book "Path of Righteous Gentile."

The Shameful Use And Abuse of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik

Lukeford.net does not necessarily hold by the following opinions but publishes them in the hope of inspiring Jews to greater observance of Jewish Law (and goyim to observe the Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah) in preparation for the coming of the Moshiach.

XXX writes: Question: Can Modern Orthodox Jews claim that they are halachically [Jewish Law] observant, or even have any self-respect, if they decide to always follow the most lenient opinion?

More specifically, can they disregard the vast majority of all the great scholars and humanitarians of Judaism, because the only rabbi they find to their liking is Rabbi Soloveitchick?

Answer: Before we get to any Talmudic sources, here is a rare no-brainer: a halachic question which is so simple that even a non-Jew or a Catholic priest can supply the answer.

Quite obviously, such a policy is a transparent and self-degrading sham. It is, moreover, a sham that causes great communal demoralization, and the gnawing awareness that their Judaism is insincere and inauthentic. It also shames "the Rav" by turning him into a mass stumbling block.

The following is a rare and shocking admission from a so-called talmid of the Rav, who, like many other disloyal students, later defected to the Conservatives: "It is widely taken for granted that Modern Orthodoxy is not really an authentic form of Orthodoxy but the offspring of an illicit marriage between modernity and Orthodoxy, a kind of oxymoron. It is commonly ridiculed as a compromise designed to provide a lenient approach to Halachah, and generally condoning extreme laxity in religoius observance. It is perceived as a minimal brand of Judaism which lacks fervor, passion and commitment, and doesn't even come close to Yeshivah Orthodoxy in self-sacrifice, Torah study, and rejection of the unprecedented decade of modern society." (Exploring the Thought of RJB Soloveitchick, by Walter Wurtzberger, pg. 3-4)

Many of the writers in this volume have the following names: Marc A., Walter W., Marvin F., Shubert S., William K., Gerald B.. This reveals a conscious decision to identify and take pride in the names of Gentile drunkarks and anti-Semites even when they could easily use their Jewish names as the other half did. It is noteworthy that the Rav is always called "Joseph," not "Yosef" like his great-grandfather the Beis Halevi. Likewise, the recent "Rabbi Norman" was the first president of YU to constantly use a non-Jewish name, and it is not surprising that he has been widely criticized even among his own timid circle for desecrating the Torah publicly regarding the gay club fiasco [a lesbian group at YU demanded recognition by the university as it took public funds and could not discriminate] and other matters. He has long been recognized by many as belonging to the category of Yoreh Deah 243:3, although perhaps less so than the ostracized Rabbi Goren, the radical Emmanuel Rackman and other such troublemakers.

(Eruvin 6b, RH 14b, Chullin 43a) The halachah is like Beit Hillel, if one adopts the stringencies of both Beth Shammi and Beit Hillel, he is "a fool who walks in darkness", if he adopts the leniencies of both, he is a rasha (wicked one). All commentaries are superflours. As we state before, a total no-brainer.

However, those who use the Rav as their perpetual fig leaf really belong to a much lower category than "rasha." That is because they frequently don't follow even the leniencies of Rabbi Soloveitchik, but simply transgress the halacah! This constitutes a double disgrace of his memory: they not only use him as a constant excuse and ideology to be lenient, but they then totally ignore even his own lenient opinion. This unmasks their insincerity.

For example, everyone knows that even the most minor halachic authority wouldn't possibly permit people to have three TVs in their house (until recently the sign of a real low-life; no recognized halachic authority has permitted any TV), to go to R or even PG-13 movies, let alone worse, to subscribe to numerous questionable magazines and to read them all day on Shabbat, to read unlimitedly all sorts of heretical books (see Rambam AZ 2:2 and Sanhedrin 100b), to not have a set time for Torah study every day and night (explicit in Orach Chaim 155 and 238; most Orthodox rabbis in Los Angeles don't know where to find this), to have women's hair uncovered in public, to laugh out loud in shul (OC 151:1, emphasized in Megillah 28a), to send their children to the abomination of co-ed high schools (especially today!), to use the Internet indiscriminately, to not keep half the laws of Taharas Hamishpachah (family purity), etc....Yet all this is routinely trampled upon by Modern Orthodox Jews.

Rabbi Gadol Takes The Gloves Off

Rabbi Gadol says: "LA is the worst area for Orthodox Judaism in America. It's weak here. We're like Class A minor league. LA is not even on the map of Torah. Baltimore has a big yeshiva, Ner Yisrael. LA has nothing to compare to Ner Israel. Rabbi Shmuel Kamanetsky has a yeshiva in Philadelphia. There's been a trend in the past ten years to make yeshivas in small cities such as Pasaic, New Jersey and Riverdale, New York...

"I'm a catastrophe. I should've reviewed shas [Talmud] many more times. Do you know why many American Torah leaders look bigger than their books? Because they have a lot of charisma in person.

"Have you ever been to Yeshiva Gedolah? It's housed in a beautiful building on Olympic Blvd that used to be a Scientology church. It's probably the best Torah building west of Chicago."

Luke: "I've just read this new book "One People, Two Worlds: A Reform Rabbi and an Orthodox Rabbi Explore the Issues That Divide Them." It's format is uninspiring, just an exchange of emails. I would've been more interested in reading a journalist's perspective who lived with both men and saw how they conducted themselves and how they influenced others. Words are cheap. Anyone can spout off. Actions are what count. And what I've read so far of this book is not interesting."

Publisher's Weekly says: "From January 21, 2000, to October 1, 2001, two learned and articulate rabbis exchanged 39 lengthy e-mail messages in a spirited but ultimately failed effort to find common ground between Orthodox and Reform Judaism. Through the exchange, they became friends who respected each other even though they firmly rejected each other's points of view. Addressing a number of fundamental issues, they eloquently explain and criticize their opinions in a lively and spirited debate. Both erudite rabbis extensively cite the Bible and Talmud as well as the writings of philosophers and rabbis to support their stances, exploring such issues as women's status, Zionism, homosexuality, assimilation and Israel. Neither interlocutor is swayed by the arguments of the other. For example, while Hirsch, the Reform rabbi, says he will not preside at a homosexual wedding, he argues for tolerance. Reinman, the Orthodox rabbi, quotes the biblical condemnation of homosexuality and asserts the necessity of trying to convert gay people to a straight lifestyle. Hirsch contends that Israel needs religious pluralism, while Reinman retorts that "religious struggle in Israel will only roil and muddy the waters." Readers who are privileged to observe this enlightening disputation will be impressed by the outstanding scholarship of these two rabbis and by their superb capacity to express their views with clarity and determination."

Rabbi Gadol: "Rabbi Reinman is superb. He wrote a monster scholarly book on difficult laws of documents of money transactions and halakha [Jewish Law]. It's the most amazing book of any young person in America in the last 30 years. His father is a great scholar.

"Rabbi Reinman has written children's books. How could that be? How could a great scholar write children's books? I guess you can make a lot of money writing children's books.

"Rabbi Reinman has gotten into a lot of trouble in his hometown of Lakewood for writing this book with a Reform rabbi.

"In Israel, they'd look down on a rabbi who caters to baal teshuvas [returners to tradition]. But in America, the people you raise money from are breathing down your back while in Israel, you come to America to get the money and you leave them behind. Israel has a trickle down effect on Judaism around the world. Without Bnai Brak, the modern people wouldn't have much Judaism.

"Rabbis who teach 11th grade at an LA yeshiva. They're the third chain. They've usually studied in Israel for a year or two. If you haven't learned in Israel, you'll butcher the Hebrew. Rabbi XXX, for instance, is an important rabbi among ignoramuses. He butchers the Hebrew."

Television Without Pity

From NYTimes Sunday Magazine: Sarah D. Bunting and Tara Ariano are obscure names in the high-stakes world of Hollywood TV production. They are anything but L.A. insiders; Bunting works in Manhattan, while Ariano is based in Toronto. Yet their opinions carry real weight among the producers and writers who fashion many of the most popular programs on television. The two women are co-editors of a Web site called Television Without Pity, and that's a name producers know extremely well. True to its name, Televisionwithoutpity.com critiques shows mercilessly and includes message boards where vast communities of passionate viewers register everything from arcane appraisals of a program's story line to their hatred of an actor's leather jacket. When TWoP editors run interviews with writers and producers on the site, it is usually because the Hollywood types have contacted them, a little dazed by the level of the site's vitriol.

Marc W. Comes To LA

thaweisblogg: a blogger who's a BIG fan of yrs mentioned you in an email from http://slotman.blogspot.com: "You have my eternal envy for meeting the LA Blog crew. What would seal the deal for me would be meeting Luke Ford and knowing I was one degree of separation from every star I've ever heard of. I mean, it would be like meeting one of the Apostles. Sort of. For me. Crud."

Producer Al Septien

I interview producer Al Septien at his Wicked Monkey Productions' office October 1, 2002.

I knock on the door at the Hollywood Boulevard office at 9:50AM. Al's partner Turi Meyer, a writer-director, opens the door. He says Al's having a hectic morning and running a few minutes late.

Turi and I trade jokes about the dreaded Estonian Mafia.

"Septien." The name reminds me of the Dallas Cowboy place kicker Raphael Septien.

At 10:08, Al walks in. He's young-looking, short and darkly handsome in the Cuban style.

We walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard in a light rain looking for a coffee shop. They're all closed. We go back to the office where I turn on my tape recorder.

Al's parents fled from Cuba in April 1962 and settled in West New York, a small New Jersey town across the river from Manhattan. He was born later that year. His younger brother is a CIO (Chief Information Officer) of an architecture design company in New York and his younger sister just graduated from Amherst and works as a writer and a teacher in New Jersey.

Al graduated from St. Josephs of the Palisades Roman Catholic High School in New Jersey and then Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticutt. Other showbiz graduates of the school include writer-producer Joss Whedon, director Michael Bay, director Miguel Arteta, director-producer Jon Turteltaub, Willie Garson (Sex and the City), Dana Delaney, executive Peter Green at Charles Hirschhorn's company, Rick Nicita at CAA...

"We have our yearly Los Angeles get together at CAA."

Al talks rapidly. "After college (graduated in 1985), I started out as an actor. I did an off-Broadway play in New York. I'd taken one writing at Wesleyan. I saw a latino play called Union City Thanksgiving. Union City is right next to West New York, where I grew up. It's a play about Cuban Americans. It was the first time I'd seen a play where it was about the type of people who were in my house.

"I wrote a play called "Teammates", set in my hometown, which I submitted to Intar Theater in New York. That got me a Ford Foundation grant to study with playwright Marie Irene Forness for a year. I then worked for a television development company, the Beagle Group, which is no longer in existence. It taught me that I didn't want to be in development for someone else. I wanted to shape my own destiny.

"I moved to Los Angeles in 1988. I met my writing partner Turi Meyer while we were catering. We came up with a story about a family held hostage. We wanted to write something that Turi could direct and I could act in. A producer got involved and tried to sell it. It got optioned a few times. It was never made but it got us an agent. It changed titles several times. Initially it was called "Homefront," then "Flashpoint." Every so often someone would say, 'I like this. Has it been out?' Well, it's been out to a few places. 'Ahh, just change the title and send it out again.'

"We just signed with a manager (Jeffrey Thal at Ensemble Entertainment). He said, 'This is good. Has it ever been out?'

"We fell into the horror world because of a big action thriller spec script we wrote after "Homefront" called "The Terrorist". We got the job writing Leprechaun 2 because some executives at Trimark loved The Terrorist. That led to Sleepstalker, which Turi directed and I produced. That got us Candyman, which Turi directed and I produced. We pitched Chairman of the Board to Disney. They paid us to write it. It got put into turnaround. Trimark picked it up. It got made. It's not very good.

"I got into producing to protect the material I wrote. We were writing things that other producers were getting involved with. Ultimately, we felt they either didn't get the material or they didn't care. It was frustrating. Yeah, Leprechaun and Sleepstalker and Candyman are low-budget horror movies, but we've worked to make them as good as possible. To have someone come in and not give a damn pisses us off.

"Because we're dealing on such a low level, we don't have bombs. Because they're made for such low budgets, they're bound to make money no matter what.

"We met a transportation guy, Eric Miller, on Candyman: Day of the Dead. He said he had friends with a good pitch. We listened to the pitch and we liked it. We worked with them. We pitched it (Immortals) to David Kirschner Productions, which has a deal with Universal. We set it up at Universal. We've been in development for two years.

"What I like about television is, if you write it, it's going to get shot."

Al opens a can of V8 vegetable juice.

Luke: "Chairman of the Board. What went wrong?"

Al: "Oh jeez, I don't want to badmouth anybody. We were on Sunset Blvd and looked up and saw a billboard that said, 'Chairman of the.." and there was a surfboard. At the time, we were going around pitching an intricately plotted script. We saw this billboard and thought, that's a pitchable idea. You get it from the poster. As the light turned and we made the turn, we saw that it wasn't a movie poster, it was a beer ad.

"We went back to the office, figured it out, went to Disney and sold it. The concept was a surfer dude, like Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, or Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, inherits a Fortune 500 company. It was supposed to be an Animal House type movie. It became a movie somewhere between Animal House and PeeWee's Big Adventure and it didn't have a clear focus. It was a mess."

Luke: "Have your parents seen your films?"

Al: "Yeah. My Dad liked Candyman. Turi's Mom hates everything we've made. They're a different generation. It's not their cup of tea. My Mom would be thrilled if I wrote Dr. Zhivago 2. My parents are glad I'm working. We've got a movie coming out called Wicked Minds. A modern film noir thriller. We sold the script and were not involved in the production. I think they will like it more. I hope that it will be one that Mom can say, 'Hey, I like that one.'

"My wife Diane Alancraig is a classical flutist. She's now playing piccolo with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She's the classy end of our couple. She makes up for my horror films."

Luke: "Is she a big Sleepstalker fan?"

Al laughs: "She can't wait for it to repeat on TV. Look, it's the same thing. We have things we've written that we're really proud of and they haven't got made. When your credits are these..."

Al points at the posters for his horror films. "You laugh and you have a sense of humor. We try to do our best work but who am I kidding? My wife's just thrilled that I'm working. She's happy that I'm doing what I enjoy. We know what these are (pointing at the horror slicks), but that doesn't mean we don't get invested in them. You don't get invested in terms of, I'm revealing my soul here. You get invested in that you're trying to do good work and come up with cool gags. We want to keep the story moving and the characters entertaining.

"We wrote a couple of TV episodes. The turnaround was quick, the money was good. Things are going to get made. We learn so much more as writers when our scripts get made. We like film but the opportunity in films seems to be diminishing. When we started, there were a lot of these [low budget] companies doing these kinds of movie. There are not anymore. Prism is out of business. Trimark is sold. Artisan is still around but is doing other things.

"I don't think my wife pushes me anywhere. We're now pitching a family romantic comedy. It's an idea she's always liked."

Al and Diane had a baby boy, Alec Gabriel, on July 22, 1997.

Luke: "How has becoming a father affected you as a writer-producer?"

Al: "We work harder because we have families to support. It gives me an awareness of what kids respond to. I know what my five-year old boy likes to watch on TV. He's into Spiderman. It's an invaluable gift to have people in your house tell you what the market is like. From watching so many Disney movies with my son, I've learned what good simple storytelling is about. The story has to move because their attention span doesn't last. If you have long expository scenes of people talking it won't work.

"My kid is my proudest fan. He loves monsters. He hasn't seen these movies but he sees the video boxes on the shelf. I showed him one scene from Sleepstalker. He wants to make videogames of all my movies."

Luke: "Do you do things just for appearances?"

Al: "I used to have a crummy car. When I had meetings with producers, I'd often meet them at fancy places. I arrived early and I'd leave late, so everybody I had a meeting with was gone. Eventually I got to buy a better car."

Entertainment Journalism

I was talking to a Hollywood player about entertainment journalists. He said: "Once you understand what they want, you can handle them. What they all most want is to make somebody look stupid. They want to play gotcha. They want to trash people. That's journalism since Watergate."

In a speech this week, Carl Bernstein criticized what he called a tendency toward "gotcha" journalism since Watergate, although neither he nor Woodward would say their reporting was responsible for that shift. But the result is a culture in which "baseball managers are the only public figures who routinely tell the truth," said Bernstein, who is now a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. (Maryland Newsline)

Test Screening A Film In South Central

A studio needed to test screen a black comedy. So they booked it in a theater in South Central Los Angeles, where the blacks, browns and a few working class whites live. The studio execs, including the studio president, drove down in their Jaguars and Mercedes, scared out of their minds.

The movie that caused a near-riot at the preview was 1992's TRESPASS, starring rappers Ice-T and Ice Cube. It may have been in Compton, or possibly south central, Baldwin Hills or some such non middle-class neighborhood. It needn't have been cast with two African American leads, but somebody though that would make it "hip" and "urgent" and even "socially relevant" and instead the blacks threw their refreshments at the screen!

Blacks don't sit quietly in movies the way middle-class whites do. They talk back to movies. They emote. They let their feelings be known. They often shoot guns and riot. This particular crowd hated the ending of the film. They became hostile. They wanted to take their anger out. The execs were frightened and had to be hustled out of the theater.

Some producers and studios write contracts that prohibit "urban movies," the most famous euphemism for black films, because they don't sell overseas and many domestic theaters fear attracting large black audiences because they can become violent.

On the reverse side of this matter, only paternalistic racism can account for the good reviews for the crappy hip-hop black film Brown Sugar executive produced by Magic Johnson. It features a blah script and inept filmmaking but reviewers won't dog it for fear of being called racist.

'I Can't Believe This Is My F---ing House'

In a recent issue of Premiere magazine, director Brett Ratner, pictured in bed reading a script, says "I can't believe this is my fu--ing house." And Premiere did not use dashes.

Equipment reviews in stereo magazines will use the s--- word with abandon.

Dennis Prager doubts that John Ford and Hollywood directors earlier this century used profanity while giving interviews. If they did, the newspaper or magazine would usually edit them out.

Man Jailed For Threatening Anita Busch

Today's Los Angeles Times article adds nothing to this summer's Anita Busch drama except the information that a man has been jailed for the incident:

A West Los Angeles man was charged Wednesday with threatening a Los Angeles Times reporter working on a story about an alleged Mafia extortion plot against actor Steven Seagal.

Alexander Proctor, 58, was being held without bail in a downtown federal detention center after he was arrested outside his home. Proctor, authorities allege, broke the reporter's car window and left a package containing a dead fish with a long-stemmed rose in its mouth. A cardboard placard with the word "STOP" was affixed to her car, parked near her Los Angeles home, according to the indictment by a federal grand jury.

The threats, authorities allege, were meant to intimidate Anita M. Busch in an effort to stop her from reporting the story.

Prosecutors described Proctor as an ex-convict with burglary and narcotics-related convictions.

Luke says: The article does not mention who might've hired Proctor. It does not mention the phone call Anita Busch received from those who had threatened her the day after the incident. It was the phone call that convinced her to go into hiding. The article does not mention if Proctor is also suspected of threatening the Vanity Fair journalist Ned Zeman.

Journalist Ross Johnson is still working on the inside story of this Steve Seagal, Julius Nasso thing.

Luke Parties With The Rich And Famous

So there I was Tuesday night, partying with the rich and famous and beautiful (picture of Luke in a contemplative mood) until 3AM. The ratio of young women to men was about 3-1. And yet something was wrong. I felt sad for those people who did not live according to G-d's commandments. They flee from the Truth and they can never be happy.

Rabbi Avigdor Miller's teachings traveled through my head: "All these people who are sitting in cafes and discos and dancing and making noise and trying to act as if they're happy, there's a sadness they're trying to drive away. They make such a din so the small voice of the conscience shouldn't bother anyone. That's the voice that says, 'You're going to die anyhow. What's the good of all this?' There's an undertone of sadness in all their revelrie. All these wild beatniks and those who go to rockn'roll concerts, they're all trying to drown out the sadness that their soul feels and they cannot understand.

"There's a hole in the ground and that's all that's waiting for them. The truth is, it's worse than a hole in the ground. They will be lucky if there's just a hole in the ground in the end. Beyond that hole, there's something else waiting for them and it's more terrible than words can describe. But those who live for the world to come can never be sad. Frum (Orthodox) Jews can never be sad, even if they look sad. In the bottom of their hearts, they're full of joy because they know they're living for a purpose."

Khunrum writes: From the pics sent us, Luke appears to be on a huge roll. What's more, his disciples are migrating west (within spitting distance of The Hovel) hoping to share the magic. Fred Nek has purchased a black mohair suit, knit yarmulke, is ditching the practice in silicon valley and moving to Beverly Hills. Young W. is hitchhiking in from Toronto. Amalek has shoe horned his 350lb girth into two Greyhound seats and is somewhere en route from The Big Apple. All I have to see is one pic of a tasty Asian and I'll have my Toyota pickup heading towards the Blue Pacific. Go West Young Men!

Fred writes: Sir-- How did you go about choosing an acting school? Do some places have a good reputation for actually teaching you how to act? Did some places have a reputation for spawning the careers of actors? Did some places have a reputation for having lots of babes in the class? How did you go about accumulating information on these places? Or did you just take someone's recommendation?

Your Moral Leader says: Dear Fred, acting classes can not fill the hole in your soul.

Johnny Castano Phones

Johnny Castano is in his sixties. A longtime photographer, he's in poor health and lives in Las Vegas. We've had many conversations over the years.

Luke: "How are you feeling?"

Johnny: "I'm crippled. They screwed me up pretty bad [with back operations]. I got noprobyia in my feet. They get numb. Diabetes. You don't get good circulation down there. I take a lot of medicine. I'm probably a drug addict. I can walk on a walker. I go day from day."

Luke: "Are you still taking photos?"

Johnny: "I haven't worked in two years. I wish I was working. It would help me out a lot. I'm living on my Social Security, my Veteran's Disability [and savings].

"If I was smart, I would've gone into the video business. A few people asked me to do it and I said no [sticking with still photography]. I'm sorry I didn't do that because I'd be a millionaire today. I had certain scruples. I love photography.

"I used to know everyone in Hollywood when I had my studio on Hollywood Blvd [in the early seventies]. I knew every producer. Telly Savalas used to send me so many girls to do portraits of. I knew Melissa Prophet, who appears in Goodfellas."

Melissa Prophet is a former beauty queen. She was Miss Los Angeles and Miss California. She was third runner-up in the Miss World Pageant as well as the Miss USA Pageant. She won 14 first place trophies in various contests.

She appeared in a nude pictorial in the May 1987 issue of Playboy.

"Melissa Prophet," Ivan Nagy said, was a "house girl" for international financier Adnan Kashoggi, procuring women for him while living in his home, a statement echoed by former Playboy model Cathy St. George, who was friendly with Prophet in the late 1980s, and by film executive Paul Rosenfeld, who knew Prophet through the man she would later marry, longtime Simpson friend Craig Baumgarten. Producer Joel Silver knew Prophet well, too, but was not actually a customer, though Melissa would set him up on dates. Producer Robert Evans actually went into business with Prophet..." (High Concept, pg. 96)

In 1986, Playboy Playmate Cathy St. George was invited by her friend Melissa Prophet to attend a Malibu beach party. St. George knew of Prophet as "one of the biggest madams in L.A. at that time." (High Concept, pg. 126)

High Concept says Prophet snorted coke with Simpson. (pg. 127)

Prophet eventually married former Columbia executive Craig Baumgarten, who was fired by the company when they found out he produced and appeared in the 1974 porno Sometimes Sweet Susan.

They formed the management company Baumgarten-Prophet Entertainment, which produced TNT’s "The Hunchback," which starred Mandy Patinkin, Richard Harris and Salma Hayek and "Cold Around the Heart," a co-production with Oliver Stone’s Illusion Entertainment for FOX, starring David Caruso and Kelly Lynch.

Prophet and Baumgarten eventually split.

Prophet played Nicky's wife Jennifer in the Marty Scorsese movie Casino.

Roger Ebert writes in a crush review of 1985's Invasion USA: "The movie's worst, most thankless role goes to Melissa Prophet, who plays a newspaper reporter. She stands around at the scenes of all the many violent crimes in this movie, snapping photographs and being angry. (Like many photographers in the movies, she acts as if photography consists of pointing the camera in the direction of the action and recording the largest possible view.) This woman is angry at everyone. She spouts off to cops, badmouths security guards, and when Norris saves her life from savage terrorists she brushes his hand off her sleeve and bitterly snarls, "Thanks a lot, cowboy!" Never in the movie does she write or file a story or a photograph, and (this is most amazing) at no point does her presence in the movie make the slightest difference. She never interacts with anybody else for any purpose. She just stands around with her camera, being mad."

From People magazine 8/8/94: "The woman mentioned most often [about having affairs with O.J. Simpson] is actress Tawny Kitaen, 32, cohost of ABC's now defunct America's Funniest People and mother of California Angels pitcher Chuck Finley's out-of-wedlock child. Three sources, who insist on anonymity, claim Simpson carried on an extramarital affair with Kitaen in the mid-'80s. During that time, one source says, Simpson regularly ''showered Tawny with gifts and kept her in hotel suites'' that were ''never a long drive away'' from wherever Simpson and Nicole were staying. Kitaen's manager, Melissa Prophet, who happens to be the wife of producer Craig Baumgarten, a longtime friend of Simpson's, declined comment in all matters regarding her client's past or present relationship with Simpson."

Johnny Castano: "I used to do headshots for tons of the agencies.

"Melissa used to hang out at my studio [1971-73]. We were very close. I had an affair with her 19-year old girlfriend who committed suicide. She was a beautiful Mexican girl. She was close to Melissa. She went to San Francisco with me many times. She was a quaaludes freak. She was turning tricks.

"Telly Savalas used to come up to my studio.

"Her real name is Melissa Prophino. Her old man is a big musician and he was also in the mob. He was a close friend of Sinatra's. They lived in a beautiful home, right on the ocea, near Malibu. It used to be a nude beach. I used to go to it a lot.

"She had a big affair with the guy who owned Nick's Fish House on Sunset Blvd.

"I got really pissed off when Melissa posed for Ken Marcus in [May 1987] Playboy. She said Playboy paid her a lot of money and they wanted her to shoot for Ken Marcus. I shouldn't have gotten mad but I got a little mad at her. She didn't have no choice.

"She was the girlfriend of Bob Evans. She got a lot of girls for that rich guy who ran the guns [Adnan Kashoggi]. I read Bob Evans' book four times. He used to f--- everything that walked. He tried to f--- Sharon Stone but she hates his guts. She didn't make it in Hollywood until she was 28 years old. I read in the tabloids how he took her girlfriend up to his house and doped her up and f---ed her all night and threw her out on the street. Sharon Stone said he tried to do the same thing to her.

"Melissa was smart. She knew her way around Hollywood but she could never make it big in the movies.

"Too bad you can't get in touch with Alexandra Quinn. She used to f--- a lot of movie stars including Tony Curtis. She knew many producers.

"Bob Evans used to come up to my studio. He was nice but not over-nice. He was a big shot. He said I should be in the movies with my face. I could play a lot of tough guy roles. I used to shave my head then.

"I wonder if Melissa ever runs into my old sidekick Patricia Apollonia Kotero (Appolonia) [who stars with Prince in Purple Rain]. That's when Tommy [Sinnopoli] and his goon friend paid me a visit. They were working for the mob and the mob sent them after me to get those pictures of Patti Tertero.

"No matter how much I try to forget about Alexandra Quinn, I can never forget about her because I had such wonderful times with her. She just grew on you. She had that kind of personality. She did the same thing to a friend of mine. He had her over and he put her up for a couple of days and he fell in love with her. She's just a funny girl. She does strange things to guys. She's got a certain kind of personality.

"When I was in Hollywood and I had my big studio, Ron Vogel and Mario Kasil (shot more Playmates than anyone) used to come up. Mario brought Dorothy Stratten to my studio. We used to sit around and drink coffe and nice wine. I knew all the producers. One producer would call me and say, 'Hey Johnny, I've got a real nice one I'm going to send you over. She needs some headshots. Maybe you can work a deal out with her. You know what I mean? Work a nice deal out?'

"I knew right away what he was talking about. I'd ask who has she seen and he'd name off two or three producers she'd seen that day. This was an every day thing in Hollywood. They used to pass the girls around like they were nothing. I'd be second or third on the list.

"There was this agency by Polly Peluso. She used to send me a lot of girls. She'd come right on the phone and say, 'Hey man, for a $100, you could have a really good time with this girl.' The next thing I knew, she was the head of the Playboy [talent] agency.

"A week ago, I'm reading the Las Vegas paper and there she is. She's 74 years old and living in Las Vegas.

"She was with this Chinese guy, Milton Schoong (his father founded Chinatown in San Francisco), who used to own Cosmopolitan Agency, who was secretary of state of California. She could tell you stories. Milton hated my guts.

"She worked at the Lenz Agency in Las Vegas."

Something to get Amalek worked up over

JMT writes: Why is it that when an obscure novelist (Salman Rushdie) makes supposedly unflattering references to Mohammed in a book nobody ever heard of, some prominent moslem cleric is moved to put out a death sentence on him, yet when Jerry Falwell appeared on 60 Minutes recently and announced that Mohammed was a terrorist, there was no response from the islamic world? Do they think Falwell was praising Mohammed? Do they think being a terrorist is something to be proud of? Or do they just, like most of the rest of us, think that Falwell is such an idiot that he's unworthy of attention?

Chaim Amalek writes: Islam divides the world into two camps: Believers and Infidels. Those in the latter (which includes all Christians and the much hated Jew) are not held to the same totalitarian standards of uniformity of thought that are imposed on the former. Had Rushdie not been a Muslim, there would have been no fatwah against him.

And now I return to a more interesting topic, the spinelessness of the French. (I pick on the French mainly because they seem to be the most far gone of the Europeans.) Where are the Frenchmen who see that Paris is to France and French culture what Mecca is to Islam? Once this is understood, it should be a simple matter for the French to take the next step and insist on certain kinds of reciprocity with Islam: Wahabean Muslims from Saudi Arabia may build houses of worship for muslims in France, but only to the extent to which the French are permitted to build churches in Saudi Arabia. Ditto to spreading the Logos - winning converts. We tolerate their foreign nationals to the degree that they tolerate us. We admit immigrants from their lands to the degree that they receive Christian immigrants from the West, and no further. What's fair is fair, right?

Why doesn't this happen? First, because the French are spineless, but also because they do not have enough of a tribal/racial/ethnic sense of identity even to permit such thoughts to enter the public discourse. Instead they cater to the Muslims, perhaps in anticipation of their future dominance and lordship over what was Europe. In thirty years time all the statues to Charles Martel, who thwarted the last Muslim invasion of Western Europe - if any remain by then - will have been torn down, in deference to muslim sensibilities.

Much of the best of France (and Europe) was destroyed between 1914 and 1918, and the world continues to pay the price. (To be fair, a similar sort of criticism could be leveled against the whole of Western Europe. The future belongs to the practical Chinese. I'll bet no Chinaman has asked you for your take on "penis puppetry.")