Torah Jews Do Not Observe Days of Saints - So No Valentine's Day Cards From Me
Khunrum writes: Baloney Luke...You goddamned miser. You are using your adopted religion to save a few bucks...Shame on you. Go buy some candies you chiseler.
Rob writes: Thus reinforcing the negative stereotype that Jews are cheap.
Luke says: I went to JewishJournal.com and it is all about love! Oy ve!
Hollywood Has No Greater Friend in New York than Chaim Amalek
Chaim Amalek writes: But if not to Buddhism, then to where will the secular jew turn as he seeks something more out of life than a Lexis? Israel? Nope. Not only is it a possible future killing ground for 5,000,000 jews, it is most politically incorrect as well, what with its tribally exclusive immigration policies the likes of which the White Race would do well to consider further.
The Holocaust may have served as a kind of social glue to keep jews together, but that use of it was never a good idea to begin with, and today the glue is becoming undone. I for one have noted an alarming diminution in Holocaust stories in the press since September 11, 2001. To make Holocaust-as-binder especially dubious these days, thinking jews know another one may be in the offing in Israel. Even worse, this one would be at the hands of dusky third worlders who do not shed tears for the six million.
One answer that I think will appeal to increasing numbers of Jews: Christ Jesus. (But not the morally corrupt, homosexed Roman form of it, which increasingly looks like the Whore of Babylon, with its militantly pederastic predator priests, hunting down young boys to defile.)
Chaim Amalek, Friend to Hollywood
PS It would be quite interesting if in the course of your lunch with the dildo saleslady of Ludlow street, you probed her religious beliefs more deeply than her customers probe themselves with the dildos they buy from her. I know she is not a professing jew, for it is certain that she wears garments containing both linen and wool. Perhaps, like many a thinking daughter of a religion that has failed, she has turned to Buddhism. This is your chance to enlighten her.
Khunrum writes: My errr! girlfriend in B-kok is a Buddhist. We never pass a temple when she doesn't walk inside, light some incense, get on her knees and pray. I ask her what she is praying for and she seems to be asking for the same things Christians, Jews, Moslems wish for. Good health, prosperity whatever. She tells me she always prays for my well being. Presumably so I can continue to send the Western Union checks.
A Chat With Rabbi Michael Resnick
One of my favorite Los Angeles rabbis is Michael Resnick of the Westside Conservative synagogue Adat Shalom.
In the 12/5/97 edition of the Jewish Journal, Robert Eshman wrote: A native of Sepulveda, he attended Har Zion Synagogue (it has since merged with Temple Ramat Zion) but stopped his Jewish education atage 13. After graduating from Cal State Northridge, he embarked on a career in advertising. But a visit to Israel during the Gulf War inspired him to change course. He attended the Pardes Institute there, then returned to the States to study and receive his ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He took the pulpit of Adat Shalom in August, replacing the recently retired Rabbi Morton Wallach, who served there for 24 years.
Demographic shifts had been tough on the 50-year-old Conservative shul, whose modern structure sits on a prime block of Westside real estate across from Trader Joe's market on National Boulevard. Adat Shalom has been losing members for the past six years. About 250 families and individuals belong to the congregation now, down from a peak of 450. The decline also plunged the shul into a series of financial crises.
I spoke by phone with Rabbi Resnick 2/12/03 about Stephen Fried's book, The New Rabbi.
Rabbi Resnick: "I started reading it but I ran out of patience with it. I'm hesitent to tell you what I really think."
The rabbi pauses for about five seconds. "I think being a rabbi is a really tough job. Replacing a beloved rabbi is really really difficult. Rabbi [Gerald] Wolpe is clearly beloved by his congregation. At the same time, I think congregations begin to overestimate their own importance and their sense of who's good enough to serve in their congregation. I think there's a reason [Har Zion in Philadelphia] is still looking for a rabbi. Get over it. Hire someone to lead the congregation and move on."
Luke: "What about the book and its painful details about various rabbis?"
Rabbi Resnick: "I never got to painful details about anybody. I'm still at the part where Rabbi Wolpe was giving one of his farewell sermons during the High Holidays. At that point, I just got sick of it and put it down.
"The last thing I want to do as a rabbi is hear about the nonsense that goes on in congregations. If I'm going to have some free time to read, I'm going to read Tolstoy or Chekhov and not read about the business that I'm in that I find sometimes to be unhealthy."
Luke: "Was the book painful?"
Rabbi Resnick: "No. It was annoying. The congregation and the search committee and the different personalities and what they're looking for and ahh... The more I read it, the more I felt, who needs this? So I put it down. It strikes too close to home sometimes. In my free time, I'd rather not remind myself of the politics of a shul and enrich myself in other ways."
Luke: "What sentiments are you picking up from your rabbinic colleagues about the book?"
Rabbi Resnick: "I've not spoken to any rabbis about it. My congregants are suggesting that I read it. I'm having people say to me, 'Have you read this book, The New Rabb?' I was not aware that there were insulting details about other rabbis."
Luke: "Not insulting, just painful to some of the rabbis concerned, and their friends. The details were accurate."
Rabbi Resnick: "A colleague of mine is mentioned, a guy I went to rabbinical school with and graduated with, Jacob Herber. I was upset to hear Rabbi Schoenberg say, 'Jacob is not just up to it. He's not quite ready for a synagogue this size.' Jacob was a wonderful sensitive caring intelligent rabbi and I'm sure he's only grown since. It annoyed me to hear Elliott making judgments about what his capabilities are. Sometimes people rise to the occasion."
Luke: "Do you believe that rabbis are public figures and deserve to be held to the same sort of scrutiny we give leaders in other fields such as business and sports?"
Rabbi Resnick: "No. He's a figure within his own community. He or she gets enough scrutiny from the congregants. And the scrutiny is inevitably skewed. Nobody knows how your manner is at the bedside of somebody who is dying. No one knows your sensitivity and kindness. And to hold you up to public scrutiny for the quality of a sermon or your personal life or your intellectual skills is just wrong. There is so much of a rabbi beyond the eyes of the public and to only focus on public issues is misleading for what a rabbi does."
Luke: "I remember the panel you were on about sex and dating."
Rabbi Resnick: "We were up there representing tradition and people didn't like it. God forbid I say you shouldn't marry a non-Jew. Forgive me, go marry one, just don't expect me to agree with it. It's an interesting business but to read about the trials and tribulations and the process that goes on in a synagogue... Synagogues can be dysfunctional families. Sometimes they can be functional families."
Luke: "Are you looking forward to the Rabbinical Assembly conference this year?"
Rabbi Resnick: "It's always great to get together with colleagues in a way that's not just kvetching [complaining]. It's good to share ideas and look for ways to bring people closer to God and the love of Judaism into peoples' lives. I did not find that this book had any kind of ultimate benefit towards doing that."
Luke: "This RA meeting could be ripped apart over the debate about ordaining homosexuals? It could be bitter?"
Rabbi Resnick: "It has the potential for it but it won't be the first time they've wrestled with complicated issues. A good debate is good. 'An argument for the sake of heaven' is a concept in Judaism. Let it rock n'roll."
Luke: "You don't think it will tear Conservative Judaism in two?"
Rabbi Resnick: "No. Conservative Judaism has an identity crisis. It's easier to be a Reform Jew or an Orthodox Jew because you know much clearer who you are. Conservative Judaism is a huge gamut. There are Conservative Jews who share an ideology with Orthodoxy and are observant like Orthodox Jews and there are Conservative Jews who would be incredibly comfortable in a Reform synagogue and living a Reform lifestyle. So what's Conservative?"
Pay For Your Own Food
Gnome Chomsky: Of course, it is always a mistake to treat a woman the way one would treat a man.
Khunrum writes: The problem with romance today (as I see it) is that we DO NOT treat women as we do men. The dating interaction between men and women is a continual exercise in common bribery.
You would-be Romeos know what I am talking about. What is the first thing that transpires when you meet a lady you would like to see more of? You offer to buy her things. It may start with coffee but by the next meeting the ante escalates to lunches and dinners. "Yes, darling, is the fare tasty enough?....how is the sirloin? I hope the fries aren't soggy...how about another cocktail?....what, you don't like this place....yes it is rather low rent. Next time we'll go to The Palms, you may enjoy that more.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. It is the reason frugal fellow Advisory Committee Members like Fred rarely have dates.. The price is too high. Fred my friend, it is not your fault. Your American brothers have let us down. Their cowardly whip~ed~ness has spoiled generations of American women..
Next, what happens after this expensive outlay of green-backs? Sex? Bite your tongue vulgarian. How could you suggest something so crass after a great dinner? Nope, time to drop the little lady off at her place and collect your peck on the cheek. "I had a wonderful evening" accompanied by a slight yawn. Maybe next week sucker.
In the meantime the credit card is hemorrhaging green and your little member is sore from self abuse. And gentlemen, ever notice how women immediately develop a nasty and painful palsy in their digits whenever they must remove their purses from their handbags? It is a very slow process. Glacier like to the eyes. Almost never seen in public. Particulary on a date...
Someone take Chomsky's quill and ink away. Ask yourself this. If you met a guy and went out for few beers would you bribe him to be your friend? Pick up all the tabs? Would you take this fellow out week after week and buy him dinners and drinks with no reciprocation? If you are a hardcore hetero the answer would be no.
American men...rediscover your testicles. You have them...they are there. They have just been dormant these very years. Rise up and keep hold of your hard earned cash. American women, you are deluding yourselves with your so-called feminism. You are nothing more than dime a dance tricksters in this great social ballroom of America. You will never be free, never be taken seriously, never be respected until the day you reach into your pockets, remove your American dollars and pay for your own food.
Cyrus Miles writes: I got quite a chuckle out of the barbaristic rantings of Khunrum. To me, his statements sound like the caterwaulings of a bitter man who's been rejected time and time again by the fairer sex. He takes out his frustrations over his inability to have a normal relationship with a female by railing against societal norms as they relate to courting rituals, and by beating his chest furiously & throwing around "clever" aphorisms. "...it is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing."
Mr. Khunrum appears to believe that the desired outcome for a man after paying for a woman's dinner is always sex. If Khunrum truly believes that he "deserves" sex if he spends money on a woman, that is precisely the reason why, in all probability, he last participated in an act of sexual congress when parachute pants and Wacky Wall-Walkers were all the rage.
With his current attitude, perhaps Khunrum would be better served by skipping the romantic and emotional entanglements of a "normal" dating relationship, and instead finding his release in the company of harlots--where he could ensure himself that an outlay of cash or credit would result in willful fornication.
Khunrum writes: Luke, I sit here in my parachute pants in excellent spirits for a fellow who has been diagnosed as "bitter and abnormal." Although I can't quite figure the logic out yet, according to Mr. Miles there seems to be a correlation between "normal" and picking up dinner tabs. Hmmmm! Let me ponder that for a moment. Meanwhile It is comforting to know I can rejoin the family of man anytime I wish. I simply have to spend more money on cuisine for my dates. Thanks Mr. Miles for showing me the light. See you at Wendy's.
Tiffany Stone writes: Gnome Chomsky should move to the westside of Los Angeles, Manhattan, or another tony community where women are not larger than a size 6, even after giving birth. Women with full-time nanny's usually have rocking bodies. For the record, something like 60% of Americans (men included) are overweight. I do acquiesce that married people should not let themselves go. Aesthetics are everything in life. The best thing to do is marry a plastic surgeon.
Gnome Chomsky At The Movies
Gnome Chomsky: Solaris sucked, and I didn't even see it.
A Chat With Gnome Chomsky
Gnome Chomsky: Of course, it is always a mistake to treat a woman the way one would treat a man. There is this great book I am reading that deals with many things, including the proper view of women.
Luke Gets Mail
Tiffany writes: How funny is it that George Clooney got mad at a reporter for calling Solaris boring? Solaris was boring. Stella said it was like watching paint dry. How often do you get to use that cliche? I decided I would never waste my time watching a bad movie again. I will walk out. However, if you are a reporter you should ask a question. I would have asked why the pacing was so slow, etc. I used to love Steven Soderbergh. That movie and FULL FRONTAL were dismal.
Cyrus Miles writes: I read with great interest "Tiffany's" comments regarding Clooney, Soderbergh, and SOLARIS. While she found the film boring and "like watching paint dry," I found it psychologically deep and spiritually significant. The profundity of loss that is felt by Clooney's character is something rarely seen in American films these days. Not since 1961's THE INTRUDER have I seen a film that was so emotionally raw and unfettered.
Soderbergh's light touch and subtlety took what could have been mawkish and embarrassing in the hands of someone like Peter Weir or James Cameron, and turned SOLARIS into a masterpiece.
SOLARIS is almost assuredly one of the most misunderstood and least appreciated works of genius to come along in recent years. Perhaps "Tiffany" and "Stella" should stick to Reese Witherspoon comedies and Mandy Moore romances if they find challenging and profound films so dull.
My Mom writes: I put in "May 28, 1966" into a search engine and I came up with a page of what Elvis was recording that day you were born.
If the Lord wasn't walking by my side.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
I chat with redheaded Greek actress Ruby.
Ruby: "Have you seen MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING?"
Luke: : "I loved it."
Ruby: "That's my family. I love the way Greeks deal with me. There are few of us in the industry. Everybody knows but nobody says anything bad.
"If I ever get married, I will make him convert in a Greek church.
"I just about died laughing watching that movie. It's my family.
"I have a beautiful Greek church. I go there on occasion with my Dad and they whisper. We have the food, the banquets, the parties... Greeks are partiers."
Luke: "Jews could identify with that film."
Ruby: "Oh yeah, Jews party too. That's why you've got to find a non-judgmental shul."
Luke: "I prefer the judgmental ones."
Luke: "It means they have standards. No standards, no judgment. No Judgment, no standards."
Ruby: "You're wrong. It's just like people confuse 'sanctity' for 'privacy.'"
Oh Ruby, please don't take your love to town.
Luke Gets Mail
Peter writes: Dear Luke I've just discovered your website on the net! Where have I been all my life you ask.
Well I have a similar SDA background to you but as yet I've managed to stay within the fold I've been reading your life story and have been able to relate to many of your life experiences; I also know many of the people to whom you refer, especially your father who I admire greatly for his intellect and Christian integrity.
I trained under both him and Norm Young in Theology at Avondale College although not at the same time. I was first at Avondale in 1970 when Des was head of the Theology department but left at the end of the year. The Lord brought me back 10 years later in 1980 when I resumed the Theology course. Although I eventually graduated from this course, I was not confident enough in my Adventist faith to apply for a pastoral position within the SDA church.
Like you Luke I have been on a continual search for truth and meaning in my life. My search has not taken me to such extremes as your's obviously has, eg your conversion to Judaism and your journalistic exploits in the porn world, but I believe we can all learn from one another's experiences.
I feel I have been enriched by reading your life story Luke. Even though your family and friends may have questioned some of things you have done as being inconsistent with your Jewish ethical monotheistic beliefs, I am sure that you have always acted from the best motives that stem from love and a sincere search for truth. God bless you Luke.
Brian writes: Luke, It's all very interesting in a sort of refreshing way. I'm not into the whole Hollywoodishism -- my work is in software. The references to "Amalek" and all are very funny. I am an FFB who left the fold many years ago, but enjoyed the shul ratings. I grew up in the valley before there was much of a religious community here. Also, lived in NYC for many years. Moved back to LA for health reasons, the cold in ny was killing me.
Luke Gets Invited To Another Swanky Party - David Rensin's new book, "The Mailroom," Thurs Feb 20
Amy Alkon, Emmanuelle Richard and Cathy Seipp invite me to celebrate:
WHO: Veteran co-author and Playboy mag interviewer David Rensin and his new book, "The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up"
WHAT: David interviewed 250 current and former Hollywood agents, managers and producers about their grueling start in the biz, which ranged from having to read and summarize a nine-foot-high stack of scripts in record time to making sure that the toilet paper in Mike Ovitz's bathroom was always white never pastel...
PLUS: He (David, not Mike Ovitz) actually tracked down the real story behind that legendary (but as it turns out, not an urban legend!) Tale of the Assistant Who Had to Deliver His Boss's Stool Sample to the Doctor.
WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 20, 7-10pm
All journalists should email email@example.com to RSVP
Economist Profiles 'The Big Dick'
LaExaminer.com writes: The Economist (paid subscription required) paints a flattering picture of ex-Mayor Richard Riordan's plan to launch a weekly tabloid in Los Angeles in June. The conclusion: "The Examiner plans to eschew sex-ads but still offer itself for free. This chaste, generous approach may make it hard for it to break even in three years, as it hopes. Mr Layne loyally argues that one attraction will be the voice of Mr Riordan himself, who will have a column. Another interfering proprietor? At least he dropped his original plan (possibly not altogether serious) to call the paper the Big Dick."
Garrison writes: I was intrigued at first, then enthusiastic. Then all this time passed and I forgot about it. Then I was unimpressed. Then I was really interested. Then I was over it. Then I was intrigued again. Then I was hearing so much about it, but not really anything new, that I became bored with it. Now I'm just waiting, sort of interested, but really just paying attention.
Really writes: I was amused at first, then perplexed. Then all this time passed and I obsessed about it. Then I drank, I hallucinated, and I vomited. Then I put it out of my mind. Now the memories rouse only when tequila once more bites my throat. And also when I dream.
Luke Makes Another Rabbi Cry
I was in an Orthodox shul this morning and I ran into a strange creature - a Conservative rabbi.
Luke: "What did you think of THE NEW RABBI?"
Rabbi: "I couldn't finish it. I read the part about my friend Rabbi Rank and it was too painful..."
I thought he was about to cry. I asked him about AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. The rabbi said it made him want to go home, take a nice warm bath, and open up a vein.
I guess he meant that's a bad feeling.
With subjects who thought I roughed them up in my column (so long as I was accurate and fair, which is often too much to ask), my philosophy has always been - 'F--- 'em if they can't take a joke.'
Rabbis are the people who've thrown me out of various shuls, turned me away many times when I wanted to convert, and insisted that I get psychiatric counseling when I wanted to pray with them. This is the group that tells people I've spoken inappropriately to women, used sexual innuendos (I plead guilty on both counts), and only come around to write bad things about Jews. So I don't have a lot of sympathy for rabbis. What about my feelings when they booted me out of shul?
Sometimes I wonder if there might be something wrong I'm doing?
Why am I so driven to torturing the people I most admire and want to get close to? Why can't I be gentle and boring like The Los Angeles Times? Why can't I say poetical things about sunsets like David "Hot Button" Poland? Every time I read his column, I see something new and wonderful about his character that I had previously neglected.
Khunrum writes: Luke, Don't people who pray usually ask for something? That is what I've always understood prayer too be. One "prays for peace".."prays for a sick relative"...prays for something......perhaps to win the heart of a beautiful maiden.
I almost never pray but if I did it would be for good health. With good health everything else falls into place. I wouldn't want to ask for too much beyond good health. Good health is a blessing in itself. However if I was greedy I would ask for another bull market. Good health and a bull market...thank you God, you are too generous.
I believe Luke Ford readers around the globe would be interested in delving further into your innermost religious thought. We hear about the various bush wars between yourself and conservative rabbis who believe you are an illogical kook but never any insight into just what you petition God for whilst praying. Come now Luke...tell us, what do you ask for when you pray?
Luke says: I pray for good health, sanity, harmony between my wildly conflicting impulses. Sometimes I find myself praying for things that are against the Torah though a lot of fun. But most of my time at prayer is spent repeating and meditating on the ancient prayers of my people - for love of Torah, fear of God, meticulous observance of the commandments, and gratitude for life. Most days I find a passage in the prayer book that particularly speaks to me, and I repeat it over and over. When I don't get up in the morning to go pray, the rest of my day seems drained of holiness and passion. When I do go pray, I feel proud of myself, and a touch more prepared to face the outside world.
Why The Rage?
XXX: Why are you so intent on destroying everything? What makes it so fun for you?
XXX: So why take it out on others?
About "others" - I try to control it as best I can - but we all have certain drives, this is my demon. Nothing wrong with destroying - so long as you destroy the right things.
XXX: I'd agree with you if you were out to destroy only people who deserved it, except that in your quest you destroy others in the process. Whether that's inadvertant or not is something I've yet to decide.
Luke: I play tackle football. If you are a public figure, I might tackle you. Nothing personal.
XXX: That doesn't make it right. And sure, it's personal. it becomes personal when it damages their livelihood.
Luke: If people choose to play football, they can get hurt. If people choose to become public figures... If I damage anyone unfairly with inaccurate info, I will get sued. Most of the time I hurt someone, it is because I report something substantially accurate. If what I report is wrong, it ends up hurting me and my reputation primarily.
Feds Say Steven Seagal Sought Mob Help
Is it just me or this fascinating story drained of all color and excitement in the Los Angeles Times telling?
Paul Lieberman writes: In the movies, Steven Seagal often portrays heroic cops. But when the action star found himself in a real-life Mafia dispute, he didn't turn to law enforcement -- according to federal authorities, he visited a New Jersey prison to get help from another mob family.
Seagal even paid $10,000 to a lawyer for an imprisoned mob captain, hoping the mobster would intercede with the group pressuring him for money to "see if we could settle this like businesspeople instead of like thugs," according to defense lawyers quoting from documents handed over to them late this week in the ongoing trial of seven reputed members of the Gambino crime family charged with racketeering along the New York waterfront.
If you want to stay on top of Hollywood, there's no better source than Movie City News. David Poland has created something special here and he's grabbed the attention of general readers (check out the alexa.com ranking), industry readers and industry advertisers. The site is garnering a ton of mentions in the press.
Director John Hancock
John D. Hancock grew up in the Midwest, graduated from Harvard, and studied theater in Europe on a grant from Harvard. He directed plays for 15 years, winning numerous awards, until becoming a movie director in 1970.
I spoke by phone with director John D. Hancock March 5, 2002.
John: "I got a grant from the American Film Institute in 1970 to do a short, Sticky My Fingers... Fleet my Feet, which was nominated for an Academy Award. CBS bought it and showed it at halftime of their Thanksgiving football game. It played all over the country with Woody Allen's feature Bananas.
"Then in 1971 I made a horror picture, Let's Scare Jessica to Death, followed by Bang the Drum Slowly." Time magazine critic Richard Schickel called it "possibly the best film made about sport in this country."
Hancock lived in Los Angeles from 1974 to 1993. "I was determined to like it and I succeeded for about six months. Our Malibu house was burned up in a big fire in 1993 and we moved to Indiana."
John married actress-screenwriter Dorothy Tristan in 1975.
John: "I had several lucrative deals from Columbia following Bang the Drum that fell through. I made Baby Blue Marine for Columbia."
Hancock wasn't happy with the result. He didn't want to cast lead Jan-Michael Vincent, preferring Adam Arkin.
"I was fired on Jaws 2. I was Dick Zanuck's choice for it. And he and Sydney Sheinberg still had scores to settle on the overages [profit sharing] on the first Jaws. Sheinberg had my wife and I over to dinner. She was writing the screenplay. Sheinberg made a strong case that his wife Lorraine Gary, who played Roy Scheider's wife in the first Jaws, should go out on a boat in the second Jaws to rescue the kids. We went back and relayed this to Zanuck and he said, 'Over my dead body.'
"Not being used to dealing in a bureaucracy with powerful people, used to just running my own ship, I did not know that the thing to do at this point was to get the two of them in a room and say, 'Now you guys need to tell me which way we have to do this.' Instead, I thought that Zanuck is a person I've always liked. I've liked the pictures he's made. He's the son of a fabulous producer-director-studio head Daryl Zanuck. I thought Sid Sheinberg, he's just some lawyer. He'll come and go.
"So we turned in the next draft without Lorraine Gary going out on the boat to rescue the kids. Sheinberg never met my eyes in the commissary again. During rehearsals, I fired an actress for a small part. She turned out to be the girlfriend of another executive at Universal. That spelled my demise. Verna Fields [1918-1982, second unit director of 1975's Jaws, longtime editor] had a role in it. She felt she should have been offered the directorship based on her editing. It was politics and I made enough mistakes that I got in trouble. Directors are like baseball managers - they get fired sometimes.
"We were shooting Jaws 2 on Martha's Vineyard in 1977. A Lear jet landed and the next day my wife and I were on our way to Rome to recover. I figured I should pull back. What was I doing doing Jaws 2 anyway? That's not the kind of thing I went into business to do. So my wife and I sat down and wrote Weeds  which took a long time to get made."
Luke: "California Dreaming . Why did you do that?"
John: "That was right after Jaws. I wanted to show that I could get other jobs. It was recut by AIP (American International Pictures owned by Sam Arkoff and his son Lou). I wasn't happy with it."
Over the next few years, Hancock directed several TV shows including Hill Street Blues and The Twilight Zone.
"I enjoyed the switch to television. I liked the pace of the work."
Luke: "Why did Weeds take so long to get made?"
John: "Because it is difficult material.
"When I was running the San Francisco Actor's Workshop [in the mid'60s], I used to go regularly to San Quentin to work with a drama group there. I inherited that job. When the guys would get out [of San Quentin], we would employ them sometimes. One particular inmate, [white guy] Joe Couthey, was in for life without possibility of parole. He robbed and kidnapped a businessman and shot him [not fatally].
"Joe and I exchanged letters. He wrote a play, The Cage, which we produced. It was influenced by Genet and Beckett.
"Eventually, a number of us wrote letters on his behalf and he got out. He got his ex-inmates together and they took The Cage on a national tour. He ended up being directed by Beckett in a couple of things in Europe.
"I knew a lot of the members of Joe's group, some of them black kids. One guy, Bobby Poole, wrote Richard Pryor's first movie [1973's The Mack]."
Robert J. Poole served five years in prison for 12 years of pimping.
From a description of The Mack on Imdb.com: "Goldie returns from five years at the state pen and winds up king of the pimping game. Trouble comes in the form of two corrupt white cops and a crime lord who wants him to return to the small time."
Ahertz writes on Imdb.com: If you want to get an insider's glimpse into the world of pimpin', look no further than "The Mack." Often compared to the other, better known black movies of the 1970's, which tend to focus more on drugs and street justice, "The Mack" incorporates both of those elements, but with a heavy focus on pimpin'. It gives outsiders a glimpse into the life of a pimp through the eyes of 1973's official Pimp of the Year, Goldie ("The Mack" shows that this dubious title is actually given out in an annual event, one similar to the Oscars). Goldie's strengths are his strong pimp hand, which he uses early and often, and the fact that he always gets his percentage on time (as in "woman better have my percentage"). Although his brother (fyi: one of magnum p.i.'s sidekicks) dedicates his life warning people about pimps and drug pushers, Goldie continues his lavish lifestyle, going so far as to bring his women to the annual Pimp Softball and Barbeque Outing (for a pimp, Goldie sure knows how to swing the lumber). But, with a tragic ending, Goldie must examine his life and is forced to make a huge decision.
If you are looking for great acting, a movie where you can hear what the people are saying (everyone speaks really softly), or good music, look elsewhere. Also, although Richard Pryor gets second billing in this movie, he is seen in the movie less than a pimp in daylight.
I think the strengths of this movie are the costumes and the "pimp insight" one can gain. If you want a crash course on what it takes to be a respected pimp (fine clothes, ability to wear sunglasses during all hours, have an unruly afro, kill people using dynamite, play a lot of craps and three card monty), then look no further than "The Mack". However, if that is not your intended goal, look further, look much much further.
John: "We built Weeds  on their story. We wrote it for Robert DeNiro. When the deal fell through with De Niro, we tried to get it done with Mickey Rourke but nobody wanted him. We tried Danny Aiello and nobody wanted him. Dino De Laurentiis finally financed the [$12 million] picture. He'd just raised a lot of money and was looking for pictures to make.
"Dino went broke before we could release the movie and that curtailed promotion and the box office gross. Dino's daughter Rafaella De Laurentiis brought me on to direct Prancer. It wasn't the type of picture that I really wanted to do, but in the course of doing it, I got into it. And it's enabled me to raise money locally for the picture I've just finished, Suspended Animation. Prancer was a big deal here in Indiana. I used a lot of locals.
"A Piece of Eden  was a personal movie. My family was in the fruit business here. And the movie is based on stories of my family and my relationship with my father. We shot this movie and Prancer  on our farm.
"We shot the 1988 HBO movie Steal the Sky in Israel during the first Intifada. We mainly shot around the West Bank. We had the Israeli army around us. We'd think we should shoot in Jericho. We'd drive in that direction and see a huge column of smoke rising from Jericho.
"I want to do an action picture. With Bang the Drum Slowly, I got typed as warm and human. I'm not."
Luke: "You're cold and inhuman?"
Luke: "Did it change you making Bang the Drum Slowly?"
John: "It changed my salability in the business enormously but no it didn't change me. I don't think it changed me inside."
Luke: "Has any movie you've made changed you on the inside?"
John: "I was formed as a director working in the theater. I did so much Brecht, then I did a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that won an Obie. I changed from a Brechtian to the guy who did A Midsummer Night's Dream. With the movies, I've just tried to master the camera. I feel like I've been doing the same thing I was 19. Movies are not that much from the theater."
Luke: "Does it hurt or help a marriage to work so closely with one's spouse?"
John: "In this case it's been very good. We admired each other's work separately before we got together."
Luke: "Do you prefer working on independent or studio films?"
John: "I just prefer working."
Stupid Jew Bitch
Matt Welch writes: So, longtime Major League Baseball Umpire Bruce Froemming is on the phone with an umpiring administrator, Cathy Davis, with whom he has just wrapped up a presumably unpleasant conversation about travel arrangements. He thinks she has hung up. He says: “Stupid Jew bitch.” She has not hung up. He is in a world of sh--.
Froemming is suspended for 10 days, apologizes (while denying any anti-Semitism), and is asked not to hang around the spring training facility of the Dodgers, who may be baseball’s most sensitive organization when it comes to issues of Judaism.
Let Us Now Praise Great Men
The post-9/11 world has seen the death of irony, reports editor Graydon Carter.
Is not my poverty an obvious example of how out of touch I am with the zeitgeist?
Just the other day, Rishawn Biddle called me "one of L.A.'s most savage media profilers." This, along with some personally disappointing interactions, prompted me to look deep inside. And I realized that my irony and sarcasm came from pain.
Would it not be more healthy for me to get in touch with the sweet side of myself? So let us now speak, unironically, in praise of a great man - David Poland.
Later this week the CIA will dispatch me to Iraq to personally assassinate Saddam Hussein. (No, I am not just saying this to get chicks.)
So like the medieval poet Jeffrey Rudell, I surfed over to Hot Button. Cost what it may, I had to read David one more time. I could not resist the urge to take away one last memory that I could cherish down the lonely years in the Middle East without internet access.
(Rudell fell in love with the wife of the Lord of Tripoli. He took ship to Tripoli and his servants took him ashore. He was dying of love. They bore him into the lady's presence on a litter. He had just strength enough to reach out and touch her hand, and he died.)
I came to take one last glance of the column I loved, to re-open the wound.
Yes, there had been some cooling in our relationship after I wrenched quotes of his wretchedly out of context from the Michael Medved Show.
Today, by Jeeves, as I read David, his wonderful nature seemed to open before me like some lovely flower. Every day I find myself discovering some new facet of his extraordinary character.
Have you noticed any difference in him?
An improvement, if such a thing were possible. Have you not felt sometimes that if David had a fault, it was his tendency to be a little timid in criticizing his fellow entertainment journalists? A sensitive plant, our David, hardly fit for the rough and tumble of Hollywood journalism.
But of late, in addition to that wonderful dreaminess of his, a force of character which I had not suspected he possessed. Poland has seemed to completely lost his diffidence. Only this morning he wrote quite sharply, telling Roger Friedman "to go boil his head."
Poland has hidden depths that the vapid observer overlooks. Just the other day, he said something poetic to me about sunsets. Sometimes I ask myself if I am worthy of such rare a soul.
Cali writes: David-- I think you and Luke need to sit down (in the presence of a third party - that is absolutely crucial) to work this out. The goddamn Chicago Manual of Style indicates that only one thing can be compared to an "opening flower," and I don't think you have one. The Jungian interpretation isn't much better. This is a classic cry for help. Come to think of it, I do remember receiving a letter like that in the fifth grade.
If Luke doesn't have braces, knee-socks and mosquito-bite nipples, I might think about taking a different route home if I were you... Be careful out there.
HEY JUDEN! Are YOU a Secular One-Worlder?
Chaim Amalek writes: It's your old pal AMALEK again. You know, I am a lot like you - short, stocky, swarthy, hairy-palmed, bagel eating, with a ratty crown of ermine-like hair on top of my fat greasy stooped insecure neurotic head. That's why I assume that what I like (e.g., shiksas and chinese) you will like, and I really like David Brooks' article in the March issue of The Atlantic. He's talking about YOU, Hollywood Juden - your penises, your bank balances, the things you said to your lawyer that you assumed would be held in confidence. Well, guess what? YOU WERE WRONG! So find yourself a copy of this fine magazine and read what he has to say. If you do not, AMALEK PROMISES THAT YOUR CAREER WILL BEGIN TO TANK, MEANING THAT NO SHIKSA WILL WANT TO SLEEP WITH YOU AND NO JEW WILL TAKE YOUR SERIOUSLY.
LISTEN to AMALEK, for he is always right.
Khunrum writes: Luke, Does Luke Ford.net support or even condone polygamy? Would you consider having more than one wife? Would they all have to be Jewish? How about four kvetching yentas?
ISRAELI-ARAB POLYGAMY: EXISTENTIAL THREAT The Interior Ministry, in a report entitled "Polygamy in Israel," indicates that Israel is paying through the nose to 20,000 Israeli-Arab men who have married multiple wives from other countries, and thus receive child-support payments for them. The report, submitted to PM Sharon yesterday, was prepared by Brig.-Gen. (res.) Herzl Gedz, head of the Ministry's Population Registry.
"The State of Israel, for known reasons, is a choice destination for non-Jewish immigrants from various other countries," states the report, quoted in Maariv today, "and especially from Arab nations and the PA. This wave of immigration is very dangerous to Israel's national security, presenting a security, criminal, and political danger, an economic burden, and especially a demographic danger for the future of the State."
The report gives examples. One Arab man is married to six women, has 54 children, and receives National Insurance payments of 25,000 shekels each month. Another Arab man living in the Sharon area is married to five women, has 35 children, and receives 16,500 shekels a month......
Primetime Gets Sexier
From the New York Times: What Evan and Sarah were doing deep in the French woods that balmy, moonlit night was not audible, so on last week's episode of "Joe Millionaire," Fox added subtitles ("aaah," "slurp" and "gulp") that suggested that the couple were engaged in more than conversation.
On a recent episode of "Fastlane," a "Miami Vice"-like cop show on Fox, the luscious detective played by Tiffani Thiessen went undercover to investigate two lipstick lesbians; she passionately kissed the blond suspect while all three women frolicked topless in a hot tub. "Fastlane," is on at 8 p.m. and "Millionaire" at 9, but then again, the family hour has grown more permissive over the past few years.
Cathy Seipp writes for UPI.com: I'll bet Sunday night's premiere of ABC's new "Dragnet" series set a record for the number of times the word "semen" has been uttered on network television.
I asked Executive Producer Dick Wolf about this, and -- this is what I like about him, actually -- as usual he tried to make me feel like an idiot.
That's what he always does when any reporter asks a question that's less than completely admiring, and by now he's got his world-weary, you-don't-know-shit response burnished to a fine sheen.
"Gee, I guess you've never seen 'Special Victims Unit,'" Wolf responded at the ABC news conference, referring to one his many "Law & Order" spinoffs.
"I was not aware of the number of mentions of semen, but it didn't leap out at anybody else."
As it turns out, it did. Because another reporter, emboldened by my elevating introduction of bodily fluids into the conversation, immediately followed up with a question about "the ick factor" in this new "Dragnet."
Which, for the record, included this bit of dialogue by Sgt. Joe Friday (now played by Ed O'Neill of "Married, With Children" fame) in the pilot, as he observed a decomposed Jane Doe: "Semen on the OUTSIDE of the vagina and anus and not on the INSIDE?"
My Mom writes: Have you seen that program called The Bachelor that is about one perfect man choosing between 20 beautiful women? He was a bit wimpy, the bachelor. In the conclusion tonight, the current bachelor proposed and got an acceptance. You might get some tips from the show. But remember, you have to be sincere. I would rather see a program on one woman choosing between 20 men, but probably no men would watch, whereas a lot of women would watch the one I am telling you about.
It's definitely a Hallmark type program, money, glitz, glamor, attraction, pheromones. Superficial. They don't appear to ask if the girls are Jewish, for instance.
Chaim Amalek writes: If you are really interested in being jewish, this is the time for you to seek a match with whatever jewish woman will have you. She might be older than you want (many forty-ish females are just FABULOUS!), fatter too for sure, but at least she will be jewish.
And Luke, it is never too late for you to take up the study of accounting.