|Economists, Movie Stars, Glitter and The Creature From The Black Lagoon
|by Thom Fowler
It's been a long two weeks. I went from the fun side of the industry (parties, awards ceremonies, movie stahs) to the not so fun side, the economics of the industry (who pays for all this and what is it worth as a commodity). My informants this week range from performance artist Candyass to Mayor Hahn of Los Angeles. Yup, I took it all in one wide, deep scoop through this beloved, exciting industry and its home in the basin.
And now the weather. The economic weather.
Stormy conditions with worse weather on the way.
I rocked out at the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s bi-annual economic forecast summit. The focus was on the entertainment industry so I went. Not that I don’t think economics are important or that I’m not acutely aware of how the stock market affects my quality of life (I say as I collect unemployment as another overeducated economic fatality). I skipped out on sexy schmoozing with the other journos and industry execs and headed straight for the practical California Employment Development Department and State of Californa economists. These are the people that come up with the numbers that get broadcast, written about and discussed from news rooms to board rooms.
We chatted about the individual impact of a recession (the EDD folks) and political pressure to produce favorable numbers (the State Government folks) The government economist tells me that federal, state and corporate economists have a “herd mentality”. Everyone tries to find a number, such as the jobless rate, that everyone bases their budgeting on, that they all agree to just accept as “Good enough”.
Statistics are funny like that. In a course I took in grad school about developing public policy, we learned all kinds of interesting ways to use the “facts” of statistics to sway opinion and all kinds of models you can use for wildly varying results.
The CEO of International Creative Management, Jeff Berg, who is also Julia Robert’s manager, mentioned that Hollywood is also stuck in a lockstep mode and with difficulty coming to terms with how the new economic reality is conditioning the behavior of investors which impacts the bottom line of the film industry and all the people it employs both directly and through an auxillary service sector. The Mayor of Los Angeles gave a lunch time speech about bringing production back to Los Angeles. “We’ve still got TV” was his hopeful rallying cry. Terminator 3 is set to begin shooting, bringing millions into the Los Angeles.
That tricky, sticky, icky global economy. Chaotic conditions in Argentina absolutely impact the ability of JP Morgan to put together a financing package for a motion picture in Los Angeles.
The whole afternoon ended though, with me giving someone advice about how to approach online dating. Stick to topical discussion groups. Be aware that online chatting can create a sense of false intimacy. Look for consistency and try to determine what that other person is after … and are you after the same thing? If you decide to meet, meet somewhere out in the open, in the middle of the day and don’t get emotionally committed to someone about whom a great deal of information is missing. The mind loves to fill in the blanks and you’ll paint a picture of your fantasy and project it onto the words.
Meeting in real life can be a big dissapointment or require a considerable attitude adjustment. Seeing, not reading, is believing. The important thing is to protect your heart, I tell her. It’s the one thing you need to take home if things don’t work out the way you want.
For the whole Oscar story and my exclusive scoop on the big stars making their way along the party circuit visit http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/hbs.cgi?feature=547
I watched the Oscars (half of them anyway) at the Out In Television and Film Oscar Party. Out In Television and Film is a new networking organization for Gays and Lesbians who work in the Entertainment industry. Their mission is to “help gays and lesbians achieve their highest career potential”. How many Anne Heche’s will it take before this organization loses its grip on its constituency?
The guy working the door at the OTF fete questioned my gayspectability when I didn’t want information about Here events. Here is supposed to be THE elite, premium nightclub where all the most beautiful and perfect boys go. I’m an 18 year veteran of nightlife, it takews a lot more then go-go dancers and cartoon character men to get me excited. Poo on me for not playing along. Everyone DID look great but the buzz was nil, that left drinking too much and talking about underwear and last weeks trick.
That is not what I signed up for when I “chose” to enter le monde homosexuel.
After the wall of attitude I got from the official greeters, I’m thinking we need a better mirror if the best we get is a fascist gaystapo. What happened to being cordial, gracious and kind? The greeters were an all-volunteer army, so the volunteer coordinator should have spent a few minutes explaining the importance of their role and outline a few basic
Performance artist Candyass (aka Brian McCarthy, creative director of Odyssey Magazine) was at the Out in Television and Film party with Alexis Arquette (brother of David and Rosanna, brother in law of Friends star, Courtney Cox). While I’m talking to McCarthy, he’s moving between this flashy, fast, rock and roll persona, complete with leather pants, lipgloss, smoky shades at night and a man-purse … and just this guy who tells me under his breath .. “its all just a show”. Well, duh. So I’ve got a new dichotomy to explore. Backstage and onstage.
I had an Alexis Arquette triple threat weekend. He was also, to my surprise, a good fit for this character I’m writing into a novel that could easily become a generation defining screenplay with the kind of lasting, universal appeal of Ginsberg’s “Howl”. The myth for us, now.
Someone asked me recently if the novel was made into a screenplay who would play the lead. Connelly, he wondered? I didn’t think she could carry it off. She seemed to have a farm-girl after glow about her. An aw-shucks quality that wouldn’t be right. But when I saw her at the Oscar’s I thought she could pull it off. Then Connelly won for Best Supporting Actress, so now someone has to write the part that will make her a legend for a generation
I need a producer, a director, a crew, some money and we’ve got a generation defining film that’ll tell the truth so loud your ears will bleed. I’m thinking “Easy Rider”.
Glitter throwing fairy Rip Taylor graciously backed up his car to let me squeeze by on a tiny West Hollywood side street. He isn’t always grinning. Sometimes, he’s driving in LA, as exasperated as everyone else trying to push through. I check out Rip’s website. There’s a link to “Where’s Rip Now”. I was wondering if he wore a sattelite tracking device. I could keep reloading the page. “Where’s Rip Now.” “Where’s Rip NOW”. It would be fun tracking Rip all over LA and otherwise. Tedious and absurd, yes.But its RIP! Or is that stalking? WHERE IS RIP NOW!#$%$!
David J. Schow, who wrote the screenplay for The Crow, co-hosted a private party with Gothic.net luminary Darren McKeeman. It was a mini-horror fiction writers convention with southland writers and publishers in attendance with film makers, Marilyn Manson wannabes, Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling) afficionados, waify goth chicks and a noticably absent Clive Barker. I did, in fact, wear all black. And with my dyed black hair, tattoos and rather pronounced holes in my ears, you’d think I was there because I was into gothic and horror fiction. But I didn’t know anyone so …
We talked about fans (you have them? THEY have them?), Aubrey Beardsley, and the kind of luxury available to important movie business people (private jets with an attendant for each passenger and service that makes international first class look like breakfast at McDonalds. Because Big Name Movie Stars on Important Press Junkets need to feel as important as they are treated. No wonder so many people want to break through in this business, the benefit package can’t be beat. Without dropping any names, he managed to tell me he took a ride with Jim Carrey to New York on a studio jet.
Schow lives in the Hollywood Hills just beneath a walled compound called The Wolf’s Lair. I asked, but nobody knew who lives there. I did find out that there was a French Flag flying before being replaced by an American one. The House itself, what you can see of it from the road, looks like a European chateau with towers, turrets and latticed windows and sits at the very top of the highest point in the hills with a 360 degree view of the LA basin.
The view from Schow’s place isn’t too bad either. Schow is obsessed with The Creature from the Black Lagoon. His enormous Black Lagoon memorobilia collection includes a Creature pinball game. He is obviously a fan of the genre as well a prolific horror fiction writer.
I brought a liquer that I make that mixes very well with Dr.Pepper. Turns out David collects cans and bottles of all the Dr.Pepper knock off brands and is an avid drinker of the stuff. I didn’t even know I was going to his party since I don’t keep up on the horror world. I was just bringing a host gift. Its nice to know that the universe will just figure out all the details for you if you show up and act out from your authentic self.
He was my kind of guy. Exploratory, unassuming, presses on.
Noted horror author John Shirley started the script for The Crow, then Schow was called in to clean it up and Shirley was fired. Shirley said in some interview that 'Brandon would still be alive if they'd used my script because it was less violent'. Bad move -- Schow and Brandon were best pals, and he was quite affected by watching him die. Its impossible to say what could or couldn’t be done to prevent tragic accidents. At best, you can accept that they happen and then try to get on with whatever life you have left.
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originally posted: 04/01/02 18:56:43
last updated: 04/13/02 07:18:10