Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Ranger Who Told All About Anais Nin's Wild Life

The obituary of the tall young man in the photo relates mainly to the adventurous sex life of the demure little lady in the chair.

Somewhat after this picture was taken, but well within the time of Anais Nin's multiple marriages and affairs, she attended a meeting of the film society some friends and I were setting up in West Hollywood. As the evening wore on, it became apparent that our noted poet guest was growing impatient with our project debates. I sort of assumed that she found our film interests not really to her taste; maybe too many "B" - for banal - movies.

I was probably wrong about that. I now think that she found our attractive young group were too interested in cinema and she had come looking for sex.

Sorry, Anais.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Young Turks

Nobody said they have to male.

But Katie Couric

is going to be starting her new stint at CBS Evening News with long glances back over her shoulder.

It is pretty obvious that CBS News has a special hard-on for

Lara Logan.She gets more time on the Network newscast - with long talking head shots, glamourously coifed and posed before the brights lights of Haifa - than anchor man Bob Schieffer. It looks like CBS has great plans for this South African beauty.

But Lara better keep a lookout over her own shoulder, because my pick for media stardom in none other than The Daily Show Star lactosing correspondent

Did Sam borrow Lara's lighted back drop that same night?

What a cool move.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Summer Shoes

Putting on my LeonardoPellinacci's today,

I was remined of another time I wore them. It was a very hot day, like today, and I had an appointment to pitch a TV sitcom project at NBC Burbank. For the benefit of out-of-towners, Burbank is midway between hell and a hot place. So I dressed for the weather; lightweight shirt, slacks and loose-woven shoes.

Before heading over the pass to the San Inferno Valley, I met with my producer and a sales exec at their Westwood Village offices. Meeting me for the first time, the sales exec approached me with his outstretched hand, but he stared at my head. His greeting was, "Gray hair! They hate gray hair at NBC!"

Meanwhile, the morning sun was bouncing brightly off his shiny bald dome.

As we went to the parking structure, Mr. Sales Exec asked me where my coat jacket was. I pointed out that it was already hot in Westwood and we were on our way to an even hotter place. The Producer stepped in to moderate the issue by explaining that I lived in Santa Monica. The dark suited Sales Exec did not seem too satisfied by that explanation, but we proceeded on our way.

At NBC, we met with two young development men in short sleeve shirts. Nonetheless, Mr. Sales Exec introduced me as the writer and qualified my appearance as a condition of being from Santa Monica. Our team felt we had a good, commercial project and I made a solid project pitch, avoiding expressive hyperbole, and left the salesmanship up to our bald and suited salesman.

The Producer and I left the Sales Exec with the development guys and drifted around the halls to wait. When he came out, the Sales Exec told us it was a very good meeting and he complimented me on the "sincerity bit," feeling it played well.

An attractive woman stopped to say hello and when introduced to me, complimented me on my shoes. After she left, Mr. Sales Exec asked me where I bought them.

Later, when we were separating to go to our respective cars, he got me away from the Producer to ask me what other projects I had and to bring them directly to him in the future.

Unfortunately, NBC passed on my sitcom (although in the next year two networks aired shows similar to mine), the Sales Exec lost his job and I already owned the last pair of Leonardo Pellinaccis in Los Angeles.

Friday, July 07, 2006

White Heat

What is White Heat about? About 114 minutes if you want to know the truth. 114 minutes of pure cinema. It is not a story. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end. White Heat jump starts (Cagney's character from a railroad overpass) with a train robbery, then quickly establishes a network of cliché crosscurrents and conflicts; but in the process develops no characters or themes and examines no sociological concepts or values. Nor does White Heat end. There is no resolution of issues gone before. It just suddenly stops. Dead. With the famous explosion, of course, that puts Cody Jarret on "Top of the World, Ma!"

White Heat proves that great movies do not require conventional story-telling, dramatic conflict or meaningful character development. A great movie needs only great acting, clear directing and an action line that allows the viewer to enjoy the details of the movie much the same as the notes of a favorite piece of music.

James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien and Steve Cochran lead a cast of good performances that orchestrate like a Prokofiev Symphony.

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