Saturday, May 24, 2008
Probably a handful of the most delightful works of art I've recently encountered were on display in the recent exhibit - "Affaire in the Gardens" - crafted by talented sculptor Fredrick Prescott.
In fact, the kinetic steel sculptures of wild animals - Moose, Giraffes, and Elephants - were a big crowd-pleaser when they were unveiled in the lush gardens in Beverly Hills.
When a passer-by happens across the bold, colorful, cartoon cut-outs - they not only strike a chord, but hit the funny bone a bit - and by virtue of their pure whimsy - resonate deep within the artistic sensibilities.
According to the congenial Prescott, "everything inspires him".
For instance, the vibrant colors that find their way into his sculptures are drawn from what he categorizes as - "the distinctively electric palette of the contemporary world around him".
And, he goes on to wax poetic, that the pieces reflect experiences which he has transformed into - "half-real, half-fantastic images" - that are a tangible example of the joy and humor he finds in everything that he observes.
Whether depicting frenetic street scenes, or the world of animals and nature, all the artworks reflect his joyful perspective on a world that is humorous and colorful, according to the outgoing artist.
In particular, I marveled at the novelty of the kinetic aspect of his animal sculptures. The metal "sheets" (which comprise the bold buoyant forms) are balanced in such a way - that depending on the specific design of each - a head bobs up-and-down or side-to-side, powered by the natural prevailing wind.
In the mind's eye of a few, the amusing sculptures amount to innovative weather vanes!
Since 1974, Prescott has exhibited his work all over the world and created special pieces on commission for both private and corporate collectors; including Walt Disney Co., Porsche, and the Chicago Bulls, among others.
Also, Prescott’s larger-than-life sculptures have frequently been installed in public parks and venues where people of all ages and backgrounds can view them.
On the day I was joyfully savoring the artworks up-close, a resident of Beverly Hills was arranging for Mr. Prescott to drop by so the family could order up a special garden sculpture for the kids and neighbors to enjoy.
As Henry Ward Beecher once said,
Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.
Rumors - which have been fleshed out a smidgen in a recent TIME magazine report - abound that Bill Clinton has been stealthily scheming with key players in the background in a bold-faced effort to pitch Hillary's prospects for the VP ticket in the upcoming election this fall.
Has he conceded she'll lose the shot at top dog?
On the heels of the startling scoop, the New York Times proceeded to report at week's end that the maneuverings are definitely not fiction.
But, writers came up empty-handed (again) when it came to quoting direct sources, since the elusive tattle-tales behind-the-scenes preferred to remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.
In the Hillary camp, top-level organizers are adamant that neither Mr. Clinton nor anyone else in the camp had given up on Hillary's candidacy for Prez. In fact, they emphasized that "no efforts" were being made to position their hapless candidate to be a potential "running mate".
Howard Wolfson - Hillary's Director of Communications - stated for the record,
"Senator Clinton is solely focused on being the Democratic nominee. I have seen no interest on her part in being Vice President."
So, what gives?
Friends close to Bill have sworn up-and-down that slick Willy's "musings" have been more than just piffle. In fact, they have allegedly whispered that the former president believes that an Obama-Clinton ticket could help unify the party.
Apparently, he's worried, too. In one conversation he inferred that Obama might wave off an overture, when he argued to confidants that Hillary had at least "earned a meeting with Obama to discuss the possibility."
A pain in the butt? More like a groveling ne'er do well, if you ask me.
"If she's not going to be the nominee, then he wants her in the second spot. In the long run, it's the best way for her to run again in 2016," a friend in the shadows chipped in.
If I am not mistaken, most voters are under the impression that a vote for Barack Obama ultimately brings a screeching halt to the "Clinton" regime. After all, isn't that what Obama's campaign message is supposed to be all about - change?
The idea of Hillary clinging on to 2016 is a staggering thought.
Is she plotting to rise up to the stature of - Mother Teresa - one day? Minus the skirt, of course!
The unexpected scenarios have caused me to reflect a little.
Has Hillary finally recognized the fact that the party is finally over?
If so, is pride just getting in the way?
At this juncture, it is probably best to quote the scriptures,
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace; but with humility comes wisdom"
Come clean now, Hillary. The truth will set you free.
Bill, there you go again!
As I waited for the ushers to cart out the trash from the first screening of "Shelter" at the Regency Theatre, an elderly woman sauntered out of the pitch black and struck up a bit of idle chit-chat with me.
"The film is about two gay guys. But, not much goes on in the movie," she assured me.
"No fights, nothing."
Not having screened the film yet, I was inclined to respond in an upbeat fashion.
"Maybe that's the message. Maybe life doesn't always have to be an ordeal."
When the curtain fell, and the storyline unfolded, I was forced to consider the woman was either out-of-her-cups or had fallen asleep during the movie.
Yes, the film starts off fairly routine.
An appealing young man is holed up with his sister and her young child in a spotty part of San Pedro (in that respect, a downer for sure!).
Although a relationship with a pretty young gal appears to be on keel, he is struggling - on the other hand - to achieve success as an artist.
On a trip to pick up some gear at his best friend's house in an upscale part of town - he casually runs into the older brother - a handsome virile surfer.
One thing leads to another - and suddenly - the pretty dudes end up in-between the sheets together.
The romance unfolds so naturally, and believably, that it appears for all-the-world to be a kind-of fairy-tale love story.
Only in the movies, right?
But, as fate would have it, loved ones - a sister, for instance - throw a damper on things.
"I can't deal with you being a fag right now, not with all my problems," she whines.
Suddenly, the young man goes into a tailspin, doubts his feelings for the surfer, and ends up going through a traumatic period of angst, denial, and uncertainty about the lifestyle that possibly lurks ahead.
As the kinks work their way out, the predictable happens.
The winsome twosome reunite in a classic Hollywood-style ending.
Yeah, gays are not immune to the bull**it producers doll out under the guise of marketability.
"Shelter's" strong suit springs from its strident capacity to take a fresh approach to otherwise cliché material over well-travelled territory.
Yes, this project is a long cry from its groundbreaking forefathers such as - "Boys in the Band", "Lone Companion", and "Brokeback Mountain".
There is a lot of eye-candy scattered about the landscape to gobble up, too - lush beach settings, for instance - populated by tanned yummy-looking people.
Who knew Prince Charming was so easy to stumble upon in a world of tortured gay men?
However, I found one aspect of the feature a bit troubling.
In spite of the fact the surfer is older and has obviously slept around a bit - the issue of HIV status and "safe sex" - is never broached.
I found the producers negligent in this regard and their actions unconscionable.
In fact, this film sugar-coats a number of important gay issues.
In the final analysis, "Shelter" ends up being sheer fantasy.
A bad message to promote to the young gay community.
Friday, May 23, 2008
If you saunter up the street from the celebrity hot spot - The Villa - you'll stumble across a well-manicured lava garden with a row of stunning 6 foot cacti edging the walkway on trendy Melrose Avenue.
The site houses the chic Balenciaga boutique - the only outlet for the discerning upscale clotheshorse to shop in - outside of Manhattan in the continental U.S.
Nicholas Ghesquiere - the creative director - fell in love with the building early on when locations were being scouted for the fashion house known for its cutting-edge designs and celebrity clients like Kate Moss, Jennifer Connelly, and Nicole Kidman.
The two-story Gucci-owned store is quite distinctive, brimming with high glamour, and has a futuristic feel to it.
Ghesquiere - and the French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster - zeroed in on a signature color (blue); then, used scintillating lighting techniques to ensure there would be dynamic rhythms in the light throughout the day as the sun lazily moved across the sky.
In addition, the visionary duo installed shutter-like blue slats to run floor-to-ceiling along the walls to maximize the affect.
There are state-of-the-art designer touches too - LED lighting fixtures, custom-made display cases that open with touch-activated mechanisms, and interior walls etched with silver leaf, for a luxurious feel.
Customers are usually wowed by a geometric pattern on the floor in the grand entrance which is artfully set with three shades of elegant marble.
The moneyed elite are easily enticed in the inviting front door by a well-stocked mini-bar, bathrooms concealed by sliding doors, and dressing rooms that feature gender specific seating.
The fashion collection is far-reaching.
Here, you'll plunk down $350.00 for designer shades or $3,000.00 for a chic one-of-a-kind handbag.
Meanwhile, dazzling eye-popping gowns range from a paltry $1,000.00 to $70,000.00.
Just say, "charge it", in the VIP dressing room.
By the way, David Barry once said,
"The leading cause of death among fashion models is falling through street grates."
The media has been trying to pin down Obama on potential running mates for the upcoming election.
But, he's been a bit coy with the press. And, determined not to overstep himself in these precarious political times.
In spite of the fact it's obvious someone in the wings will have to reach out with a hook, and yank Mrs. Clinton off the world stage kickin' and screamin' at the appropriate nod, Obama has been quite a gentleman about it - biding his time patiently.
Is the nomination in the bag yet?
Not if Hillary would have her druthers.
On the subject of choosing an individual for the Vice Presidential ticket, one reporter pointedly asked Obama,
"Will you be willing to consider everyone a possible running mate, even if his or her spouse is a pain in the butt?"
A veiled reference to slick Willy?
After a roar from the crowd, and a moment to collect his thoughts, Barack was inclined to note for the record that one of his heroes - Abraham Lincoln - often filled positions with rivals, so why not?
That old familiar saying comes to mind,
"Keep your friends near, but your enemies closer."
If that's the route he goes, the man must be a masochist.
If you ask me, jousting with Hillary in the White House would amount to utter he**.
Personally, I wouldn't tempt fate by sipping any beverage or munching on any delectable goody she brought to the Oval Office around afternoon tea, either.
Barack, beware of Greeks who bear gifts...
Divine Grace is a manifestation of the cosmic free will in operation.
It can alter the course of events in a mysterious manner through its own unknown laws, which are superior to all natural laws, and can modify the latter by interaction.
It is the most powerful force in the Universe.
It is a visitation of a force unexpected and unpredictable.
It is a voice spoken out of cosmic silence.
Cosmic Will which can perform authentic miracles under its own laws
Philosopher & Mystic
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Some times the morning paper is such a hoot.
Like today, for instance.
In an article on the presidential candidates, a journalist reported that Hillary Clinton supporters were irate with the press for casting their presidential hopeful in a bad light.
A couple of 'em whined that the media deliberately used unflattering camera angles to skewer her image. But, worse than that - were guilty of aiming the lens at her bu**cakes - whenever she bent over.
"It's derogatory," one fan fumed.
Well, the target is difficult to miss!
But, I have a suggestion as to how "Hill" can kill two birds with one stone.
Bill's other best-half, should sign on as a spokesperson for a diet product, much like the - "Duchess of York" - did.
In addition to slimming down and improving her image, she'd be able to rustle up some big bucks to breathe life into her sagging - um - campaign.
In the alternative, she could start flouncing about in a muumuu.
After all - to some - the cow is still sacred 'ya know!
Ah, there is a hot new magazine on the stands with a catchy title - L.A. Actor.
It sure is a welcome addition to the local Southern California performing arts scene.
The slick - well-thought out entry - reminds me of the old "Drama-Logue" weekly that used to be a literal "bible" for all the struggling thespians in Hollywood striving for that elusive break in the biz.
The premier edition features Harrison Ford on a glossy cover.
Inside, there are a number of practical features that are sure to add luster to any young actor's tools of the trade.
For instance, there is an insider feature on how to break into commercials. A toughie, I know, since I traversed that well-travelled road in my younger macaroni & cheese days.
There's also a useful guide with audition tips.
In fact, there's also a section on "Casting Notices", in the event a talented few are without a Theatrical Agent doing their bidding, yet.
By the way, don't be disheartened about that.
When I was in-between reps, I submitted myself to casting offices - and on a couple of fortuitous occasions - landed an audition. And - in spite of what the naysayers thought about agent-less-submissions - snatched up the assignment, too!
So, "never say never". Keep the faith, eh?
An informative article on A.C.T. (Actors Comprehensive Training) may be of particular interest to those just starting to nose their way around the lot without much experience under the belt, as well.
One of their staffers notes A.C.T.'s mission is to,
"Bring together the community and help each other network."
When first launching a career in Tinsel town, an unknown actor needs all the help he can get, trust me!
And when they say "trust me", don't!
The industry periodical also has a list of casting directors and agents to submit pictures and resumes to.
Heck, that saves a lot of time going through the yellow pages, or the aggravation of hot-footing it up to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or AFTRA (the American Federation of Radio & TV Artists) to snap up a list.
If you're looking for some exposure, or just keen on impressing a handful of friends, L.A. Actor also has a centerfold section where an enterprising performer keen on self-promotion can plop down a few bucks to have a head shot printed alongside other struggling actors in an upcoming issue.
Who knows, you might be discovered - kid!
But, remember what Walter Winchell said,
"Hollywood is where they shoot too many pictures and not enough actors."
This morning a young overweight and unattractive Afro-American lady plopped herself down in a wide easy chair at the Java Detour; then - for some strange reason - got the impression that customers were enamoured of her.
In fact, she turned to one startled guest, and requested that he stop staring at her.
Well, it was one of life's embarrassing moments, for sure.
Unbeknownst to the self-absorbed woman, there was a wide screen over her head broadcasting the morning news. And that, not her, was the focal point of their keen interest.
When it was brought to her attention, she looked like she wanted to slink away and crawl under a carpet somewhere.
The incident reminded me of an old familiar phrase.
"It's all about me."
Carl Sagan once said,
"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
On the free book shelf at the Bodhi Tree, I stumbled across a rare find.
Ah, a pristine copy of the "Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley which chronicles his experimentation with the hallucinogenic drug, mescaline.
During that time span, Huxley fervently explored the inner workings of his mind at a quaint little house in Llano in the Mojave Desert.
The big thrust was on the topic of contemplation, mysticism, and a mind-expanding experiment that would lead him to conclude that both "mescaline" and the controversial drug "lysergic acid" (LSD) were "drugs of distinction" which should be exploited for their "supernaturally brilliant visionary experience".
The book went on to become a best-seller in the psychedelic 1960s and inspired the name of the legendary rock band "The Doors".
For those of you into trivia, Huxley also appeared on the sleeve of a landmark Beatles album - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - which scholars and Beatle fans alike are quick to point out featured a curiously surreal tune - "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" - which they assert refers to an LSD trip embarked on by the fab four.
In retrospect, the mind-bending adventure on the part of Huxley, appeared to be brought on by a lofty quest to go beyond this realm of existence.
The book is rife with colorful insightful text.
"The urge to transcend self-conscious self-hood is, as I have said, a principal appetite of the soul. When, for whatever reason, men and women fail to transcend themselves by means of worship, good works, and spiritual excesses, they are apt to resort to religion's chemical surrogates such as alcohol and "goof pills" in the modern West, alcohol and opium in the East, hashish in the Mohammedan world, alcohol and marijuana in Central America, alcohol and coca in the Andes, alcohol and the barbiturates in the more up-to-date regions of South America."
However, Huxley never deluded himself, if we are to believe his musings in one telling section of the cult classic.
"I am not so foolish as to equate what happens under the influence of mescaline or of any other drug, prepared or in the future preparable, with the realization of the end and ultimate purpose of human life: enlightenment, the beatific vision. All I am suggesting is that the mescaline experience is what Catholic theologians call a "gratuitous grace", not necessary to salvation but potentially helpful and to be accepted thankfully, if made available."
"To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by "Mind at Large" - this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual."
A number of the profound ponderings and other-worldly observations put forth here were undoubtedly triggered by the potent swagger of the mind-altering drug.
A worthwhile read, if you can find it in print.
He said what?
"An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex."
Occasionally, I toss the I CHING to determine what the influences will be during the course of the day ahead.
Today, I cast KWEN.
The Hexagram represents contemplation.
The Earth below
The Wind above
According to my reference book, a small tonal change in the Chinese gives the word KWEN a double meaning, which translates to contemplating and exhibiting.
Therefore, the hexagram refers to both the contemplator and contemplation.
All that is not one is the other.
The shape of the character resembles a Tower - one familiar in ancient China - which is situated on a mountain. In view of this, the image signifies a watchtower (beacon of light) to those above and a landmark to those below.
The shape of the Tower represents the gate of the eternal present which rests in balance between the future and the past (between the contemplator and the contemplated).
As a consequence, the wise man surveys his past for meaningful relevant experience.
The essence of the message is that the individual live fully in the present - with a mind to keeping the illusions of the past and the future - in proper perspective.
Accordingly, it is important for the seeker to remain open to changes.
And, to be able to move freely, without being blocked by the concept of time.
The individual tossing this hexagram represents the wind blowing freely above the Earth.
Although travel is forecast - in a physical or mental sense - the passage stresses that it is not based on a quest or need to run.
There is an opportunity to flutter from experience to experience - without clinging to static precedents, being blocked by unfounded fears, or limited by thought processes - that would otherwise bog an individual down.
The I Ching is one of the classical (ching) Chinese books dating back to Fu Hsi and the Yin dynasty. (2900 BCE)
I Ching means "Book of Changes" in English.
The two branches of Chinese philosophy - Confucianism and Taoism - have common roots in the I Ching.
Emperor Ch'in Shih-huang-ti ordered an arson of books in 213 AD, but the I Ching was fortunate to survive the purge.
The word "book" should be taken in the sense of a "Holy Book" such as it is in the Western cultures.
The sacred book was mainly used for divination - a tool to not only predict future events - but to determine how to "harmonize" with the impending forces surrounding them.
The "Book of Wisdom" is a collection of 64 short essays assigned to 64 figures.
Each character is comprised of six continuous and/or broken lines that require interpretation.
The figures are called hexagrams.
Each hexagram corresponds to a specific life situation.
At the time the coins are tossed, the querent (seeker) divines the forces at work around the circumstances, so that he or she may be guided to take appropriate action that is in harmony with the underlying energies at play.
The I Ching was thoroughly studied and translated into the German language by celebrated author - Richard Wilhelm - who was a Protestant missionary to China.
Carl Jung - who put a lot of stock in the profound influences of synchronicity - wrote the forward for the version which is the most known and appreciated by scholars and laymen alike.
In essence, the I Ching is a gauge on the environment and impending social change.
And, by virtue of the passages divined, it is wholly possible for the serious seeker to chart a path that is in sync with the forces at work rather than in conflict with them.
The I Ching is also capable of revealing the remarkable inter-connectedness of "things" - so that the individual may come to fully recognize that in nature - nothing under the sun and the moon and the stars "happens by chance".
In fact - because of an ongoing "ripple effect" in the Universe - events that appear to be "random or accidental" are not.
Ultimately, the book of changes reflects a sophisticated understanding of environmental and human cycles.
By definition, cycles have a predictable pattern.
Part of the greatness of the "Book of Changes" is that it takes into account how cycles themselves can be influenced and modified to achieve success in one's personal and professional life.
Skilled use of the texts can not only shed light on potential choices - but warn of changes and other interventions - that may alter the course of events in a negative way.
In the final analysis - it's imperative that sentient beings not only be mindful of the forces of nature at work - but strive to be in harmony with them to engender positive changes in one's life.
I Ching quote,
"It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Today, there wasn't any crew tagging along, so - in essence - Tane McClure (daughter of beloved screen idol Doug McClure) was chief cook and bottle-washer today, so-to-speak.
With expert skill, she set up the tripod for the camera, adjusted a couple of gizmos - just so - then gingerly slipped in front of the lens with a mic in hand and took on the role of on-camera news reporter, as well.
Ms. McClure was a joy to observe.
After establishing the footage she needed for a wide shot, she quickly took the state-of-the-art camera in hand, and finished up with coverage she'd need later in the editing bay. With a practical skill like that under her trendy belt, cost-conscious producers will be seeking her out, no doubt!
The charismatic young lady put aside her work for a few minutes to chat with me about her new project, "The Tane McClure Show".
In fact, when I expressed my interest in the project - which takes an insightful foray - "behind-the-scenes" - in Hollywood, Ms. McClure treated me to a sneak preview of a DVD copy of the first segment by simply plopping the disc into her PC right there on the couch in the lobby!
Clearly, Ms. McClure has a nose for news - and a flair for hosting - because the footage I screened was top-notch and engaging in every respect.
Although Tane has no formal training in filmmaking - or even editing - the imaginative dynamo managed to craft a visually-stunning piece of work that resonated below the surface with a lot of spark and sizzling entertainment value, as well.
"My Dad wanted to go into production, but then he passed away. I guess I was meant to carry on."
Others in high places obviously think so, too.
According to Tane, Time-Warner wants to give the innovative new offering a big push.
Judging by what I saw unfold before my eyes on the tiny screen - once her career is fully launched - there will obviously be no looking back.
Congrats on the new entertainment entry, Tane!
To keep abreast of what will undoubtedly be Tane's meteoric rise to fame and fortune in the biz, simply surf to:
Handsome Doug McClure starred in Virginian...
That was quite an invite I got in my e-mail box from David Geffen!
The Geffen Playhouse is hosting - "Serenade Under the Stars" - an exclusive extravaganza on Monday, June 30th, at the Malibu Inn, Carbon Beach.
The big bash is being billed as an "unforgettable event" and includes thirty luxurious packages that span over two days.
The headlining event is a "Magical Concert" with award-winning composer, playwright, musician - Hershey Felder - for instance.
Included in the musical celebration is an over-night stay in a queen-size suite (with ocean view), a cocktail reception, buffet-style dinner, dessert and champagne reception, and - natch - a continental-style breakfast the following morning.
(coffee and pastry)
The tickets are a whopping $3,000.00 and are limited to twenty-seven couples.
So book now, eh?
If your blood is a little richer, go for the upscale (!) ritzier package priced at an astounding $15,000.00 smackeroos.
The package designed for the pampered few includes:
*Ocean view King Beach Suite
*Concert with Hershey Felder
*Audi car service to and from event
*Private terrace dinner with butler service
*Dessert and champagne reception
*One year family membership to Carbon Beach ($6000 value).
At first glance, it may appear to be an exercise in excess by the idle rich, but actually, the special event is for a worthy cause.
In fact, twenty-seven thousand lives will be enriched.
Through the David Geffen funder, outreach programs will benefit.
The Geffen Playhouse Development Office
310.208.6500 (ext. # 112)
*The Geffen Playhouse is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and all gifts are tax deductible.
Philanthropist & Art Patron - David Geffen
If you're like me, you mingle among the regular folks as you do your errands throughout the day.
Generally, when I cross paths with other pedestrians, store clerks, cashiers - the like - I try to be courteous.
But, on occasion, you happen across some wacko and there is bound to be a misunderstanding or two.
Like this morning, for instance.
Shortly after I slipped into Starbucks for my morning cup of tea, a strange man called out my name so loud, the other patrons were inclined to turn his way.
As I attempted to stroll to a table to avoid the stranger, he proceeded to follow me!
And, when I sat down and tried to peruse my newspaper, he hovered above me and tried to engage in a conversation with little regard for my privacy.
At this juncture, I was forced to inform him I wasn't interested in his company.
Instead of turning away, he proceeded to engage in a number of strange head games; in fact, he started to act like we were old friends, or something.
So, I found myself quoting a line oft used by the wise and glamorous old-time film star Greta Garbo,
"I just want to be left alone"
It did the trick.
Thank you, Greta! Now I understand.
Sometimes a direct approach is the best course of action to follow.
Lord Byron once said,
"What is fame? The advantage of being known by people of whom you yourself know nothing, and for whom you care as little."
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Long Beach Gay Pride celebration was a blast on Sunday afternoon!
In fact, it was more or less a major block party.
All along Ocean Boulevard, as the festive rainbow parade made its way down to the heartbeat of the city core, tenants either perched on rooftops for a look-see, threw a shrimp on the barbie on the front lawn, or ceremoniously clinked cocktail glasses gaily with friends and neighbors alike.
Occasionally, there was a long low wolf whistle when some sweet young thing sauntered by. (about every two seconds)
Although most of the lower mainland was besot with an unbearable mugginess that day - cool prevailing winds offshore - set things right for the Long Beach party-goers. And, in the event that was not relief enough, a handful of plastic garden pools along the route were available for the adventurous and fun-at-heart to splash about in.
The marchers were - loud, rowdy, and proud - not necessarily in that order, of course!
As usual - it appeared to me there were more out-in-the-street in-your-face gays stridently walkin' the windin' streets - than standing along the sidelines taking a rip-roaring gander.
All of the local bars did a bang-up job of strutting their stuff; in fact, the diverse crowd was treated to a wide array of celebrated stereotypes - pot-bellied Bears, studly Leather Men, witty Drag Queens - you name it.
Even a handful of car enthusiasts got into the act. Yup, those boys love to spit and polish the chrome on their spiffy wheels, don't they?
One "Empress" of Long Beach garnered a riot of attention as she wafted by over the back of a luxury convertible - all 350 pounds or so of her. That was one big mama I'd rather not run afoul of in a dark alley. No sir - er - ma'am.
One generous gaggle of gays on a giggling float tossed my favorite wrapped candy into the throngs. Of course, I quickly snatched up a fistful of 'em, and was in hog-heaven for the rest of the afternoon. My waistline is suffering today, however.
Java Monster sponsors were on hand, too, to gift celebrants with samples of their frosty yummy product which was amply packed in blocks of ice in the back of a hot black pick-up truck.
Gay boys do everything with such style and flair, don't they?
Speaking of which - and now that my otherwise distracted train of fuzzy thought has sauntered on in that direction - fashion trends tended towards shorts in all persuasions: knee-high to mid-thigh - for instance - in plaids (which I have never warmed up to, by the way) and khaki styles (with lots of zip or button-down pockets to hide-away the necessities - lip balm, Trojans, joints, mini-bongs, that sort-of-thing). A main stay - ubiquitous fatigues - were also in attendance on the muscled bods of a studly few.
Tank tops tended to be the norm, with colorful tats sprouting out just below the sleeve, or nudging muscles on toned tanned jogger legs.
At one end - not unlike in West Hollywood each year - a band of religious fundamentalists stood in protest spewing out hateful remarks, much to the chagrin the local residents. For the most part, the gathering masses ignored them, in spite of the fact they tried to pick a fight. Turn the other butt cheek, right?
When advised to make love - not war - why do you suppose they staggered backwards?
Ah, those Christians - such hypocrites - eh?
One sign baffled me, though. It read,
"Homo sex is a threat to National Security".
Maybe the nut cases were inferring that gay agents in the FBI, CIA, and NSA, run the risk of being blackmailed for exercising their rights pursuant to the law of the land,
"Don't ask. Don't tell."
God only knows!
As usual, Dykes on Bikes roared through the street at the tail-end of the parade.
Say, was that Ellen and Portia riding shotgun on a big Harley in wedding attire?
During an interview at Capitol Records in 1965, Teen Reporter Ruth Anson (KABC-TV) - off-the-top of her pretty little head - queried popular mop-head Beatle Paul McCartney about whether he had plans to marry.
In response, he slyly quipped,
"Only if you'll marry me."
For Ruth, it may have ended up just another impromptu on-camera spot gathering dust in her memory banks over the years - if she had not (for some inexplicable reason) been inclined to ask herself recently,
"What may have been?"
"Would Paul remember her after all these years?" she wondered to herself.
And - more importantly, perhaps - was it possible the hottie was actually serious when he made the off-hand remark so many years ago? The more the diminutive little powerhouse wrestled with the memory, the more she was determined to fathom up answers to her questions.
Then, it was as if God answered her prayers.
Out-of-the-blue - an opportunity to attend a "pitch session" with Industry Professionals seeking ideas for film and television production - suddenly presented itself.
After bandying about the specifics of Ruth's - "flirt with fame" - one agent from ICM conjectured that the little scenario might make an entertaining piece of fiction - without Paul, though.
"He's too old," he announced matter-of-fact.
Ah, wasn't that just like Hollywood, to pull a switcheroo or two?
"No Paul?" she responded incredulously. But wasn't that the whole point?
Elsewhere on the panel, a light bulb went off in the head of seasoned producer, Marc Cushman.
"What about a reality show?"
The end result - "Desperately Seeking Paul McCartney" - screened last night at the Mockfest Film Festival at Hollywood and Vine in downtown Tinsel town.
When a handful of media types descended on her in the lobby, the celebrated Beatle fan was quite adamant about one thing, though.
"Oh, it's not a mockumentary, at all. It's a documentary."
In character, to the end!
Essentially - "Desperately Seeking" - chronicles Ruth's journey to meet up with her lost Lothario - Paul McCartney - forty years later; and - in the final analysis - find closure along the way.
But, as a Bette Davis character once quipped in a classic feature years ago,
"Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
Although the project was a hoot to watch, it was a rough ride for Ruth, alright.
From the get-go, producer Marc Cushman recognized when he undertook the project, that there would have to be a protagonist to make the documentary fly.
"For it to work as entertainment there must be conflict."
So, while Ruth innocently pursued her elusive dream under the auspices of "piecing together" a documentary for wide-screen release - with the ultimate aim of a rendezvous with Mr. McCartney - Marc (on the other hand) was secretly plotting to get the most mileage out of the hand he'd been dealt.
For starters, he wanted to embarrass Ruth. Exploit issues.
Curiously, one of Ruth's nephews worked in the "reality" end of show business. When he was asked to offer up his opinion on the idea of the documentary, he was livid about his favorite Auntie getting mixed up with the likes of Cushman.
Those reality-TV-show guys are such sleaze balls, he lamented on camera or something to that effect.
And, Cushman's own staff was inclined to question his underhanded tactics, too.
In fact, the little posse of workers were angered by the producer's devil-may-care approach to the lobotomy he was about to perform on poor Anson, who had nary a clue of what was on the horizon.
"Ruth's a nice lady. I don't want to embarrass her," one staffer confided - just before being shown the door.
Yeah, he was pretty cavalier about the way he treated his staff, too. After informing the PA politely to her face she could pass on the task, he did an about face when she turned on her heel and strode into the next room.
"Get rid of her," he hissed to the production coordinator.
Fortunately, Cushman lucked out with a handful of other production hopefuls he landed for the project who were willing to do his bidding - Susan Osborn Templeton taking on the mantle of production coordinator; Ryan James at the helm in the role of the 2nd Unit Director (excellent casting, by the way); and Kathryn "Kat" Farren as PA # 3 - trying to tip-toe through sh** gracefully.
For the most part, Ruth's quest appeared innocent enough; until she dragged out her scrapbook. Onlookers in the room at an "intervention" session - as well as filmgoers in the audience - noticeably gasped when they got a gander at photos Ruth had doctored to accommodate her fantasy.
In one still of the fab four, she replaced Ringo's "head" with her own; in a second - she pasted her face over that of Paul's sidekick - so it appeared she was strumming along with Paul - when, in fact - she was not.
Suddenly, the project took on a whole new turn, as the strains of "psycho" seemingly played in the background.
Friends and families expressed their concerns.
"Ruth, you mustn't show that album to Paul, he'll think you're wacko," one pleaded.
Another relative worried that she might be locked up.
"He could get a restraining order. Remember, John Lennon was shot."
At this juncture, Marc Cushman manipulated the situation to rev up the stakes. With little ado, he scheduled a therapy session for Ruth with his psychiatrist.
The footage here was probably the most thought-provoking in the documentary.
In a straightforward, no-nonsense manner, the good Doctor not only managed to subtly turn a mirror on Ruth - but successfully lead her along an insightful path - to a healing light at the end of the tunnel.
In a humorous segment of "Desperately", Ruth Anson and the unit production team try to crash the Grammys, after learning the just-divorced former Beatle would be attending the Award Ceremony in Los Angeles.
But, their plan to essentially ambush Paul on the red carpet fails.
One insider confessed,
"Security was real tight this year because of Paul McCartney."
Had Paul been forewarned about the Ruth - and her motley crew - heading his way?
Frankly, I can relate to Ruth's plight.
Over the years, I have met a number of celebrities. On occasion, I've responded to a flirtation - the end result being - that I was thrown into a topsy-turvy clandestine affair, or two. Precious, fond memories!
But, what of the one "flame" I did not pursue?
To this day, sure - I fantasize about that person - wouldn't you?
That's normal for the human heart, in my estimation.
For Ruth, maybe it's all about - as Judy Garland would warble -
"The man who got away"
Or, a sincere desire in her role as "journalist", to catch up with Paul after all these years?
In that event - if you read this Paul - could you give Ruth a call?
But, there's somethin' you should know...
"She loves you. Yeah Yeah Yeah."
Mockfest at Hollywood & Vine in Hollywood, California
(Festival Director, G R Claveri, center)