Saturday, November 1, 2008
As Barack Obama heads into the home stretch of the Presidential race, you have to wonder if he has the strength to make it across the finish line.
After all, Arnold Schwarzenegger is quoted as having said about Barack:
"He needs to do something with those skinny legs."
Arnold, I'm sure he'd rather have slender gams than be thick in the head like you!
Yesterday, I penned a post noting a couple of screw-ups that occurred this past week at the AFI Film Fest, due to the incompetence and inexperience of John Wildman and his staff in the publicity department.
In particular, I pointed out that information Mr. Wildman provided to me was incorrect, which resulted in a bit of an uproar in the film community.
For example, Wildman informed me personally that Meryl Streep would not be appearing on the red carpet at the Premiere of "DOUBT" slated for screening on October 30th.
Ms. Streep did stroll down the red carpet the next night, in fact.
Subsequently - I was forced to edit a post to explain the snafu to my readers and film buffs - especially in view of the fact that one AFI supporter (unfamiliar with the facts) blamed me for reporting erroneous information.
In addition, I pointed out in the post that Mr. Wildman's staff provided contact information for Ms. Streep and Joaquin Phoenix which was also incorrect.
In a response communication, Mr. Wildman tried to wiggle out of blame.
For example, he noted for the record that AFI updates information and sometimes get it wrong. (okay!)
Instead of resting his case there, he proceeded to snidely remark:
"But, seriously Joaquin Phoenix? Meryl Streep?"
John, I have copies of the e-mails that confirm my allegations to be true.
Some of the issues he addressed related to my comments about his shoddy set-up at the Roosevelt Hotel.
For example, I noted in my post that when I stopped into the publicity director's office at the Roosevelt on Wednesday to pick up my media badge, it was obvious from the poorly-set-up press headquarters that Wildman and his staff were not only inexperienced but incompetent as well.
"I'm a publicity director. Not an interior decorator."
I don't expect you to be, John.
An intelligent "boss" in charge of a department such as yours - with an ounce of experience and know-how - would have simply farmed the task out if they weren't capable of putting together a professional presentation themselves.
It's the details, man!
If Mr. Wildman was a mature individual - with a smaller ego and a bigger IQ - he would have fessed up to his shortcomings without any qualms.
After all, it's not very intelligent or productive to ignore the obvious.
Has the man such little self-awareness?
In the communication he zipped off, without much thought or reflection, he even tried to toss the blame on me.
For example, in a condescending manner, he inferred that I didn't know any better.
After all, her asserted, I was "new".
As I noted in a response e mail today, I am certainly not new!
If anything, I am getting long in the tooth.
In fact, I have been involved hands-on in show biz and the film industry - in a myriad of capacities - for over thirty years!
I was in front of the camera when Mr. Wildman was still pooping his drawers!
And, his mother was wiping his snotty little nose.
Oh, but Mr. Wildman had so much more to toss into the fray.
He chirped that I didn't know anything about festivals or how they worked!
Because he has handled a couple, he's suddenly the expert, eh?
Well, I had a big guffaw over that one!
I have been attending and reporting on festivals for years!
I not only know how they work, but why they don't, when they don't.
When a Director at a Film Festival is "pig-headed" - doesn't know who key players are in the industry, and allows an overblown sense of self-importance get the better of him - then it's time to call it a day.
Mr. Wildman concluded his little diatribe by lamenting that I must have had a bad day.
On the contrary, my week was smashing!
In closing, he tried to put a muzzle on me and restrict my right to free speech.
He issued a directive that I focus on the filmmakers.
"They are the story. Not me."
As I noted in a follow-up, I don't just report on the films and their makers.
On the contrary!
I also pen commentary on the scuttlebutt - on the red carpet, off of it - and behind-the-scenes.
Don't expect me to wax poetic in a phony puff piece to bolster a star's ego, though.
I may be inclined to throw a spotlight on the AFI FEST, however, and what I perceive as a "clubby" elitist organization run by a handful of snobby individuals who are under the mistaken impression that their sh** doesn't stink.
To cast a blind eye all to that would be a ludicrous notion.
Quentin Tarantino once said:
"I don't believe in elitism. I don't think the audience is this dumb person that is lower than me. I am the audience."
Friday, October 31, 2008
AFI FEST...John Wildman (Publicity Director) screwed up! Meryl Streep walked carpet at "DOUBT" premiere...
Oh, sometimes life is such a laugh riot!
When I first started to deal with the Publicity Department at the AFI FESTIVAL, it struck me they were not on-the-ball.
But, I always endeavour to give people a chance to prove themselves.
So, I remained optimistic.
Shortly after I received the first batch of press contacts, I discovered right away that the staff in John Wildman's office (Director of Publicity) were providing the press with contact information that was not correct.
For example, when I attempted to reach the contact person posted for actor Joaquin Phoenix, I received an e-mail back from the film company that they were not handling any matters pertaining to Phoenix or the AFI FEST.
Communications I zipped off to the reps for Ms. Streep were summarily returned by DAEMON as failed-delivery items.
The contact information staff provided for Streep was incorrect, as well.
That's too bad, because maybe an embarrassing snafu at AFI may have been avoided, in respect to the "DOUBT" premiere last night (October 30th)
For example, Mr. Wildman informed me the afternoon before the red-carpet premiere, that Meryl Streep and Phillip Seymour Hoffman would be no-shows.
Based on the information, I thought I should pen a post to forewarn my readers (& film buffs) - that if they dashed down to the Theatre for a look-see - they may not catch glimpses of either Hoffman or Streep.
Well, as you probably heard, Ms. Streep did traipse down the carpet last night.
So, an irate person zipped off a comment this morning, chastising me for not getting my facts right!
Well, I laughed-out-loud.
Obviously, the woman has difficulty reading and comprehending English.
First, I noted in the blog post that at press time (October 29th) I was informed Streep and Hoffman would be no-shows.
If Mr. Wildman screwed up, and gave out the wrong information, I can't be faulted for that!
Secondly, there is the possibility that Streep, AFI FEST organizers, and the director read my post - and after-the-fact - got their acts together and made last-minute arrangements for Meryl Streep to put in an appearance so there wouldn't be anymore negative publicity.
On Wednesday, I was also taken aback with the shoddy headquarters that the publicity department set up on the mezzanine floor in the Roosevelt Hotel.
The room was dark and gloomy, and caused my nose to wrinkle up, there was such a dank smell to it.
A tacky old sheet-like curtain ran along one side of the room dividing it in two.
And, a makeshift table had been thrown together, where press packets poorly-constructed of slip-shod xerox copies, awaited the media.
Not a splashy poster, or promo for any of the movies featured in the ten-day festival, in sight!
Surely, they hadn't decorated yet?
Frankly, I've never seen such a dismal set-up in any of the dozen festivals I've attended over the past year, CineVegas included!
Usually, the Director of Publicity has an inviting lounge - that not only appeals to the artistic sensibilities - but hints at the stature of the scintillating festival offerings that lay ahead to unveil at whim!
So far, the AFI Fest has been a real eye-opener.
The incompetent staff in the PR Dept. (John Wildman included) are a sorry excuse for a liason team with the media.
Well, tomorrow is another day!
Frankly, I don't why, but last night memories of an old teacher of mine from grade school, popped into my head.
Ah, Mr. Morgan!
If I recall correctly, he wore natty grey suits, horn-rim specs, and a red ruby ring on his pinky finger that winked in the light now and then.
Although, I was clueless about matters that pertained to "sex" back then - in retrospect - I just betcha he was (as we used to say) "light" in the loafers or "musical" at best. (gay)
I was quite the jokester when I was a student.
Because I was on the Honor Roll, the teachers usually let me get any with murder.
Yes, I was quite the cut-up in class.
For some reason, Mr. Morgan was my perfect foil.
I was always pulling gags on him.
For instance, one day at recess, I strolled up to Mr. Morgan (who was watching over the students on break with an eagle eye) and struck up a little bit of idle chit-chat.
"Mr. Morgan, how do you like my ring," I chirped, as I thrust the gawdy over-sized diamond within admiring-distance, for him to take a gander at.
"Very Nice," he politely responded with hardly a glance.
At that precise moment, as my hand was about two inches away from his face, I squeezed a small container of water in the palm of my hand (which was attached by a small tube to the fake ring) and a jolt of water splashed all over his face!
For a second - he glared at me - as the droplets of water slowly dribbled down the lapel of his jacket. Then, he stormed off towards the schoolhouse, in disgust.
Yeah, I was a hard case, alright.
On another occasion, I offered him a stick of gum, which he graciously accepted.
'Ya got it!
It was one of those trick packets of spearmint that turns into a sort-of mousetrap that snares the finger when the stick of gum is pulled out of the realistic-looking candy wrapper.
Gotcha, Mr. Morgan.
But the funniest one was the exploding pen.
One day, as the class was busy writing an essay, I strategically placed a fake pen in one of the aisles on the floor just behind me.
As I anticipated, Mr. Morgan strode up and down in-between the desks, to make sure no one was cheating.
When Mr. Morgan stumbled across the pen - as I surmised he would - he systematically asked each pupil as he moseyed up the aisle if they were perchance the owner of the writing utensil.
At my desk, he called out my name to get my attention.
At first, I pretended not to hear, to ensure he wasn't tipped off about the gag.
Then, I gazed up with an innocent look on my face, and replied calmly.
Is this your pen?" he asked in a hushed voice.
"No, I don't think so," I responded confidently, as I turned back to my assignment.
Then, as Mr. Morgan started to walk away, I spoke out.
""Mr. Morgan? That might be my pen. But, you'd have to take off the cap, 'cause mine has a special nib."
He paused; then, a wicked little smile came across his face.
"This is one of those trick pens, isn't it?"
"Um, no sir! Why, whatever do you mean?"
"You're always disrupting my class. And, I won't have it," he barked, as he turned on his heel and made a beeline for his desk.
"No. I would never do that," I wailed plaintively.
"Well, I'm keeping this pen," he snapped.
"But, Sir! That would be stealing, wouldn't it?"
"I know this is a trick pen," he asserted almost angrily.
At this juncture, he flipped open the drawer of his desk - tossed the pen inside - and slammed it shut with a sharp bang.
And that - as they say - was that.
To this day, I often wonder, did Mr. Morgan ever open that pen?
I like to think that after all the students packed up their books - and trundled off home when the bell rang at three-thirty - that he slowly opened that drawer, withdrew the pen, and gingerly flipped off the cap - albeit - cautiously.
Who knows, maybe it's still lurking in the dark confines of his desk, untouched.
I just betcha, though, he was beside himself that day.
And, that long after we departed, he tempted fate.
Only Mr. Morgan knows for sure.
And a fly on the wall, perhaps!
Barack Obama...did he post a comment on my blog? Is someone impersonating the Presidential Candidate?
Yesterday, after I penned a post about "Joe the Plumber" calling Barack Obama a "Socialist", a blogger added a brief comment.
"WTF dudes. I’m not a socialist!"
Then, the individual proceeded to provide a link.
The dude signed off as "Barack".
Golly, was this actually Barack Obama responding in person to my lowly blog???
When I clicked on the link, I was connected to a blog site which - for all intents-and-purposes - gave the impression of being an actual blog constructed by the Presidential hopeful.
An article on the first page noted that the "Economist" allegedly endorsed Barack Obama.
Take that, Joe!
Farther down the page, there is an article (allegedly posted by Barack) which touts his partnership on the campaign trail with Bill Clinton.
Maybe this is where the tip-off glaringly reared its ugly head.
Would the real Barack step beyond the bounds of good taste and make those earthy remarks about Bill in the political arena?
Also, there is a new post asking web surfers if they caught (his) thirty-minute infomercial on TV last night.
So, the blog is being updated currently.
It appears that the individual (if not Barack!) has deceitfully tried to give off the impression that it is an actual web site connected with (or endorsed by Barack).
For example, at the top of the blog page, there is a photo of Barack with the campaign web site address (www.barackobama.com) etched on its face.
If you click on the photo, the image "stutters" for a second, but remains at the blog site.
When I keyed in the "barackobama.com" address manually, I was transported to the actual site for Barack Obama, no problem.
Did this individual doctor the link so that web surfers would get the impression that they were at the actual blog page for the barackobama.com site?
So, is this all just a prank, or has this individual elected to set up this site for some other sinister reason?
In view of the fact a number of web surfers (and potential voters) may actually be fooled by this site (if it is a spoof?) - one has to wonder - has there been an attempt to hijack Barack's identity for dubious reasons?
In that event, has a crime been committed?
My original post may be viewed at:
Thursday, October 30, 2008
When I was just a boy, I recall clutching my mother's hand as we strolled through a wide field dotted with a few humble headstones where they lay inscribed all around us marking the graves.
A slight breeze whispered in my ear as I struggled to keep up.
The Cemetery, in the West End of Toronto, was a relatively new burial ground.
There were no grand old oaks, just a handful of young samplings sprouting about here and there, straining towards the nurturing sunlight.
Years later, when I returned after a long stint in California, I was awestruck by the majestic trees that now touched the sky, rooted firmly in the rich soil below.
It was forty years since my last visit.
Unfortunately, I was facing a dilemma.
During a period after my father's death - while my mother lay ill in a Nursing Home - I happened to come across a certificate in her personal belongings (a beautifully-crafted document in ornate script) which confirmed she was to be laid to rest next to my father.
At the time, I recall being quite astounded by the wording.
IDA MAE HOLYOAK and VICTOR GEORGE HOLYOAK to be interned side-by-side "forever".
Gosh, I vividly recall saying to myself, "Forever" is a long time.
Unfortunately, there was a mix-up at the time of my Mother's passing - and as a result - my parents were separated at "death".
I was in California and out-of-touch with distant relatives when my mother - who had been in a vegetative state for about two years due to a stroke - suddenly succumbed and met her maker.
For some inexplicable reason, the certificate for the plot was overlooked, and my poor mother was buried across town miles from her beloved Victor.
Theirs was a great love story.
My mother was a farm girl from Brampton (Ontario) and my Dad was a fiddler who immigrated from Ireland with his mother and three sisters to York County at the turn of the century.
Unfortunately, due to a tragedy, my father passed away when I was a baby - and the troubles descended upon my dear mother shortly thereafter - without mercy.
Today, when I reflect on the situation, it's quite evident to me now.
In due time, I must take it upon myself to set things right.
Until my mother and father are side by side, their souls will never rest in peace!
I pray that they are patient.
A happy man marries the girl that he loves
A happier man loves the girl he marries
Ha, life is strange!
A couple of weeks ago - quite aware of the fact readers may think me looney - I published a post about Julian 1st (Emperor of Rome) entertaining the curious notion that I may have inhabited the skin of Caesar in a former life.
Well, just yesterday, the oddest coincidence strarted to occur at my blog site when I was keying in "tags" for various posts published over the past day or two.
I suddenly noticed that for some inexplicable reason - when I inputted the "tag" Julian's Blog (which I normally do along with the "Tattler") - that the name "Flavious Claudius Julianus" alighted in the slot and ended up being published with all the others tags!
That was birth name for Julian the Apostate, Emperor of Rome!
How did this happen?
Is Flavious reaching out to me from the spirit world?
News at 11!
But, when the affronts occur under their noses
They look the other way - and hypocrites that they are - do nothing
I was channel surfing earlier today, when I stumbled on a TV show featuring a couple of local celebrities, and was aghast to spy more than one fashion faux pas!
In a column on menswear that I wrote for a daily newspaper - The Province - I often offered up tips so men grappling for the brass ring would have an advantage in the competitive world of business and commerce.
Since there appears to be a cry in the wilderness for help, here goes.
First, never wear a "Dress Suit" jacket with jeans; the look jars the sensibilities and often conjures up scorn from the top levels of management.
When you are properly suited up, take care of the finer points of dressing, too.
For instance, the tie should not be too long or too short; in fact, it should fall at waist level right at the "belt" line.
The cuff of your dress shirt should also fall crisply about 1/2 inch below the jacket sleeve. No more. No less.
To avoid looking like you came from the wrong side of the tracks, never press your dress pants with the hot iron directly on the fabric - otherwise - you'll end up with an unsightly shine in the pants. Tacky, and cheap-looking!
The cuff of your pant leg should break - just so - at the front of your dress shoe. For this reason, it may be wise to take the shoe you'll be wearing to the tailor when the cuff is hemmed to ensure precision in this regard.
Never wear a boutonniere and a pocket handkerchief at the same time because it is strictly verboten. Along the same line of thinking, please note that teaming up suspenders with a belt is considered redundant, so avoid it like a trendy fashion plague.
And, it would be wise to listen up in respect to shoes, too; never wear brown shoes with a black suit.
Also, be sure to ban white socks from a dress suit ensemble.
You'd be wise to take note that a boss often looks at your feet first as a test of character. If the shoes are properly buffed and shined - unscuffed and not broken down at the heels - you'll make your way up the corporate ladder faster than you can say "Donald Trump".
For sure, don't go overboard with any controlled clashing of patterns.
The quirky idea was a trend for a while, but generally, the rule of thumb is this: if you're not experienced with mixing and matching techniques, stick with one pattern and two plains.
For instance, if the tie is patterned, harmonize it with a plain jacket and a plain shirt so that the colors and textures offset the cravat.
However, if there is a pattern in the jacket (even if it is only due to a noticeable texture in the fabric such as ribbing in herringbone) go for a plain shirt.
Also, make sure the hues in the jacket and tie are complementary and the colors are coordinated and harmonized tastefully.
If you want to avoid another silly mistake, always take both pieces of the suit to the cleaners for drycleaning; otherwise, if one item is pressed more often than the other, it will fade and look unmatched and underscore your lack of fashion savvy.
By the way, it is generally uncouth to wear a sport jacket with blue jeans, unless the denims are brand new and neatly pressed. Only wear grungy jeans with a broken-in corduroy jacket - maybe with patches on the elbows, for instance - to effect that campus or devil-may-care Prof look.
Finally, only wear one or two pieces of understated tasteful pieces of jewellery, like a quality watch and ring. None on the pinky finger, please.
And, avoid walking into the room with the overpowering scent of bar soap or Old Spice emanating from your person.
The women (in some cases, even the guys) will run the other way.
Remember, it's style - not the clothes - that make the man!
Every amateur detective into murder mysteries will be paying keen attention to the Phil Spector case underway in Los Angeles - again!
The first effort to establish guilt failed miserably.
Not to be undaunted, the City Attorney has chosen to forge ahead fresh with a new trial.
There are enough twists and turns to pique the curiosity of any sleuth.
As the story goes...
One dark night Lana Clarkson, an aspiring actress (with some legitimate film credits) accompanied the famed music producer, Phil Spector - who created the "Wall of Sound" - to his palatial Alhambra manse - and summarily - ended up dead.
The issues swirled around Ms. Clarkson's frame of mind, altered evidence, and the questionable conduct of a criminologist.
Mr. Spector alleged that the statuesque blond nabbed one of his pistols - for some inexplicable reason - then turned it on herself.
"It was a suicide."
End of story.
However, witnesses for the prosecution appeared in court to vigorously dispute the claims.
One expert argued that a woman would never commit suicide by shooting herself in the face.
A man may point a gun point blank at his head and pull the trigger, but - a female would not disfigure herself in this way - they asserted.
A woman would be more inclined to put on her best dress, brush her hair, and lay down on the sofa or bed until drugs and alcohol kicked in.
Then, there was the issue of her state-of-mind.
Friends insisted that she was in a positive upbeat mood, excited about new prospects in her life, and not a likely candidate for suicide.
Of course, that purse was pretty incriminating, too.
A criminologist - Dr. Lynne Herold - noted that it was sitting on her shoulder positioned backward.
For sure, an awkward way for a woman to carry her bag.
Had it been adjusted by someone?
Blood tests established there were mystifying smears of blood here and there, too.
One stain on the foyer chair where Clarkson's body was found slumped suggested her head had been turned around.
By who? Why?
One piece of evidence - or lack thereof - caused quite an uproar.
One witness claimed to have spied Dr. Lee - famed evidence expert (who presided over the O.J. Simpson trial) - pick up and pocket a small scrap some believed to be a part of a fingernail.
But, the evidence did not end up in the evidence packet submitted to the court.
The attorney who eye-balled the event - refused to testify on the grounds of attorney-client privilege - and came close to jail time for contempt of court.
Prosecutors surmised that the nail was blown off her finger when she put her hands to her face to defend against an attacker.
Mr. Spector's previous defense team was headed up by attorney Bruce Cutler; the high-profile lawyer from New York who represented John Gotti in three cases in which the alleged mob figure "got off".
The new trial is now underway in Los Angeles.
In fact, testimony given by one witness on the stand yesterday, did not disappoint aggressive prosecutors out to get their "man".
Dorothy Melvin recalled that one evening in the 90's she was in the presence of Mr. Spector when he was approached by some men who excitedly shook his hand - and likewise - gushed that they were excited to meet him.
When the gents strolled away, Spector became furious when he learned they had mistaken him for actor Dudley Moore.
Allegedly, he grabbed a gun, and chased the offending individuals down the street.
Undoubtedly, there will be a number of red herrings tossed in for good measure, over the next few days.
Gee, where's Hercule Poirot when you need him?
If you're like me, you probably do a search on one of the political candidates now and then - and conduct a quick peruse of "images" - to determine how each is being perceived, represented - and quite frankly - being made fun of in the public arena.
For weeks now, I have noticed somethin' mighty curious!
Although there are scads of doctored stills - and cartoons - taking cracks at John McCain, Joe Biden, and Barack Obama - there are a precious few to take a gander at of Sarah Palin.
In view of all the negative press she's been garnering - regarding ethics lapses, deceitfully billing the state for family expenses, and so forth and so on - I find this highly suspicious.
Is someone monitoring the Internet and surreptitiously "pulling" any image of Palin in the blogosphere that negatively reflects on the Vice Presidential candidate?
If you're going to offer up an argument like - well, she's a woman - sorry!
That one won't hold water.
When Hillary was in the running - there were oodles of unflattering, rude, and insulting images of her all over the Internet - which no one had qualms about chortling over.
Does anyone on the world-wide-web have that kind of power?
On a high over his recent spat of publicity in the wake of his dialogue with John McCain, the man who caught the Nation's attention for about a nano-second - Joe the Plumber - has taken a ballsy political step and labelled Barack Obama a "socialist".
But, what is a socialist exactly?
According to the dictionary, Socialism pertains to:
*A theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
*A procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
And, here comes the scary one.
*The stage following capitalism (as in the Marxist theory) in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
Golly, that's a mouthful, isn't it?
Here's my favorite from the new dictionary of cultural literacy (!)
"An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity."
"There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise."
"All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists."
On the heels of the crisis with the banks failing - and subsequent government intervention - many are inclined to argue that America may be ripe for a socialist phase in the near future.
In that event, is the government capable of micro-managing the affairs of its citizens, so there is economic justice for all in the final analysis?
Getting back to Obama, then.
Is this the change he talks about?
A new social "order"?
You have to be cautious of any label that ends in the three little letters - "ist".
For example, communist, capitalist, and - socialist?
How would you liked to be labelled the "worst person in the world"?
When I reflect on all the scum walking around the face of the gritty terra firma, I'd say that was quite a tall order to fill.
But, a resident of West Hollywood managed to snare the coveted honor when he strung up an effigy of what appeared to be a dummy in a get-up crafted to discern the likeness of Sarah Palin.
Jeffrey Prang - the Mayor of West Hollywood - was quick to respond to the quirky piece of garden sculpture in-the-round.
With little ado, he politely insisted that the cheeky little man remove the controversial effigy.
"I respect that we all have the right to freedom of speech," Prang said.
"However, with that right comes responsibility. While these residents have the legal right to display Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin in effigy, I strongly oppose political speech that references violence - real or perceived."
In response, the resident (a natty window-dresser who resides in the incorporated city) was quick to note that - contrary to Prang's position on the matter - he felt he was within his rights to decorate his property in the manner in which he did.
Chad Michael Morrisette made no bones about the fact that his display might be unacceptable any other month, but stressed that his subjects (Palin, for instance) were fair game during the Halloween season.
"It should be seen as art and it should be seen within the month of October. It is Halloween. It's time to be scary. It's time to be spooky," Morrisette said.
Within about twenty-four hours after the dummy was hoisted to its prominent perch on the roof of the cozy little bungalow - gussied up with lipstick, beehive hairstyle, and red skirt - a furor erupted not only in the surrounding community but across the Nation.
In fact, in addition to the Sheriffs, the Secret Service were called in to address the issue and determine if a possible "hate crime" had been committed.
"I'm not defending this; I'm not criticizing it." said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who said he went out to the house himself to look at the display this morning.
After accessing the handiwork of Mr. Morrisette, he noted for the record that he did not find that any "crime" had been committed, except the one that pertained to "bad taste", perhaps.
The Secret Service also concluded that the homeowner was within his rights to offer up his Halloween tribute on his own property and that his artistic expression did not violate any letter of the law.
That didn't stop neighbors, Palin supporters - and even members of the media - from verbally attacking the West Hollywood resident in the media or harassing him at his home on Orange Drive.
A rag-tag band of protestors hoisted blue sheets sky-high to block the image from lookie-loos who cruised by on the quiet residential street to get a gander, for instance.
And, one hostile man drove up in a pick-up with an image of man in effigy, to hammer home the point that were the noose on the other neck, Morrisette may be a little uncomfortable at the prospect.
Then, a top news anchor, jumped into the fray.
After a commentary on the issue, the well-heeled newsie proceeded to label Morrisette the "worst person in the world".
The long and short of it?
Mr. Morrisette removed the effigy and the neighborhood breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The moral of the story?
An individual has a right to freedom of speech.
However, offend the masses - and public opinion may not only rise up against you - but inspire a call to action to tar 'n feather 'ya in the streets!
It's called kow-towing to the demands of a "civilized society".
At this juncture - and in view of the way this fiasco played out - I have one thing to say:
No noose is good noose!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Got nothing to do on Thursday, October 30th, just prior to the wild bash on Halloween night in West Hollywood?
Why not prep yourself for the ghoulish celebrations on spooky Friday - by attending a couple of trick-or-treat Horror Classics - sponsored by American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood?
The prestigious organization is screening 2 Peter Cushing/Terrence Fisher features on a double-bill! (Hammer Productions)
Horror of Dracula was shot in 1956.
Director Terence Fisher and screenwriter Jimmy Sangster offer up their take on Bram Stoker’s celebrated gothic horror period piece.
Christopher Lee's moody performance as Dracula is a stand-out.
And, Professor Van Helsing is played to the hilt by spirited Peter Cushing.
Highlights include brooding cinematography and a stirring score by James Bernard.
Horror of Dracula is touted as one of Hammer’s most enduring masterpieces!
The second thriller on the bill - The Brides of Dracula - was shot in 1960.
Terence Fisher directed.
In this scary offering, Baron Meinster is played by David Peel.
At the beginning of the film, an intro by voice over, intones:
"Transylvania is a land of dark forests, dread mountains and black unfathomed lakes, still the home of magic and devilry as the nineteenth century draws to its close. Count Dracula, monarch of all vampires is dead but his disciples live on to spread the cult and corrupt the world"
In a nutshell, it is a wacko tale about a bloodsucking villain chained in a castle lair by a conflicted deranged mother (Matita Hunt).
When the Baron is unwittingly released by a stranded French schoolteacher by the name of Marianne (Yvonne Monlaur) he proceeds to wreak havoc amongst the local female population.
Luckily, Marianne is rescued by a traveling vampire hunter by the name of Professor Van Helsing (played with great dramatic flair by Peter Cushing) - at which point - the battle between good and evil begins in earnest.
A rip-roaring tall tale and one of Hammer’s most rewarding vampire pictures, according to horror genre film buffs.
Enter to win fright-filled DVD’s throughout the blood-splattered weekend courtesy of Fox Home Entertainment, Warner Bros. and MGM.
Click on this link if you dare: http://www.wedareyoutowatch.com/
See 'ya there!
When film director Michael Moore unveiled his new documentary SiCKO - amid a lot of fanfare in earlier this year in Sacramento - some said:
"There he goes again".
Taking in a documentary is one of my favorite past-times.
Of course, the "doc" comes in all varieties.
A director may focus on thought-provoking pieces about nature's astounding wonders, or take an insightful foray into an important social or political issue of the day, you name it.
In my mind's eye, when it comes to the latter, the facts should be presented fairly so that the viewer may weigh all the information - and henceforth - arrive at an intelligent reasoned decision about the issues.
For the most part, documentary filmmakers are inspired to "log" a topic because they are all fired up about a project. I mean, somethin' must have got 'em all hopped up to tackle the issues, eh?
For this reason I am inclined to believe that the creators may have a tendency to lean a little.
Undoubtedly, a subtle manipulation of the content is capable of swaying an audience in a particular way.
For instance, whether an insightful (or inflammatory) interview or news clip is placed at the beginning or end of the reel may have a dramatic impact on the viewer.
Although 60 minutes promises to follow the strict dictates of professional journalism - on occasion you can tell by the way the piece was constructed - where their loyalty falls.
One critic spouted recently that documentaries reminded him of "homework".
Joe Queenan - at the LA TIMES - recalled the empty experience of being locked in a steamy smelly auditorium forced to watch grainy films about boring topics produced by the Department of Agriculture.
"I'd rather watch the worst Keanu Reeves movie, I would rather sit through eleven consecutive Demi Moore films (are there that many?) than sit through a documentary," he noted with distaste.
Or maybe he was responding tongue-in-cheek?
His statements caused a firestorm from the documentary camp from those who assert that this forum is where political causes, life's injustices and social ills may be brought to the fore.
June Macquire of Mission Viejo quoted Thomas Jefferson:
"If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be".
The AFI FEST is sponsoring a Documentary Competition this year which focuses on a diverse range of topics.
Although I can't vouch for any of the docs - since I have't advance-screened any of the mixed bag that is offered up - I have given a run-down below so that discerning film buffs can fathom whether they want to risk pay-out on an uncertain gamble in these troubled economic times.
AGILE, MOBILE, HOSTILE:
A YEAR WITH ANDRE WILLIAMS
(USA, 2008, 88 mins)
A doc which follows Andre Williams (who wrote and recorded numerous hits with the great Berry Gordy, Ike Turner, and Stevie Wonder) as he embarks upon a comeback after enduring poverty and homelessness and a life of reckless living.
ALONE IN FOUR WALLS
(USA, 2008, 87 mins)
(USA, 2008, 78 mins)
(Argentina, 2008, 83 mins)
(Netherlands, 2008, 90 mins)
(USA, 2008, 83 mins)
In the 1970s, songwriter Dennis Lambert had four songs in the top 100 at once, a feat previously accomplished only by the Beatles.
(Brazil, 2008, 84 mins)
(Mexico, 2008, 83 mins)
A filmmaker uncovers the true tale of her grandmother Rose Elena's friendship with Jorge, the strange transsexual (and perhaps schizophrenic man) who rented a room from her.
(United States, 2008, 93 mins)
(USA, 2008, 91 mins)
In this neck of the woods, local thrift shops are packin' in excited masqueraders, in search of the perfect accessories for their titillating costumes, for West Hollywood's much-anticipated annual Halloween Carnaval party extravaganza, October 31st. (2008 Gay Edition)
Of course, the annual event is a show-stopper in the Los Angeles lower mainland.
The main street in "Boys Town" will be shut down to traffic to accommodate the two or three hundred-thousand costumers expected to hit the ghoulish trail.
According to MTV and E Entertainment, on the spirited occasion - the little city that could - throws the wildest bash of the year on the hippest square mile on the planet.
There will be three stages featuring live entertainment - enough to rock anyone's world - including the much celebrated costume contest stage, where starry-eyed hopefuls can strut their stuff before the teaming masses!
A number of the clubs will be featuring parties.
This year, Chi Chi La Rue's wild outrageous soiree at HERE LOUNGE is sure to be packed to the cobwebbed rafters and rife with studly boys and a gaggle of ubiquitous gay celebrities toasting cocktail glasses and dancing the spooky night away to the wee hours of dawn with carefree abandon.
Chelsea Handley - star of "Chelsea Lately" on "E" - will be ceremoniously crowned the "Queen of the Carnaval" along with her assistant Chuy ("King of the Carnaval") at the Coronation of the Queen *& King which begins at 9 p.m. on the "Bat Stage."
The honorary title of "Queen" and "King" is a highlight at the Carnaval, with the coronation taking place in front of more than 250,000 anticipated revelers this year.
The quest for the most creative, outrageous and original Halloween costumes in Southern California will take place on Halloween night—right on Santa Monica Boulevard—during the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval on Friday beginning at 6 p.m.
Unlike in previous years, there will be no pre-qualifying contests in local bars the week before Halloween. Instead, anyone in costume on Santa Monica Boulevard on Halloween night will be a potential finalist for the Costume Contest.
A team of "secret" Halloween judges will be walking up and down Santa Monica Boulevard beginning at 6 p.m. and handing out wristbands that will qualify 20 contestants for the Costume Contest finals at 10 p.m. that evening on the "Bat Stage" located on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and San Vicente Boulevard.
So, if you want to get noticed, dress to impress.
Costume Contest finalists will be vying for the $1000 Grand Prize; $500 Second Place Prize and $250 Third Place Prize.
So, get crackin' on that costume, eh?
For spectators, the perennial favs will be out in full garb; the West Hollywood Cheerleaders, for example, in their wild bouffant hairdos, careening roller-skates, and eye-catching red & white outfits (with tight-fitting sweaters stretched to the max so that over-size boobs can bob gloriously in the fray).
Any celebrity in the news will be fair game, of course!
I expect, there will be wicked, naughty, or just plain hilarious get-ups poking fun at Paris Hilton, Sarah Palin (no effigies please or Jeffrey Prang will getcha), John McCain, O.J. Simpson, you name it.
One year, I suited up as a cowboy. Ho hum!
Studly, yes. Exciting, no.
If I heard one more "Howdy partner" that night - I thought I would scream bloody-murder - or commit it!
The chaps chaffed, too.
Probably one of the most thrilling, sexiest costumes I ever donned, was hatched at the last minute.
Yeah, one dismal year I was going to beg off from the outdoor festivities to catch the show ringside at home (old age was creepin' in, I guess) - but, last minute - I snapped out of the deep funk and sprang into action.
With despair, I gazed into my sorry closet.
But then, what did I spy?
A pair of boots, a felt fedora, and a slightly-wrinkled trenchcoat, beckoned.
I tossed in a jockstrap and came up with a real party-pleaser/
Boy, in that impromptu get-up, I encountered the zaniest wildest gang of revellers in my entire Halloween-ie life!
As I elbowed my way through the crowded clubs, bar-hoppers were prone to surreptitiously slip their bejwelled or hairy ice-cold hands under my topcoat to cop a feel, non-stop!!!
Or, in a sort-of "truth or dare" moment, offered me enticing beads if I would flash 'em right out there on the street!
Not only did I end up with a whopping set of jewels that year, but I nearly ended up with pneumonia, next day!
For years - I've been promising myself I'd train real hard and sculpt my physique to perfection weeks before the big event - so I could confidently strut down the street in a black speedo with glorious outstretched Angel wings to reveal a fabulous six-pack along with humungous pecs!
Well, guess I'll have to settle for "couch potato" this year!
Who knows? Maybe I'll meet up with the condiment of my dreams!
Heh, it's not as bad as one year.
On that occasion, I woke up next morning with a rabbit next to me in bed, and a lot of hair in my mouth!
Yeah, too many Zombies, go figure!