This blog has becoming something of a daily beast of its own, attracting glamorous star contributors like James Tuttle and Eric Baker, getting picked up and aggregated by powerful international websites with ties to the fashion mafia. We have started to view ourselves as the two-thirds homosexual lifestyle-and-entertainment Julian Assange. And it is understandably going to our heads. Always one to try to keep us grounded and humble, Tuttle is prone to tossing off quips like, “We must make sure our tens of readers don’t think we’re losing touch with reality.” He is just being a snarky homo, as is his right under Article 2(a) of the Provincetown Declaration of Equality of 2011, which allows a Ghey a measure of dark-roast sarcasm in direct proportion to how old he was at the time of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Founding Bear Daddies gather in Provincetown for the signing of what is commonly known in the gay community as P-Dec, a reference to declaration signer Benjamin Frankbear, seen here in the foreground, and his inability to control himself during the celebratory beer blast out on the deck.
With so much Perez Hilton-ish red-carpet flash and glimmer going on around here, it’s hard to remember this blog’s original intent, which was to promote Pure Film Creative, our web content company, with a side purpose of exposing the nefarious dealings of my erstwhile landlady, the Wicked Blais. With the Wicked Blais safely out of harm’s way, seething behind the walls of her own private Mordor of shithole Hollywood real estate, we should try to cast an eye on web content from time to time rather than just name-dropping for the sake of tags, and lamenting the lack of style on reality shows.
Song lyrics are not poetry. Alone, they are paint in search of a canvas. They are clingy lovers who insist on doing everything with their partners. They gaze longingly into the eyes of music and say, “You complete me.” Music grits its teeth and thinks, why are you so goddamn needy?
Yet who gets all the glory?
When Americans OD’d on Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill in 1995 (in those ancient times when record stores existed outside of Nick Hornby books), pretentious music writers held a “praise art” orgy in her honor. Her shatteringly awesome lyrics regaled us with the story of her breakup from a boyfriend who turned out to be a cheating jerk. It was so edgy, so intense, so cutting that…
For someone who rode to fame in a chariot drawn by vitriol, it's damned near impossible to find a picture of Alanis angry. Thank you, India?
Wait. Back up a second. Men are two-faced jerks who don’t appreciate women? Apparently, these folks were stunned that a rock artist discovered a topic county singers have been beating to death since the 1940s. In fairness to pretentious music writers, they have to rave about the lyrics. It’s job security.
But it was not Alanis’s words that sold us, peeps, it was her delivery. She’s so earnestly pissed off, she’s hyperventilating. She may indeed be brilliant, but not as a lyricist. Maybe, when she’s not singing rock songs, she’s on the cusp of unlocking the secret to cold fusion. That would make her a brilliant physicist. There’s a slight distinction.
Pop lyricists don’t need to be brilliant, just earnest. Whether Chris Martin of Coldplay is telling the tale of a washed-up king who one ruled the world (?) or Chris Brown is crooning Continue reading →
[We’re pleased and relieved to have caved into the relentless pressure from daily PFC commenter Eric Baker and given him his own posting. I want it to be about music, but he’s very stubborn for a future bottom bitch, so who knows. — JK]
So Killough says, “Gimme a music piece.”
I cringe. I’m like, “Aw, come on. Can’t I write about something else? How awesome the brakes are on my Civic, perhaps. That thing has stopping power. Like a .357 Magnum, only different.”
Killough says, “Music piece. You’re a musician. Do a music piece.”
“I got it!” I say, not listening, hoping my exaggerated enthusiasm will somehow convince the man. “I’ll write about how Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is the most underrated Japanese giant monster movie of the 1970’s. Leagues better than Godzilla vs. Gigan, despite both films having been directed by Jun Fukuda.”
Killough does that quick head shake that means he’s getting irritated. “I do the movie talk here. And anyway, what?”
We're only putting this crap in here to keep the token straight guy happy and writing.
After a few more minutes of back and forth nonsense, I cave in and agree to do the music piece, mostly because I’m dealing with an extremely stubborn person (no wonder my former lover, Susan Blais, didn’t like him). But I come away from the exchange aware of two things:
Killough views himself as the dominant male. Even when he’s dealing with a straight guy, he still has to determine if I’m a “bottom bitch,” at least hypothetically. Being a waspy suburbanite, I was not aware of this term until I encountered it here, though I intrinsically knew what he meant from dealing with him. Frankly, I have almost as many control issues as James does, so I can’t see myself being the one biting the pillow.
Praise the Lord. I have seen Johnny Depp’s apotheosis and it is named Rango. It’s like he’s pulled together all of his work since Edward Scissorhands into one masterpiece symphony in the form of an animated feature. It all makes sense now. Rango tips its mottled cowboy hat to Ed Wood, to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but most of all, intentionally or not, to Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man, the last Jarmusch film I truly enjoyed, as opposed to feeling flattened by enervation.
I don't know why they kept calling Rango a lizard when he was in fact a chameleon. I know, chameleons are lizards, but lizards makes them sound so pedestrian. Maybe the studios felt that American audiences would be too tempted to pronounce the "ch."
If you haven’t heard by now, Rango is truly trippy, brilliantly written, gorgeously animated, superbly voiced, and I have serious doubts it will ever make its real cost back. If the studio reported a budget of $135 million, it’s bound to be much more than that. Rango is basically an art film with a big Hollywood finish, which you really don’t mind because the whole journey is so jaw-droppingly audacious and bizarre. It’s certainly the first time I’ve ever been sexually attracted to a rattlesnake.
One hot motherfucker. If you ignore the fact he is voiced by Bill Nighy, this is the sexiest cartoon character since the Beast in "Beauty and the Beast."
Yet another salacious headline to rope you into reading this. I’m not really stressed. I’m thrilled, actually. The reaction to yesterday’s post was gratifyingly positive, not to mention the cause of a huge surge in hits to this blog. It’s a new record to beat. I’ll have to start inventing scandalous encounters with celebs to keep up with myself.
Bettie Page getting spanked yet again. Some girls ask for it, over and over again.
A big thank you to the gravelly-voiced Lady in Black, my old friend Madame Diane Pernet, for posting the Galliano piece on her site. My trusty WordPress dashboard tells me she is almost entirely responsible for driving readers to my blog.
Not that I need to clarify this because everyone seemed to get it, but the point of the Spanking Galliano post was not just to relate some humorously titillating anecdote about a fallen star, or to further participate in mashing that star into the black hole he has made of himself. The major purpose of the blog was to spank him again, this time myself rather than having some child giant do it for me, as evidenced by the last few paragraphs of the post.
Not the sharpest needle in the sweat shop, Galliano arrives for his arraignment in Paris.
I honestly didn’t anticipate the hits from the Galliano post to be that many. I thought that would happen from scandalized Indians upset that the 1993 Miss India pageant was rigged, but there was nary a peep from them about that. Hits to the blog remained completely flat the day before yesterday, when I finally came clean about the rigging after long years of suffering in silence, guilt strafing my soul like fighter jets over Taliban strongholds in Helmand Province. I’m apparently the only one who is still haunted by the outraged wails of gorgeous, long-legged Punjabi lasses backstage behind that awful peacock set when they realized their chance at the crown had been stolen by the daughter of some local industrialist, who allegedly bought it for her. Oh, well.
Whenever there is a major disaster, and the Galliano dismissal is something of a fashion 9/11 — Who will replace him? Who has the same energy and breadth of vision? Will Dior survive? Will couture itself survive? — conspiracy theories are never far behind. The more extreme rumor mills are saying that Galliano has been such a catastrophe-in-waiting that LVMH has been trying to get rid of him for years. They are saying that the people who took the video were sent by the Evil Suits in the Boardroom to goad him on and film him being his naturally racist drunken self. To wit, LVMH stock barely batted a heavily lashed, gold-leafed Pat McGrath eyelid on the news of Master Galliano’s exile.
I don’t believe the conspiracy nonsense. No matter how well framed the video was, I think it was coincidence. I don’t know how old the people taunting him were, but I remember that when I was a bratty youngster hanging out in the Marais I was very cheeky with celebrities. We feel we know famous people because they so much a part of our lives. When they are friendly to us, the next thing you know we’re talking back at them like they’re dotty aunts we’ve been teasing since childhood. Celebrities in the arts are bona fide eccentrics: they’re artists, so they will tend to talk and banter back. And fight.
I’ve been monitoring a bit of the chat on gay sites regarding the sinking of Battleship Galliano. It is as usual confused and a bit bird-brained; the ninny gene can run strong at times in Homolandia. Half of them seem to want to rally around a talented sister they feel was goaded into doing what any self-respecting drunk troll with severe body dysmorphia is entitled to do, which is to lash back with any random bitter-old-queen invective at hand, the nastier the better. That was Galliano’s own brand of Eau de Vitriol we heard, limited edition. The out-of-control barbed tongue is a self-defense mechanism most gays recognize, which arises from being taunted and humiliated during childhood at school. Again, this doesn’t excuse John his behavior; I stand steadfastly behind my spanking with a firm hand. But for what it’s worth it is something of an explanation.
Recalling my encounter with Galliano, I’ll tell you honestly what my assessment of him was when I got back to London from that trip to Paris: he wasn’t very bright intellectually. I had met a genius who wasn’t at all cerebral, and that was a first for me, and of course something I needed to process intellectually. It explained a lot about the fashion world, where it is often difficult to have a sustained “serious” discussion of any depth with anyone, and yet this doesn’t mean they are stupid.
This led me to further investigation into the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which I’ll let you explore more in the link if you’re interested. Having said this, I have met and befriended a number of fashion designers in my time who are equally creative and intellectual, it’s just that none of them were quite at Galliano’s creative level.
Muhammed Ali was a genius in his own way, but I can think of plenty of other people I would rather sit next to on a non-stop flight to Asia with the entertainment system down and nothing to read.
I’m now a firm believer in multiple intelligence. I’ll never forget watching this lunk of a trainer at my gym working out on the boxing bags. Not even if I trained a whole other lifetime would I have such assured physical genius as his. And yet I couldn’t hire him as my trainer because the thought of spending an hour or two a week trying to make conversation with him in between sets was inconceivable; you could tell he could barely understand half of what I said.
Going forward, I’m going to stop the puerile attention-grabbing and not put up any more pictures of poor Amanda Seyfried’s breasts. A big apology to my virtual friend Old Ancestor, who was enjoying those. That joke has run its course, served its purpose. Thank you Amanda, and Natalie Portman for being such a sport about my teasing. You too, Brooklyn Decker, whoever you are. I will start expanding the scope of this blog soon and include reviews, contributors and interviews. I’m seriously enjoying this.
Today we have the post-mortem of the Oscars, which is only interesting to the kind of people who still read the newspaper in paper form, and to people like me who are left baffled, and require some sort of grief counseling. Truth be known, I’ve only ever been completely satisfied with an Oscar ceremony once, and that was the year The Last Emperor won. I was just smitten with that film. I was lucky to be a magazine editor at the time, so I booked myself and my friends into countless screenings of the film, and championed it ardently wherever I could. Clearly I identified with the poor, misunderstood boy emperor who floated around a gilded cage swathed in silk to a score by Ryuichi Sakamoto, lit by Vittorio Storaro.
James Franco butching it up in an impression of Marilyn Monroe that really wasn't as funny as Anne Hathaway pretended. The fact he played it like a frat bro in drag was disappointing.
So let’s analyze the analysis of last night’s ceremony by the grown ups of news, the New York Times. Alessandra Stanley says that the”The producers cast the young stars James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts, then kept the writing old and hoary,” which sounded like a personal comment directed at me and my love life. Franco and Hathaway were almost show-stoppingly nervous and downright bad right at the beginning just after that brilliant Inception mash-up video they did with Alec Baldwin and Nelson Mandela. That video was the highlight of the evening, along with the Bob Hope hologram with portions of an old broadcast, which as the NY Times pointed out, underscored just how lame the writing for last night’s show really was. I do not agree that Kirk Douglas merely “did his best,” as the Times says; it’s the first time in my life I actually liked the guy.
This is the James Franco in drag we know and love, for the cover of trannie magazine Candy, photo by Terry Richardson.
The big upset was David Fincher’s loss. I couldn’t help but hear the words of a director friend of mine, “Harvey Weinstein is truly evil.” Indeed, after what happened last night, with a decent but insipid film like King’s Speech upsetting the far more accomplished Social Network, one can only think that Harvey has pulled off the ultimate impossible financing deal and re-mortgaged his soul to the devil. And this is just when I’d thought the devil had had enough of Harvey and had moved on to my landlady Susan Blais.
Bringing this all back to to the subject of me, watching Franco and Hathaway clash like oil over water – he basically flipped the finger to the Academy with his attitude, treating them to what his generation really thinks about this crap, while she ran off in the opposite direction and sucked up to the establishment — reminded me of the one time I have ever experienced a large-scale televised awards thing like this, which was when I hosted the Miss India Pageant in 1993. As I like to say, it is something every American should do once in his lifetime.
The reason I was cast as the host is ridiculous in the first place. A friend of mine was co-producing it, and as this was the first time India was televising the event, they wanted it to look as professional as possible, which meant having an American white man do it. This was at a time when India was still reinventing herself and feeling insecure about being Indian, so hiding behind an American — a native New Yorker, no less, who was spoon-fed bravado from when he could barely stand in his crib — seemed like a good idea. In principle. I had begun my film career in India, see, and had lingered for long enough to start to speak Hindi, which meant I could pronounce the names with some degree of accuracy (linguistically speaking, Hindi has some tricky consonant groupings, and if you aren’t spoon-fed them in your crib, they are very difficult to pronounce).
The producers’ biggest mistake was thinking that, because they thought I looked like David Letterman, I would be funny. This was typical racial profiling as practiced by non-whites: they think we all look alike. No white person would every mistake me for Letterman, especially a white comedian. Just because I liked to lounge around Mumbai on a Rajasthani divan high on opium and ganja, shredding my world with acerbic alacrity didn’t mean I was ready for the level of impromptu comedy that would soon be required of me, in front of over a billion people across Asia, from the Middle East to Hong Kong.
Four days before rehearsals were meant to begin for the pageant, thirteen bombs exploded in different places Mumbai, a mini-9/11.
The Mumbai Stock Exchange after the March, 1993 blasts
One of the targets was the Centaur Hotel, a well-intentionally designed structure that looks like the prow of a beached ocean liner in Juhu, which fortuitously rhymes with Malibu because that’s sort of what it is in relation to the rest of Mumbai geographically; i.e., it’s up the coast from the main city and is a well-to-do enclave. The comparisons stop right there, though. This is India, so Juhu is plenty funky, and at the time the Centaur Hotel was a complete shithole, albeit classified as a 5-star shithole by the Indian government because, of course, it was run by the Indian government. I say was a complete shithole because I noticed in Slumdog Millionaire that it was closed for business and being renovated; it’s that abandoned hotel the heroes hide out in for a while. I’m glad it has (hopefully) been brought up to it’s potential; I always thought that architecturally it was a great concept.
The Miss India pageant was supposed to take place in the bombed-out Centaur, so naturally I assumed that the show would be cancelled or at the very least postponed. Not at all. There are a handful of countries that take their pageants very seriously; in places like India, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, it is like the women’s World Series. The show would go on, even though most of the entire ground floor of the hotel was blasted out. Not to be outshone, I decided on going, what the hell, it’s a lark, so I packed my bravado, copped some Xanax for those post-large-scale-terrorism-attack willies combined with stage fright (we all know those), and hopped on a plane from Delhi to Mumbai for rehearsals.
When I got there, I noticed they were constructing this massive runway down the middle of the Olympic-sized pool in the center of the hotel right down to the beach. I could see them building it from my room on the top floor of the hotel. It was in the shape of a Byzantine double crucifix. I came to think of that as symbolic over the upcoming days.
The inner courtyard of the Centaur Juhu Hotel, showing my pool of doom, over which the catwalk was built. My room was on the top floor, center, right hand side. The entire ground floor was blackened from the blast that had ripped through the hotel shortly before we started rehearsals.
Just after I checked in, I was sitting in my room catching up with a friend of mine, Milind Soman, a male model turned actor, with whom I had shared another adventure a few years earlier, during which he proved himself to be one of the few real stand-up guys I have ever met in my life. New Yorkers would call him a mensch. While we were catching up, the phone rang.
“Is this James Killough?”
“There’s a bomb under your bed,” said the caller, clearly not the hospitality desk welcoming me to the hotel and making sure everything was all right. Now, you would think given what had just happened across Mumbai that I would get up and bolt from the room. But for some reason, maybe trying to impress mensch-of-mensches Milind sitting opposite me, I just looked under the bed and replied, “No, there isn’t.”
“Then you are a target the night of the performance,” said the caller, and hanged up.
Milind Soman, whom I sadly haven't seen in a donkey's age, but I'm pleased to see he's now the spokesman for Just For Men, which I use on my beard, but I would use on my hair if I had enough.
Much as I would have liked to ignore the call, the sensible thing to do was to tell the producers, given that this was a climate akin to post-9/11 New York. The whole production was instantly put under lockdown, and we weren’t allowed to go outside hotel for any reason. And we were three days or so away from the main performance. I was assured there would now be elite force snipers covering me from the roof and a Black Cat commando embedded every fifth person in the sizable audience for good measure. Great. Suddenly I felt like was really the host of the Miss Israel Pageant taking place on the Gaza Strip.
Indians are nothing if not expert reassurers. It’s that sway of the head, the “no problem, don’t worry,” their charm. You buy it every time no matter how long you’ve lived there, no matter how well you speak the language. Why? Because they themselves buy it.
I was promised a rehearsal, but didn’t get one the entire three or four days leading up to the performance, during which I basically twiddled my thumbs in my room. I was this afterthought who was somehow going to wing it with a script I had written. I was invincible, I didn’t need what mere mortal performers needed, because I was David Letterman. Everyone else scurried around, the girls going off to swimsuit contests and shopping sprees and congeniality competitions and other Miss Country things, while the crew frantically tried to prepare for an event they had never staged this on this level before. Again, this was the first time the Miss India Pageant was to be televised.
In case you didn't get the point, I shall belabor it. Another scene from the Mumbai blasts shortly before the Miss India pageant.
As my crucifix runway was being built, the backdrop went up as well. It turned out to be an enormous peacock, from which I was to emerge at the beginning of the show and make my way down this sweeping staircase. Just like Liberace.
Ugh. I was pre-embarrassed for myself. The Xanax stopped working. Rudderless, rehearsal-less, increasingly nervous, I snuck out of the hotel to the house of one of the pageant judges next door, an actress with whom I had worked on the first film I ever wrote, which had brought me to India in the first place. The judge wasn’t there, but her willfully insouciant sister was.
“What are you worried about?” the sister said breezily, as if being forced to perform for two hours in front of a billion people across Asia (in rerun) without a rehearsal, with snipers on the roof, commandos in the audience, K-9 bomb squad dogs behind stage and around it — a stage crowned by a peacock I would emerge from like some burlesque fan dancer, no less — when you have never done anything remotely like this in your life, and you only got the gig because of erroneous racial profiling, weren’t enough to justify a wee case of the jitters. “The contest is rigged anyway,” she yawned. “Everyone knows that. Just relax.”
Oh, great. Thanks, friend’s sister. Now I have to be the spokesperson for petty pageant corruption on top of everything else.
I am not a quiet, retiring type. If something bothers me, I’m gonna let you know. And I was getting pissed as hell. Still, I was lulled into the usual reassurance with the swaying heads, and lots of “What rubbish! Of course it’s not rigged!” As proof, there was going to be a terminal in my podium that would be linked directly to the judges and their voting tabulation. Furthermore, this terminal would act as a sort of teleprompter for my script. My friend’s sister had to be wrong.
Indian Army Black Cat Commandos bouncing around. Yes, I willingly put my life in their hands, all in the name of beauty pageant.
I’ll never know what happened in the hour leading up to the performance to cause the mysterious malfunction of the judge’s voting tabulation system linked to the terminal in my podium, which likewise didn’t work. Maybe the judges rebelled against the rigging and couldn’t be trusted to vote the right way. Given what happened at the end of the performance, I would like to imagine that something like that happened, that my friends and colleagues had had a crisis of conscience, as I still have. I’ve never spoken to them about it because I fled in such a hurry and returned to Bombay only years later.
Just before the performance began and my name was announced, before I emerged from the embarrassingly camp peacock, with snipers overhead, a throng of models and contestants backstage, and nausea in my stomach, I said to the stage manager, whom I shall call Deepak to protect the complicit, “How the fuck am I supposed to do this reading from a script I haven’t rehearsed?”
“Don’t worry,” he said. “Just go out there and be funny.”
The 1993 Miss India Pageant wasn’t just rigged in a subtle way, it was a full-blown 18-sail-ship rigging in plain view of everyone in the audience, the contestants, judges, and me, its spokesperson. The show wasn’t broadcast live, but it was still difficult to mask what happened in the final edit that was shown to over a billion people across Asia, in rerun.
The first hiccup occurred towards the last third. There was something strange going on in the manual relay of information between the judges and me, which lead me to accidentally read out the real semi-finalists they had actually voted for, not what the producers wanted, which meant that one of the girls, who would of course go on to win second place, was accidentally eliminated. We had to go back and redo that portion of the show, and eliminate the girl who was supposed to have won, whose name I had already read out, who had mistakenly celebrated a victory that was likely hers to begin with.
In the heat of the moment, I still had time to muster moral indignation — the unfairly eliminated girls, who like me had refused to believe the rumors of rigging, were sobbing backstage — and turned to Deepak when I was offstage for a moment in the wings, “It’s rigged!”
“So what,” he replied with a shrug. “You’re doing a great job. Keep going.”
Despite everything, I suppose I had managed to locate my inner David Letterman and was actually managing to be humorous. No longer. I wasn’t amused and was seriously contemplating walking off.
Just before the end, I was given a note in handwriting I recognized, James, Please read these names out, and it was signed, the Judges. And the names of three girls who should have won were there, not the names of the three who ended up with crowns on their heads. Had I read the real winners out, they would simply have made me go back and redo it, and I was tired of this shit. What had started out as a fun lark had turned into yet another Mumbai nightmare.
Namrata Shirodkar, the woman crowned as Miss India, but who probably wasn't the real winner.
Now, maybe this was an elaborate set-up, we will never know. Maybe that wasn’t really a note from the judges, but like I said, I had worked with two of them for a long time, and knew a few of the others. And I had been warned by almost everyone that the show was going to be rigged and that the girl who was crowned, Namrata Shirodkar, was going to win it, which I just refused to believe possible.
I left that note on the podium, along with the microphone I threw down in disgust once the lights cut and the cameras were off. On my way out, I said to Deepak, “I’m not going to say anything about this, but I want cash, and you can pay the taxes,” and left on the 1 a.m. Air India flight back to Delhi. They did pay me a month later over a Thai meal in Delhi, in cash, literally under the table. I hope they paid the taxes. After all, the organizers and producers of the event were none other than the venerable Times of India.
Well, after telling that story, I’m not sure it’s appropriate to insert my signature picture of Amanda Seyfried’s breast. So I’ll leave you with a more chaste picture of her having an orgasm instead:
Amanda Seyfried having an orgasm while looking at her lesbian lover's shoes in "Chloe." (Oh come, all ye pervy keyword searchers! Join me!) This orgasm is distinct from the one enjoyed by Julianne Moore in an earlier scene, when Julianne was being fingered by Amanda. In this one, Amanda is having sex with Julianne's character's teenaged son. The film is kinda filthy if you think about it, not when you watch it, though.
And the video below isn’t funny at all. I take back what I said about John Galliano having been provoked in my blog a couple of days ago. I apologize for it, and it certainly doesn’t look like anyone from my crew is going to be offering him work soon, even if he were inclined to do it. I take Galliano’s passing on doing the costumes for Hatter a few years ago at its word and cease and desist from further endeavor to convince him otherwise.
And so we continue with the shamelessly extroverted post titles.
It’s Oscar day. Ho hum for most of us, nauseatingly exciting for those up for awards. Literally nauseating: I would be puking in a bucket right now if I were nominated. With the helicopters whirling overhead because the Kodak Theater is less than ten blocks away, it’s time for me to muse about the Oscars from the perspective of a bit of satellite debris orbiting Planet Hollywood.
Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler looking like my Oscar-wishful producer.
Once upon a career, I had this executive producer in London who looked like a British Oskar Schindler as played by Liam Neeson, which, yes, meant he looked a bit like Liam. He even smoked these little cigars, had a super cut-glass accent, wore blue blazers and jeans, and in general wowed me as being the archetypal dashing playboy Euro-producer. Naturally, I hung on his every word. The fact he wasn’t particularly successful, and like most of the people in our business sat around planning and talking about making films rather than actually making them, made not a tick of difference to me. He looked the part. And in this filmmaker’s mind, I had cast him in the movie of my life as the man who would produce me. Finally.
“James, my boy,” Faux Oskar said to me once (yes, he actually used to call me James My Boy, with a slight wave of his cheroot, which dazzled me), “Anyone who tells you he isn’t in the film business to win an Oscar is lying.” I gulped. It had been a very long time since I had fantasized about winning an Oscar, of giving That Speech in my mind. My mother was more excited about the prospect of my ever winning than I was (“Can I accept it for you, darling? Wouldn’t that be fun to have your mum up there?”) However, if Faux Oskar said it, it must be true. So I became a liar without a lie and let no one know I had no Oscar ambitions.
The real truth is I actually do this film thing because I love it. It’s not work for me the way jobs are for most other people. When I am seized with the passion of a project, it’s better than being high on sex-enhancing drugs in an orgy of gorgeous people, and that feeling lasts for the duration of the gig. Now you have an idea of why we’re all so addicted to it, at the expense of all reason.
A few years later, I was in Los Angeles on a second date with this insanely handsome German guy, the kind who should have “Arrogance” tattooed between his shoulder blades, the kind the real Oskar Schindler risked so much to screw over. This Uber-Douche invited me to an Oscar party in a loft downtown, during which he kept sneaking off to the bathroom and doing coke. The fact he didn’t offer me any was bad enough, but what made it worse is that his already rampant Narcissism Personality Disorder was now a Godzilla in the room. He had become Super Uber-Douche.
It was one of those Oscars that happen to me every few years where people I have known in the past were involved with the ceremony, either dishing out or receiving. I believe Faye Dunaway, with whom I’d had a long history when I was much younger, not all of it pleasant, was one of the presenters. Then Akiva Goldsman, whom I had known pretty well in college, won for Best Adapted Screenplay. I groaned.
Crapmeister Akiva Goldsman turning into a genius. Akiva's greatest contribution to the arts is probably having inspired me to drop out of Wesleyan.
Now, the reason I groaned was not because I dislike Akiva particularly, even though he was the final straw that made me to decide to drop out of Wesleyan and move to Paris and become a fashion photographer’s assistant. What happened on that occasion is I was very high on pot sitting in my friend Tom Rockwell’s kitchen at college and feeling paranoid (I was a freshman, Akiva was older, so that was extra paranoid-making), and he was trying to explain phenomenology to this other guy, and I just couldn’t grasp it. Little did I know until I shacked up with a philosophy professor twenty years later that I was by no means alone in not understanding phenomenology.
I decided then and there that a) Wesleyan displeased me aesthetically in general, and b) admissions had made a mistake; I was far too dumb to be there. The hidden third c) was that I desperately wanted to get back to Europe, where I had grown up. America was still in a bit of a troglodyte era, ruled by Reagan; the croissant had yet to be introduced to McDonalds.
So there was Akiva, winning an Oscar for “Beautiful Mind,” fumbling through his speech, during which, in typical Wesleyan fashion, he sucked up to all of Power Hollywood from CAA (a Wesleyan creation) to Steven Spielberg. Like I said, I didn’t groan because I dislike “Keevie,” as we called him back then, but because he was shattering my schadenfreude. Up until that moment, Akiva was known as “Hollywood’s Crapmeister,” the man blamed for killing the first iteration of the Batman franchise. That is no mean feat. If I had been known as Hollywood’s Crapmeister, I would have committed hari kiri, ergo the schadenfreude. But when he won the Oscar, I knew that from that moment, Akiva was screenwriting royalty, my new king, or at the very least a powerful arch-duke with connections to kings. He was no longer a crapmeister, one of the worst writers around, someone whose presumed misery had made me feel better about mine; he would be forever more a “genius.” And so I groaned.
And after I groaned, Uber-Douche turned to me and said, “You vill never vin von of dose.” If he was grinding his teeth because of the coke he hadn’t offered me, I was grinding mine to stop myself from punching him.
Later at a club he announced, “Ok, vee go home now.”
“So go,” I replied. And patted myself on the back for rejecting Apollo.
Wanna buy an Oscah? Peggy Siegal has one for you for the right price.
James, you ask, you are obviously the ultimate Hollywood outsider’s insider. How does one win an Oscar? Easy. Just have insane good fortune, a modicum of talent — filmmaking is not rocket science, believe me, not at all — and a fantastic publicist. That’s what ultimately gets you the award. Err on the side of caution and hire Peggy Siegal. Done. She’s a nightmare, but funny in a way, if you like your gossip hardcore. She will stop at nothing and stoop to everything to reach your goals.
Speaking of hardcore gossip, we reach the explanation for the title of this blog post, a tribute to my friend, Indian fashion designer Malini Ramani. It’s the way she gossips, I can never get enough of listening to her. Across a crowded room at a noisy party, you can hear her breathlessly soaking in the latest dish, and she has this raspy voice that resonates through the sturdiest inebriated atoms. When she hears the first tidbit she always says, in the Delhi upper class nasal singsong, “Shut up!” This is how the speaker knows the story is good. Getting a Shut Up! from Malini is the Michelin one star of quality South Asian gossip. If you are lucky to get a Fuck off! next, you have really made the grade. But it’s said like this: “Fuck! Off!” followed by a sharp intake of breath. Now, if this isn’t just gossip, but a bona fide scandal, you will be rewarded with the third star: “YOU’RE LY-ING!” And “lying” is said just like that, both syllables clearly distinguished and with such force of purpose that the capital letters sway to the right as if gusted by a sharp wind of flabbergastedness.
My friend, Indian fashion designer Malini Ramani, at the end of one of her shows (she's the short one). I guess this collection was entitled "Injuns: Feathers, Not Dots." She's probably in full gossip with the gal on her left. There isn't a single moment one shouldn't be fully gossip-immersed, even at a curtain call.
Of course, you aren’t really lying, it just means that you have dished the goz so superbly, scooped every seasoned saried-and-bejeweled doyen in the room to the punch so expertly that you can only be LY-ING. Given that most of Delhi gossip is pure fabrication generated simply for the sake of adding a little masala to the otherwise overly sweet and dull dolce vita everyone there swims in, being a liar is the Oscar of compliments.
No Killough Rant-Post would be complete without a mention of my (in my opinion) execrable psycho landlady, Susan Blais, whom I shall see in court the week after next, after which I shall give you more details, including the address of this shithole she owns so that you avoid it like the plague (I heard from another tenant that not long ago this place was lousy with fleas and bedbugs for six months until she was forced to fumigate). And of course no Pure Film Creative post would be complete without a pic of Amanda Seyfried’s breasts, so here you are:
A double treat today, even though it is once again just Amanda's side boob. The other tit is Julianne Moore's breast, which probably won't get me as many hits as typing Amanda Seyfried's breast. What is Amanda doing with her right hand? Why, Amanda Seifried is fingering Julianne Moore! Now THAT should net me a half dozen more adorable perv readers for my blog. Thanks, girls. Keep up the good work. See you at the Oscars!
The title of this post comes from a search term that showed up on my WordPress Dashboard, which as I mentioned in yesterday’s post I am addicted to for the time being. Some British titty-phile wanted to see a man macking on a girl’s boob, and found my blog. All I can say is, bless the very horny, for they perpetuate the race.
I should just rename this entire blogsite Filthy and Filthier and drop the Pure Film Creative pretense. I am clearly no longer concerned with attracting clients who are going to pay me vast sums to jazz up their content, which is typically cavalier and short-sighted of me. It seems I would rather sit here cackling like Liberace on E while I tinkle out mildly offensive caustic badinage that is entirely inappropriate as a writing sample. Oh, well.
Can you believe this man ever existed? Not only that, but led a double life as Elton John? These are the kinds of aliens who brand gays as "flaming." I am glad that Soderbergh is doing the bio-pic. Not so glad Michael Douglas is playing the lead because he's a bit of a dick who chews with his mouth open, although he seems to have changed his spots since the cancer scare.
Every decade or so, a sentence leaps out at me in some random article I am reading that changes my life. I like to think of this as a manifestation of my personal karmic wheels grinding and showing me The Way, albeit an M.C. Escher-esque way; my life is nothing but karmic wheel cogs twisting impossibly on each other, with medieval men in tights and hoodies marching up and down stairs that seem interconnected but are really just illusions.
A case in point was an article in People magazine way back in 1986 that described the tragic death of Olivia Channon, a Guinness cousin. She ODed on heroin and too many cocktails called “Heaven Can Wait” in Gottfried von Bismarck’s dorm room at Oxford. People described the cocktail as a mixture in equal portions of vodka, champagne and orange juice. I immediately went out and tried this elixir, and it worked: it was the pre-Red Bull buzzy-fun cocktail that got you raucously drunk as opposed to woozy drunk. I think it must have been the massive sugar rush of orange juice and champagne combined with the alcohol. I drank Heaven Can Waits until the budget ran out, and then drank them again when the budget came back. I’ve always thought it was the best use for champagne, no matter how expensive the brand.
Count von Bismarck, in whose bed my cocktail muse Olivia Channon died, fully clothed because apparently she just passed out there; Gottfried was a homo. More precisely, he was described in his own recent obit as "a pleasure-seeking heroin addict, hell-raising alcoholic, flamboyant waster and a reckless and extravagant host of homosexual orgies." Man after my own heart. It appears that 24 years after Olivia kicked the bucket in his bed, he ODed on heroin, too. See the things you find out when you Google Image?
More or less the same epiphany thing happened the other day when I read the New York Times article about Hugh Hefner. So inspiring. Apparently, he has kept his skin so soft and youthful by slathering it with baby oil. It is said by his concubines that he glows in the dark as a result. My life changed at that moment. Heaven could wait no longer. I needed to become a baby oil man just like Hef.
Even though I fancy myself the gay Hugh Hefner, I don't want that chair. The chick can stay if she's really funny.
Los Angeles is basically an artificially irrigated desert. Much as I admire Clint Eastwood and, like many middle-aged still-hopefuls, aspire to his late-life career, I don’t want my skin to look like a dusty vintage stuffed armadillo sitting in the back of an antiques store in Midland, Texas. Nor do I have the finances that Madonna has to embalm myself every night in super-refined petroleum byproducts like an Ancient Egyptian Queen rehearsing for the hereafter. So baby oil it has become, once in the morning, once before bed. Tiny amounts of it, of course; I don’t want to seem too greasy. But I have already started glowing. By the time I am ready for my nieces to change my Depends, a prospect I love to tease them with, I intend to have become the infant Pitt in the first scenes of “Benjamin Button.”
Speaking of aging eccentrics, the world of fashion is aflame and agog for the first time since McQueen’s suicide with the news of John Galliano’s suspension from the House of Dior. He got into some smack-down spat in a café in the Marais, Paris. They called him ugly, he called them Jews or Asians, or maybe he was so drunk he mistook Asians for Jews, nobody is sure which. I’ve only met the man briefly, but we were both very drunk, so it seems incredible to me that he wasn’t massively provoked. At the risk of sounding like a complete nancy, no matter what John looks like on the outside, there is nothing ugly about a man who produces such breathtaking beauty.
The feral rake-hell John Galliano holding a lethal weapon.
If and when Hatter gets going again as a play next season in London, I will go back to John to ask him to design the costumes. When it was a film with me directing, he turned me down on the grounds he wanted creative control. We still met in Paris at the couture shows in 2003 (yes, we’ve been in development with Hatter that long) and had the aforementioned very funny, very inebriated evening together. Or I thought it was funny; I’ve been dining out on the story ever since. It involves a six-foot-five, 21-year-old German kid and some spanking. If he and I don’t work together, which is likely, I’ll blog the story at a later date, again in conjunction with the production of Hatter. So be warned, John: either do the costumes or I’m spilling the beans. [Fuck that shit. I take all of that back. I hope I’ve made up for it in this post.]
Now that I’ve peppered this blog with ramblings about eccentric old queens, let me stop calling the kettle African-American and jump into the fray with my own pic, which will get added to Google Image searches of me:
This picture was taken of me, James Killough (need to put the name in for Google bots) three years ago by fashion blogger Pippa Brooks from Madame Says. Note that even blurry you can see my skin is heading for stuffed armadillo in Midland, Texas. And this was three years ago. The benefit of slathering myself with baby oil is not just that I'll look and smell like Hugh Hefner when I'm 85, but when you take a picture of me in a crowded, smoky pub like this again, the flash will reflect so intensely off my shiny head that my face will appear blasted out.
And a big shout-out (Christ, I hate that expression) to my new buddy Old Ancestor, who has left a couple of lust-riddled comments to the right of this column. Because this particular blog ended up kind of homo sordidus, I thought I’d straighten things up a bit by taking a screen shot of Amanda Seyfried’s “side boob,” as Peter from Family Guy calls it. Here you go, Old Ancestor buddy. My regards to your wife:
Amanda Seyfried's breasts have become my entire raison d'être on WordPress. I need to collect every pixel I can that showcases those lovely billies, until this blog rivals Huffington Post. "Killough sells blog based on Seyfried breast for $350 million." Yes!
The title of this is an experiment. It seems that when I write about hookers and celebrities the hits to this blog spike. I figured that if I threw the devil in the mix I might attract Mel Gibson’s crowd as well. Yesterday’s backhanded self-help blog, which I tried to masquerade as vitriol flung at my (in my opinion) psycho landlady, Susan Blais, has the lowest rating ever. Clearly nobody out there wants to hear about how I’m pulling myself up by my bootstraps and soldiering on. Hmpf. All they care about is Amanda Seyfried’s boobs.
The obdurately angelic Natalie Portman. And they complain that there are no movie stars like there used to be. Just look at that swan's neck, wouldya? If Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco, can you blame Natalie for doing one better and shacking up with the Prince of Darkness?
The reason I’m picking on Natalie is she is number one today on the IMDb Starmeter, which is a ranking of who has the most hits on the IMDb public page, as opposed to the IMDbPro page. So by making this about her, I’m hoping for more hits to my blog when scandalized Googlers, who always suspected there was something fishy about that Portman girl, just way too nice, tune in here to get the real story about her hooking up with The Horned One.
Now, we people in The Biz are not supposed to care about our IMDb ranking, it’s decidedly not cool. At most we use IMDBPro for its industry news aggregation and because it has a reasonably up-to-date listing of who represents what actor. But I’ve just looked mine up for this blog (honestly, I swear, I never look at it), and I’m the 265,783rd most famous person on the IMDb, which is weird because last week my ranking was 444,840. Hmmm. I know last week’s because the Starmeter keeps a record of it, and because last week I was writing about the IMDb for an audition web content article I scribbled for InteractMedia in which I commented about my lowly status in the industry, and I looked it up then. So this means that people have been hitting the IMDb looking for me. But I have had no news posted about me lately, nothing to warrant a surge of close to 50% in popularity. I’m now paranoid. What if it is the (in my opinion) villainous Susan Blais and her minions scouring the web for information about me to add to the pyre on which she intends to burn me alive?
A screenshot of my IMDb Starmeter page in detail. Note that I was extremely unpopular over Christmas; I dipped below one million, shamefully. Normally I would feel unloved except I remember that my bike was stolen on Christmas day, so obviously someone out there, albeit some junkie, was thinking about me.
We’re not supposed to care about this because those of us who are so lowly on the Starmeter rating system know that the big kids, the real celebs, the people ranked above 20,000, don’t give a damn about the IMDb, much less their Starmeter rating. They don’t post pictures to their profiles, those are pulled from news services, or managed personally by IMDb staff members, I’m guessing. I learned my lesson about this shortly after they invented the Starmeter and like a total dweeb I congratulated Louise Ward on her client Channing Tatum making the number one spot, currently occupied by Natalie Portman, who may or may not be carrying the spawn of Beelzebub; after all, her career has suddenly soared due to a horror movie, of all suspicious things. Louise kinda went, “Huh? What’s that? Oh, that IMDb thing.” I felt small for caring.
The truth is there are people out there, people I work with, who do care very much about their ranking, much more than I do. I won’t say who you are. Or maybe I will because I want your hearts pounding while you hold your breath and murmur, “Sweet, Jesus, James! Don’t let them know I monitor my rating! I’ll option your script, promise!” When I blog more about the HATTER dramedy two years ago, I’ll even introduce you to some characters who had pictures taken purposely, professionally for their IMDb profiles — that (in my opinion) is the height of dweeb.
I remember another Starmeter rating moment when I was having lunch at the Cannes Festival with a producer of mine in 2008. This was the peak of my rating: I was above 70,000 that week. When I told my colleague he said, “You bitch! Mine has never gone above a hundred thousand AND I’VE JUST PRODUCED A FILM WITH ROBERT PATTINSON.”
I know, I’ve been crapping on a lot lately about facing adversity. But it was only at the gym today, while I was willfully straining my muscles and inflicting measured pain to my body, that I thought how true the saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” really is. To paraphrase a friend of mine, Lucky Diamond Rich, the world’s most tattooed man, who is in some places tattooed eight layers deep, the needles and the piercings and the body modification that he has put himself through are nothing compared to the pain he feels when dealing with himself inwardly.
My buddy Lucky Diamond Rich, Guinness World Record holder as the world's most tattooed man. I am planning to make a documentary about him one day, take him to India to learn the tricks of the fakirs and follow him around. Not an inch of his skin is bare of ink. His teeth are silver. He's blue, so when he wears his favorite bright orange Vivienne Westwood suit it's a real trip.
So why is it that I am so keen to put myself through the daily, pleasurable ordeal of weight training and intensive cardio, all in the name of strengthening my body and of trying to fight the gravitational pull of my aging flesh toward the center of the earth, but when it comes to psychic pain — and here I use the word “psychic” as a synonym for mental, not in the Hungarian-gypsy-reading-your-palm sense — I am such a whimpering pussy bitch? It’s always been true: what hasn’t killed me has made me increasingly stronger. So as I was powering-setting the shoulder press this afternoon until my muscles seared and I could lift no more, I thought, I should embrace this circumstantial adversity and welcome it rather than dread it and cower away. Even since I was a kid I’ve wanted to be a powerful, leathery, wise old man. When other kids identified with Frodo or Legolas, I was always Gandalf. Now is my chance. So from here on in I am going to embrace this adversity shit head-on, understanding that the added bonus of strengthening my psychic endurance by treating my misery as a relentless Psycho Circuit class is I don’t have to pay $50 dollars a month to a gym, unlimited tanning included.
Speaking of mental anguish, rumor has it that my landlady, the (in my opinion) nefarious Susan Blais, is in fact bipolar, which explains a lot. I suppose I should be kinder to her in this case, but mental illness doesn’t excuse evil behavior: Hilter was nuttier than Whole Foods Trail Mix; Muammar Gaddafi, the great evil of our times that we have swept under the carpet for FORTY YEARS , even dresses like a ‘sixties black poetess from outer space, complete with muumuu, matching turban and diamanté designer sunglasses. The bipolar/manic depression makes sense: when Susan showed up at my door one night followed by a young Asian dude holding a stick, the first thing I noticed was how she reeked. I believe that you can smell depression on some people; I don’t know if it’s a hygiene thing or a secretion thing, but it can be this rancid, hamster-cage odor. Susan was masking it with some equally noxious perfume, which gave her personal pong the overall effect of some effluent byproduct oozing from a Libyan petroleum refinery.
Still furious about his exclusion from the seminal documentary on black drag queens,"Paris Is Burning," Mama Gaddafi from the House of Gaddafi vogues Pan-Arab Tyrant Realism while Our Fearful Leader tries not to giggle, lest Miss Thing bomb a United jumbo this time, now that Pan Am has gone out of business.
I’ve long thought that the solution to Susan’s alarming turnover in staff (this is the third building manager she’s had in a year, in this building alone) as well as tenants (very few stay beyond the term of their lease, which she insists on being a year long, unlike other buildings in LA, which offer a six-month option; she intends to fuck you on your security if you buckle and leave earlier, which you will), is for her to turn over her extensive property portfolio to a decent management company. But methinks the nutty old stinky witch rather enjoys her own private auto da fé. She seems to be finding more luck with Born Again Christian building managers, who presumably believe that forbearance towards impossible people will earn them points in heaven. For those of us who don’t believe in heaven, but definitely in an eye for an eye, we’ll see the bitch in court.
According to the WordPress.com dashboard on my blog, I get many more searches and hits if I mention Amanda Seyfriend’s breasts, like I did in an earlier post. Here, boys, let me link you to an image of them. They are rumored to be not real … I know, big shock there, but I had managed to suspend disbelief during the film. Or was it that I nodded off?