Saw the final episode [#22] of HBO’s ROME. It went out w/ a bang! The previous installment was one of the most erotic, exotic pieces of celluloid ever. It featured a scorching coupling of Marc Antony and Cleopatra.This duo has been classic movie fodder–taken on by the likes of pioneer director, Cecil B. DeMille & the Brangelina of their day, Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. It took ROME to render the heat, as well as the historical implications, in a new way. The finely crafted last installment (written by co-creator, Bruno Heller) had it all: starting w/ a b.g.orgy, it ended on an epic note w/ a triumph–Octavian Caesar’s processional through the streets of Rome. The opening credits alone are worth the price of an HBO subsciption.
People say to me: “You love ROME; HBO’s OZ (the brilliant prison show from unsung genius, Tom Fontana), you didn’t find APOCALYPTO too violent. Can’t they soften these things up, aren’t they just too violent?” Only THE SOPRANOS seems to sneak by without comment. My response is this: ancient Rome, prison and the Mayan civilization, where human sacrifice was practiced– more violent than portrayed.
WE LIVE IN A VIOLENT CULTURE! Do I think the news media, the consumer society, the government, the wars and the new duo of Vince McMahon & The Donald are violent? YES, YES, YES!
Was watching VH1′S, MOST SHOCKING MOMENTS IN ROCK–allowed myself just one hr’s worth of landmine after landmine. One of the “most shocking moments ” was a revelation to me. I recognized my friend, Susan Blond, who was head of publicity at Epic Records, in several photos w/ Ozzy Osbourne on her lap. Susan had a black strip across her eyes for anonymity. Sharon Osborne was narrating what happened in the ” shocking moment.”
It seems Ozzy went into a meeting w/ the Epic execs, sat on Susan’s lap, then proceeded to bite the head off a dove!!! They evicted him from the building but before he was out the door he bit the head off a 2nd dove !!! SO DISGUSTING!!! I think this event took place in the main CBS building in Manhattan…..I wonder if Bill Paley was in the house? He was still alive when this happened. Anyway, all’s well that ends well, at least when commerce is involved. The album they were meeting on turned out to be a BIG SELLER!!! I hope they paid Susan a combat bonus.
Watched Scarlett Johansson hostSNL. She’s my favorite young star. Contemporary but gorgeous, like Lana Turner, in that old-time movie star way, talented, poised and she has yet to have a big public meltdown. She appears to handle fame well.
The SNL musical guests were a group called Death Cab For Cutie. Isn’t that a desperate name? When they came on I thought I was watching a skit. No wonder they are having sales problems in the record industry! They were another one of these groups w/ the garage band sound & “arty-poetic” lyrics. The lead singer looked like the Pillsbury Dough Boy. Never mind talent and innovation, is it no longer a pre-requisite for rockers to be skinny?
I then went back to reading my sixth Bruce Wagner novel……he’s so brilliant. With name-dropping aplomb & prose as hard and black as onyx, he cuts deep into the madness and pretention of the Hollywood fame game.
That most devastating game of all–the Iraq war– which has lasted longer than WWI, WWII, and the Korean War began THE FIFTH YEAR. Between Anna Nicole updates, the the past days the Bush administration has sailed through three back-to-back scandals: fall guy Scooter Libby, Walter Reed Hospital, now Alberto Gonzales & the US Attorneys. Remember Bush’s previous Attorney General, John Ashcroft, w/ his group,”The Singing Senators ?” Trent Lott was in it, remember?
And the beat goes on……..and on…….and on.
I was looking at TMZ.com, published by Harvey Levin, a local LA tv reporter/ lawyer. I saw a piece about a pre-rehab meltdown by Britney Spears that happened in of all places, a bebe store in Miami. As former designer of bebe I want to comment on this. bebe’s heavily-diluted stock is down and so is Britney’s. Will they recover? bebe will, ultimately, because founder Manny Mashouf is too smart to let it fail. But he’s going to have to make big changes—and I don’t mean by just replacing Mischa Barton as spokesmodel. If they stop chasing trends and start making them, they can get back on track. But that won’t be easy. Too much power in the hands of managers. Get good talent and let design hold the reins, not greedy execs looking to cash out stock options. Mickey Drexler is turning around J. Crew by elevating the product without losing the base. Duh, good product = success. That goes in any field. Will Britney make a comeback? She and Michael Jackson should team up. That pairing could move poor Anna Nicole out of the tabs for a few days. Maybe it’s something about the combination of Brittany and bebe. For Brittany, maybe wearing bebe is just plain bad luck. I was designing there when she married her 1st husband–wearing a bebe tee shirt. Wasn’t that costly, hours-long union a sign of trouble? Re: Paris Hilton. Although the head of the snake, Ms Hilton seems to have weathered scandal better than the rest of these stupid girls. She has yet to have a big, public personal meltdown. These spoiled Hollywood girls are terrible role models…but these pop culture phenoms are a godsend and great diversion for the mendacious Bush White House. When these girls are splattered all over the media who notices the chicanery of this obscene administration? It’s bread and circuses.
THE IRAQ WAR HAS NOW BEEN GOING FOUR YEARS…and then there’s Afghanistan.
I spoke w/ Paul Morrissey today. Of course a major topic was the big news—the sale of his Montauk property to Mickey Drexler, the guy from J. Crew, formerly of The Gap, for $28.000.000. REAL real estate. It was originally just a very funky fishing lodge for rich people, bought for $200,000 in the early Seventies. Still very funky cottages but great beachfront. Won’t be funky for long. Naturally it doesn’t hurt the value that it was an Andy Warhol property; although Paul did find the place and always loved it. I don’t think Andy was ever interested in it…he rarely went there. But the Montauk place was where Andy took Liz Taylor (I remember she was w/her hairdresser) to ask her if she’d star in BAD. He “popped the question” & she turned him down flat.
Paul said his super chic niece, Marisa Crawford‘s daughter, Justine, is now in Vogue. She’s 13 going on 14 and a terrific student. Bruce Weber is working w/ her. That’s great. For years now all the models seem to be from former Soviet-bloc countries.
I like Tyra’s talk show. She has real personality and spirit. I never got O., but have never really seen the show. My mother says she’s compassionate.
It was my b-day. Was exhausted. Received gorgeous orchids. Got a great gift for my Mickey Cohen book research: the history of the Cohen tribe from an Orthodox Jewish bookstore. Considered the most elevated spiritually, the priestly Cohens are given $$$–tithe. And they can’t be around death! Wanted quiet dinner for two. Made reservations at Tower Bar in the Sunset Tower Hotel. I remember what it used to look like and the renovation is good. Paul Fortune did it. The restaurant is in one of the many apartments Bugsy Siegel had all over town. Nice dark wood and lighting. There all these corny photos from the Golden Age hanging everywhere–cluttering the room. Don’t need them to invoke retro vibe. Was promised a cushy banquette w/ view of the lights of Hollywood. As always, had the most incredible and intimate birthday dinner. Came home & watched The Soup on E! and Bill Maher.
On Sat., the neighbor said her Jag was stolen from her garage. There was a note: “Yuppie scum get out of Venice!” Really creepy. Went to La Luna for dinner & was told after 16 yrs. their lease was being tripled. Larchmont’s hot. Hope we don’t lose that restaurant. Pls no more chains in Larchmont. Don’t want it to look like Disneyland or the synthetic Grove (which is a big hit) w/ that hokey train.