Exploring the Depressing House of Michael Jackson’s Disgraced Dermatologist
Having visited a handful of them (and never, mind you, under positive circumstances), I can confidently state that the homes of Hollywood’s countless hangers-on are all the same. The following ratio, seemingly without exception, dictates the dispersion of their possessions: 60% sun-bleached photos of them with former celebrities, usually dating from the 1980s and 1990s; 10% formerly modern furniture, usually dating from the 1980s and 1990s; 10% formerly modern art, usually created by equally sycophantic succubi like Andy Warhol and David LaChapelle in the 1980s and 1990s; and 20% what can kindly be described as “complete and utter fucking garbage,” usually acquired in the late 1990s (what I like to call the “wild card.”)
The wares currently being peddled at the bankruptcy-forced estate sale of Dr. Arnold Klein, much-maligned former dermatologist to the stars, are no exception to this rule.
In happier times, Liz Taylor, Cher, Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga and, rather infamously, Michael Jackson were regulars at his Beverly Hills practice; a solid decade of lawsuits, criminal investigations, and embarrassing press appearances, however, have irreparably tarnished the legacy of the man once hailed as the “Father of Botox.” Miscellaneous effects from the estate of the good bad doctor, infamous enough to have his own “Saga” page on TMZ’s website, are shamelessly being hawked in his seized Hancock Park mansion through Saturday.
In order to enter the house, which is currently in shambles and in escrow (its listing describes it as a “rare yet tarnished treasure”), I had to sign a waiver. The company putting on the sale (probably rightfully) feared I’d fall into a gaping, construction-related hole and decide to get litigious. I understand their desire to cover their own asses; those unfortunate enough to still be affiliated with Klein already have enough problems.
How to Structure Your Life: A Review of Corey Feldman’s Biography, ‘Coreyography’
I think I can learn a lot from Corey Feldman’s autobiography, Coreyography. He was a child star in the 80s who was pushed into acting by his parents. His mother was a former Playboy bunny at one of the clubs, and his father was a struggling musician. Once Corey started booking commercials at age three, he became the family’s breadwinner; with that came a host of unfair responsibilities for the young Corey, which seems to have warped his perspective on his place in the world and his relationship to filmmaking; it must be hard to shake that feeling importance. He was, like all child actors, working in a professional environment filled with and designed for adults—having to play child characters but performing a job that required the stamina and perspective of the adults who worked alongside him.
Because he was the major earner for his family, the pressure for him to continue working was extraordinarly—abusively—high: he was beaten with belts and wooden dowels if he didn’t perform well in school (bad grades would prevent him from getting a work permit), if he ate too much (his mom had an obsession with his weight), or if he didn’t book jobs or had problems on the set. As a child, Corey was in some of the most important movies of the 80s, Stand by Me,The Goonies, The Lost Boys (the first of the contemporary teenage vampire projects—decades before Twilight). And he was part of the pop phenomenon “the Two Coreys,” alongside Corey Haim, and was a close friend to Michael Jackson; Corey was at the center of most of the popular youth projects and events of the era. By tracking his story, one gets to a peak behind the scenes of many of the projects that shaped the culture of my generation.
Richard Kern on Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s ‘Hustlers’
To find subjects for his series Hustlers, Philip-Lorca diCorcia drove around Hollywood between 1990 and 1992 looking for male prostitutes. Although many of the photos look perfectly timed, off-the-hip candid photos of street hustlers, diCorcia pre-selected the locations and did lighting tests with an assistant before searching for a subject to put in each setting.
DiCorcia approached his subjects in LA’s “Boystown,” an area of West Hollywood where, in the 80s and 90s, a small fee would buy time with available young rent boys found hanging out on Santa Monica Boulevard. Instead of paying them for sex, he paid them to pose for a photo. The men he found came to LA from all OVER the country for a glamorous new life that they believed could be found in Hollywood. The titles of the photos included the subject’s name, age, hometown and the fee exchanged.
In this special episode ofSlutever, VICE’s sexpert Karley Sciortino moves to Los Angeles with hopes of becoming famous, just like her idol, Anna Nicole Smith. Things take a random turn when she meets Irving Zisman at a tantric-sex cult meeting. Is love blind? Will Irving be the one to help her find fame once and for all?!
Made possible by jackass Productions and Bad Grandpa, in theaters tomorrow.
Universal Studios Canceled Their Homophobic/Racist/Terrible Bill & Ted Show
Today, Universal Studios Hollywood announced that they are canceling their homophobic, racist, and terrible show Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.
Last week, I wrote about how the show features a plot in which Superman is sprinkled with fairy dust and turns gay. As a result of becoming a homosexual, Superman becomes a mincing, lisping girly-boy who is no longer able to fight crime and makes numerous attempts to molest other men. The implication being that this is what being gay does to a person. Lots of people said that calling this “homophobic” was PC or overly sensitive, or claimed that the Gay Superman character was a satire of something (though what it was a satire of was never specified). Those people are idiots.
The story was picked up by other media outlets, and on Monday Universal Studios released this statement saying they were going to “review and refine the show’s content.”
Then, in what seems like a massive overreaction, rather than sticking to their guns or simply cutting out the homophobic and racist parts, today Universal Studios posted a message to their Halloween Horror Nights site announcing that the show is canceled altogether. It reads:
"After thoughtful consideration, Universal Studios Hollywood has made the decision to discontinue production of the Halloween Horror Nights’ ‘Bill & Ted’ show for the remainder of its limited run."
Today I got an angry email from some kind of Universal Studios superfan that told me that the cancelation of the show will result in the cast and crew losing their jobs for the remainder of the Halloween season. ”Just wanted you to know, you’re a sack of shit,” is how the guy signed off. I don’t know if that’s true, but I never wanted to cause people to lose their jobs when I wrote that original article—I just wanted to, you know, maybe get them to be less viciously homophobic. If there were mass firings over this, it seems like a very, very extreme reaction from Universal Studios.
The Bill and Ted Show at Universal Studios Is Super Homophobic (and Also Racist and Terrible)
Each year, Universal Studios Hollywood has a big Halloween event called Halloween Horror Nights. Part of this is a play called Bill and Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure.
The play is about Bill and Ted going on some kind of pantomime-y Halloween adventure. Along the way, lots of jokes are made about things that have happened in pop culture over the preceding year.
I use the term “jokes” loosely here. As they are, generally, terrible, and follow the same formula: Pop cultural reference + pop cultural reference + a reference to sex = LOL!
For instance, there’s a scene where a Sharknado appears and Kim Jong Un comes on to the stage to explain that the Sharknado came into existence as a result of Kristen Stewart sucking his dick too hard. After he said this, the audience laughed. Unless I’m missing something, this is meant to be funny because:
1) It references Kristen Stewart 2) It references Kim Jong Un 3) It references sex 4) It references Sharknado
I Thought a Birthday Party in a Sex Shop Would Be More Fun
Last week I was asked to cover Glory Hole 2013, the 42nd birthday party for Hollywood’s famous sex shop, The Pleasure Chest.
Like most people, I like sex and I like parties. This sounded great.
My photographer Nate and I were greeted with this sign, letting us know that “Sex Is Back”! I’m not sure where it went, certainly not my apartment, but it’s back.
We walked to the bar for a drink as I listened to guests make boring small talk that sounded like the pedestrian dialogue in Grand Theft Auto 5.
There was very little talk about sex or the store or anything related to the event or any substance at all. Instead people talked about what people in Los Angeles usually talk about: Themselves. Their careers. Their agents. Their significant others. The weather. It felt pretty much like any shallow Hollywood tradeshow/party, complete with gourmet food trucks and twinkle lights but with the added element of a sex store.
The Anna Nicole Smith Opera Is a Piece of Terrible Garbage
The New York City Opera has been around for 70 years, but it’s currently in some dire financial straits. If the opera doesn’t raise $7 million dollars by the end of the month it won’t be able to present three scheduled productions: Endimione, Bluebeards’s Castle, orThe Marriage of Figaro. Considering there’s only got four days to go, and the Kickstarter is clocking in at $126,078, it’s doubtful this will happen. Regardless of your feelings on ladies in Viking helmets, it’s ostensibly important to hold on to cultural institutions like this, and you should probably support them so that rich old people can keep seeing Tristan und Isolde—do that right here.
Point is, the opera is broke, and if the board of directors knows one thing, it’s that the gays of New York are the only demographic that can pull them from the flames. With that in mind, the New York City Opera has taken dead aim on us by running a biographical opera of Anna Nicole Smith, unimaginatively named Anna Nicole.
For a bit of personal context, I’m gay, and Anna was as constant in my young life as the homeless lady in the alley behind my family’s puppy store—she was always fucking there. I grew up in Florida, and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino where Anna overdosed was just a quick drive from my mom’s house. I found out about her death from my prep school music teacher, while I was stage managing my school’s production of Cats—roll with it, I was a theater kid. She stopped rehearsals, stood up, and screamed, “Anna Nicole is dead!” We all knew our lives were changed forever. Anna’s body was interned at a medical examiner’s office near my grocery store, making it impossible to buy milk without getting stuck in the traffic caused by a thousand news network vans. It was fantastic!
It’s safe to say that F. Scott Fitzgerald had a poor relationship with Hollywood. He had three periods of steady work with the studios: in 1927, at the height of his fame; in 1931, when he was in need of money for treatment for Zelda; and in 1937, when he was on contract with MGM making a paltry $1,000 a week. All of these Hollywood sojourns ended in frustration for both Fitzgerald and the studios.
Fitzgerald spent the last year and a half of his life in Los Angeles. At that point, his only steady income was from the piecemeal sale of the Pat Hobby Stories to Esquire. The Pat Hobby Stories are the collected tales of a desperate hack scriptwriter who shuffles around the studios of Hollywood scrambling for work to pay for his drinking. Fitzgerald died at the age of 44 from a series of heart attacks before he could effectively organize the stories into a single work for Scribner. It wasn’t until 20 years after his death that the Pat Hobby Storieswere collected into a single volume,
The Pat Hobby Stories are Fitzgerald’s final testament on Hollywood. In a twisted way, they are also his last nightmarish take on his own place as a great writer brought down by circumstance. Bruce L. Chipman pointed out in his book on Hollywood novels called Into America’s Dream-Dump that the Pat Hobby character is probably “the frightening image of what Fitzgerald saw himself becoming.” Like Fitzgerald at the end of his life, Pat is dependent on intermittent Hollywood jobs to make ends meet. But although Fitzgerald had suffered from debt and demoralization, he was nowhere near the depraved and irredeemable state that Pat Hobby has succumbed to. So Pat Hobby is not an autobiographical figure as much as an ironic clown that allowed Fitzgerald to write about his plight as a writer who was writing to live, rather than as a author who was living to write. The distinction between the two is made clear to an east coast novelist by Pat Hobby in the story “Mightier than the Sword.”