I Went to the Playboy Mansion (and It Was Kinda Depressing)
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the Playboy mansion for a screening of that new Jennifer Lopez/Jason Statham movie, Parker. I don’t usually go to press screenings because it’s much easier to download the movie and watch it at home and not have to talk to other people, but I’d literally wanted to visit the Playboy mansion ever since I’d found out it was an option for me several seconds earlier. So I HAD to go.
Before the screening there was a reception featuring drinks and “photo opportunities” with some Playboy Playmates™® in the mansion’s main entry hall.
Hugh was supposed to be in attendance too, but he was sick. So we had to make do with this thing.
The screening was held in the drawing room. Here’s an exclusive sneak preview of it. This is from a scene where (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) Jason Statham hits someone with something.
Right after I took this picture, I whispered something to the girl sitting next to me and a guy wearing a suit with Converse shoes came over and told me off for being too loud. A suit with Converses is my least favorite look ever. Do you have any idea how humiliating it is to be yelled at by someone wearing an outfit that was last acceptable on Tom Green at the 2003 Nickleodeon Kid’s Choice Awards? Horrifying.
I needed to get out of there, so I decided to “get lost” while trying to find the bathroom, and see how long I could wander around the mansion before someone made me go back to the movie.
The first thing I did was go find a bathroom to poop in. I didn’t even need to, really. But how often do you get a chance to poop in the Playboy mansion? This is what you get to see while you’re pooping there, if you were wondering.
After pooping, I started to notice how crappy everything was. Am I an idiot for thinking the mansion would be nice? I figured it would at least be a little bit fancy. That was the main reason I’d wanted to visit—I’m gay, btw. Wait, are straight people even into the women in Playboy anymore? Or did that stop in the 90s? Wait, how does Playboy still exist now that the internet exists? Who on Earth is buying the magazine? The kind of person who wears a suit with Converses, probably.
Anyway, this is less nice than my bathroom at home. I keep my air freshener in a cupboard and everything.
“Psychiatry: An Industry of Death” is a multi-million dollar museum and visitor center that the Citizens Commission on Human Rights set up in Los Angeles. CCHR is an organization cofounded by the Church of Scientology. The descision to keep their name out of CCHR’s title makes it less likely people will say “lol, shut up, Scientology” when they visit the museum.
When you enter the building signs instruct you not to take photos, and they take your bag away, so this post is gonna be picture-less. My original plan was to go in with a hidden camera and take covert photos, but I was told by our legal people that this would lead to the Church of Scientology literally suing me to death. Soz. But, if you’re interested, the museum looks like this inside.
Anyway, below are some things I learned about psychiatrists and psychologists at the museum that I totally didn’t realize before. Prepare to have your EYES OPENED.
THE DEATH OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
This is the first truth-bomb the museum unleashes on you. Did you know that Benjamin Rush (the first person to write a book on psychiatry in America) was the person who suggested they use blood-letting on George Washington, causing Washington to bleed to death?
According to the text on the exhibit, “The father of American psychology killed the father of the United States of America.” Not off to a great start there, psychology.
THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS
Under a giant photo of the exploding towers, text explains how evil psychiatrists were responsible for 9/11:
“Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group, al-Qaeda, perpetrated the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One of Bin Laden’s top aides is Egyptian psychiatrist Ayman al-Zawahiri, known as “Bin Laden’s brain.”
Wait, psychiatrists were responsible for 9/11? Why would they do such a thing?
“Within days of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, psychiatrists were predicting that as many as 30% of people affected initially by the attacks would develop ‘post traumatic stress disorder’ and demanded $3 billion in funding to deliver treatments. Antidepressant sales in New York soared immediately afterwards.”
Ohhhhhhhh, got it!
ALL OTHER TERRORISM
But it’s not just 9/11 these guys masterminded:
“Research into the engineers of terror atrocities show a dominance of psychiatric and psychological practicing and the typical tools of their trade: drugs and coercive methods.”
For instance, did you know that the Egyptian psychiatrist who was bros with bin Laden also once released a statement about the 7/7 bombings? Did you also know that there’s a psychiatrist somewhere in the Middle East who once said that suicide bombers considered their behavior to be normal? Or that the Unabomber came into contact with psychiatric professionals on SEVERAL occasions? Or that the leader of the cult that did the nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway was a psychiatrist? Or that kamikaze pilots often took amphetamines, a drug that is often prescribed BY PSYCHIATRISTS?
A Free Show on Skid Row - Sun Araw Hangs Out with the Homeless and We All Get Happy
Above: Skid Row resident musicians Gary Brown and Marlon Polk join Cameron Stallones, Alex Gray, and Rob Magill for an improvised Sun Araw set with no “Careless Whisper” cover.
Skid Row is not just a hack 80s hair band, or a fabled place of destitution. It’s an actual neighborhood in Los Angeles where real people live. Not that most of LA would know. The Skid Row community is defined by places like Lamp Community Center, an organization that provides services for mentally ill homeless people, but the community is rarely embraced or acknowledged by the city at large except for the occasional human-interest piece in the local papers. It’s because of this lack of visibility that I arranged a meeting with Lamp’s art-project coordinator, Hayk Makhmuryan, in an attempt to help organize a free show on Skid Row featuring the experimental band Sun Araw. My goal was to cheer up some of LA’s forgotten residents, at least for a day.
When I walked up to Lamp on November 6, the day of the show, two men with blues guitars sat cross-legged on the cement, tuning by ear. More than 50 people were hanging around and chatting with friends, relaxing, or staring at the sky as they waited outside. The Lamp is next door to the sole laundromat on Skid Row—the only place for thousands of residents to get their clothes cleaned that doesn’t involve a bathroom sink and a tree branch—and many of those outside were waiting for their laundry to dry.
When I arrived, Hayk told me that it had already been an especially difficult day—fights broke out, cops had been on the scene, Mercury was in retrograde, and everyone had come to the startling realization that there are actually people in this world who voted for Mitt Romney. After I dropped my bag off in a secure location, Marlon, a Lamp Fine Arts participant who opened the show, led me to his electric-piano setup, kissing ladies’ hands as he worked his way through the crowd. His music stand was holding a printout of the lyrics to 10cc’s “I’m Not in Love.”
When the members of Sun Araw showed up, Marlon was circling the coffeemaker like a shark. He wanted to get things started; normally, when he performs at other events, he’ll just sit down and play until someone tells him to stop. And that’s just what he did. His band did a sound check, and within minutes Marlon was banging on the keys and we were in the middle of an afternoon jazz freak fest. Women holding bunches of ratty plastic grocery bags peered into the windows, while about ten residents wandered in to take a seat and a young woman picked up a tambourine. She had impeccable rhythm.
I tapped the shoulder of an older guy in front of me, who told me his name was Kenneth Severan. I asked him if this was his first time at Lamp. He said that he got here four days ago—he was transferred from a hospital, where he began to miss playing piano and guitar like he used to. He went on to say that he’d worked as a roadie for a short time, and when Hayk interrupted Marlon for a second to announce that Sun Araw would go on next, Kenneth’s eyes lit up as he reached for my arm: “Oh my God! They named their band after the guy I used to work for!” That’s right, Sun Ra’s roadie was in the audience to watch Sun Araw perform on Skid Row. I don’t think you can confidently say the situation was anything other than supremely weird.
Sun Araw soon took the stage alongside Lamp resident Gary, a painter and percussionist. Frontman Cameron Stallones waited for Gary to bang on a bongo before he turned some synthesizer knobs and the two saxophonists followed his lead. As they played, a woman in the front row with a collapsible shopping cart caught my eye. We both smiled, and she mouthed the words, “Soooo good.”
In the first part of the LA episode, Eddie rolls through Tehrangeles and shops for Persian rugs that cost as much as cars, eats brain and tongue sandwiches, and tests out magical saffron ice cream before ending the night at Little Tehran’s most famed hookah spot.
In Fresh Off the Boat’s LA stop, Eddie Huang combs through the city’s crevices eating Mexican food and saffron ice cream, and barbecues with one of the most legendary lowrider clubs in town. LA never fails to bring the weird and unexpected to the table.
Let’s not bullshit ourselves, condoms flat out suck—both in one’s private life and in pornos. They’re uncomfortable boner-ruiners and girls are always trying to put holes in them to get my babies. In porn, from a fan’s perspective, it’s just not stimulating to see a plastic bag going in and out of a girl’s mouth/butthole. I understand the need for them, but I just don’t like them and I am thankful I’m married and no longer forced to use them. Recently, a law was passed in Los Angeles that is so preposterous it could send porn stars and porn industry people to jail if they don’t use condoms, dental dams, and all sorts of other forms of safe sex in their films. The law is called Measure B (or Measure Bullshit to the folks who will be pummeled by its iron fist).
Measure B, which is really just a witch hunt and a means to run pornographers out of LA County, was proposed by the well-financed AIDS Healthcare Foundation President, Michael Weinstein. The language on the ballot was so deceptive it led voters to believe it was a law to protect the performers in the porn industry. The reality is that Measure B calls for pornographers to purchase health permits and it opens their shoots up to random inspections from the Health Department to make sure they are complying with the law. This goes for everyone, even the lowly cam girls who are in the safety of their own homes doing solo shows to help put themselves through college.
Many of my friends are both up in arms and fearful of what is to come. Director Kimberly Kane, who you know from my recent episodes of Skinema and her VICE magazine feature on Zak Smith and Mandy Morbid, is now a criminal under Measure B. She was uncharacteristically speechless when I asked her for a quote about the law. She didn’t know what to say for days. She finally told me, “Technically they’ll penalize you for breaking the law even if you’re married and performing with your spouse without a condom. Everything I do now is illegal without a permit, a condom, and probably someone on set from the Heath Department making sure that everything is up to code. I don’t know what we’re going to do. They say it’s a First Amendment violation and it could be litigation for a long time. But no one knows. Everyone is very worried. Measure B basically runs us out of town on a moral stance. They say Vegas or Nevada is an option [for relocating the industry]…”
After being invited by Benjamin Millepied to a rehearsal for the L.A Dance Project’s premiere performance, Oscar-nominated director Alejandro G. Iñárritu (Biutiful (2010), Babel (2006)) was inspired to make a video-exercise that documents movement and dance in an experimental way, with a stream of consciousness narrative. The result is NARAN JA (One Act Orange Dance).
The film, produced by The Amoveo Company, was shot outside of L.A. and features excerpts of the new choreography Benjamin Millepied crafted for Moving Parts. The story takes place in a secluded, dusty space and centers around LADP dancer Julia Eichten who seems to be on an eternal search… for herself.