Thursday, September 18, 2014

Michael Douglas explains mainstream Hollywood ideals of male/female body images for you.

From GUARDIAN interview of Michael Douglas, plugging upcoming film THE REACH:
[Actor Jeremy]Irvine spends most of the film topless. He went from playing a malnourished prisoner of war in The Railway Man to this. He was asked to put on 20lb of muscle …
We worked him over pretty good about it: “You’ve gotta be a hunk!”
Is there a double standard here? He had to buff up but it might be seen as sexist for a women to be asked to slim down. Should actors have to be eye candy?
It’s not acceptable for women to be eye candy?! If your role in that picture is to be eye candy and the director looks at you and says: “You’re going to be in your bra and panties and you’re looking pretty soft around the middle.” Absolutely you’d tell that person to kick ass. This guy is search and rescue. He’s a mountaineer. He’s in physical shape. Ignoring the fact that he happens to be a decent-looking guy, it would be wrong for him not to be in shape. If you wanted Seth Rogen running through the desert (6), that’s a different movie.

Link to the complete article:

Re festival-related poetry bookings: this is where I came in.

Eleven years ago, I dared to be impolitic and mention how a poetry reading linked to a certain festival  in a certain part of Los Angeles was too loaded with friends of the curator.

I was criticized for that--and made the cliche "getting hot under the collar" mistake of responding in a not-nice manner.

Eleven years later, there will be an upcoming poetry reading linked to another festival in a different part of Los Angeles with what seems to be a circle of friends set to feature (though one talented male poet is making a rare recent appearance--and, for a change, an up-and-coming male poet gets to be part of the occasion).  Ironic to point out that two of the features that day are apparently poets that Los Angeles can't get enough of--particularly since they are on a bill this Sunday with a former poet/comedienne who has successfully reinvented herself as a memoirist.

Actually, I'm resigned to not participating in these soirees except as an open-mic reader if I were to attend.

But it bears repeating that certain sectors of our local community don't care a bit to analyze the meaning and implications of the word "overexposure."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

New poem: GALVESTON 1966

everything's big when you're small:
the Jack Tar Motor Hotel restaurant
with the window view onto the swimming pool
Stewart Beach where my grandfather
and I took a rented float
out onto the waves
and I swallowed salt water
for the first time
and spit it out fast
the apocalyptic argument
my older brother had
with everyone else in the car
because he was forced to vacation
with the rest of the family
at the age of sixteen
instead of seeing his girlfriend back home
and, on the beach,
my dad pointed to
the pillbox installed
to protect the island
during World War II

all over the outside
of the pillbox
one could see
the words SENIORS 67
and GHS
spray-painted in red and black

Friday, September 5, 2014

Quentin Tarantino and the changes coming to L.A.'s New Beverly Cinema.

After years of holding the lease on the building in which Los Angeles' revival theater New Beverly CInema resides (and having some say over recent programming--including a long run of DJANGO UNCHAINED upon its original release), Quentin Tarantino has gained full control of the theater--removing Michael Torgan (son of the late Sherman Torgan, who ran the theater from the 70s until his death in 2007) from film scheduling--plus removing the digital projection system installed last spring.

Here's a link to an interview Tarantino gave to LA WEEKLY:

Michael Torgan's response from the comments section of LA WEEKLY: An important clarification to this article: like most business owners, my family did not own the physical property from which we ran our business.  We leased it since 1978, so we did not literally own the physical theater.  However, we did own the business known as the New Beverly Cinema 100%.  In addition to being the manager/chief programmer, I was also the owner of the business entirely.  This point has often been misunderstood, so I felt a need to make this statement even if I chose not to be interviewed for this piece.

Chris Willman's response to Torgan:
Does "did own" mean Tarantino has finally purchased the business from you? That doesn't seem clear. Thanks, Michael.

Article sympathetic to Michael Torgan from the website LAist:

And there's the possibility of Quentin Tarantino expanding his revival-house empire with an interest in purchasing the currently-closed Rialto Theatre in South Pasadena CA:

UPDATE: The following comments originally appeared on September 7th after a article about Tarantino and the New Beverly:
David: Kudos to Tarantino! As a former ‘real’ film studio projectionist, I lost my job due to digital conversion. There is nothing like being surrounded by film cans! For years when going to a theater to see a movie, I couldn’t help but watch for the reel change mark in the upper right corner of the screen. Now those too have disappeared. I will indeed be by to watch real movies at the Beverly Cinema.

Michael Torgan: David, just a clarification: the New Beverly Cinema may have added a digital projector to supplement its programming, but it by no means went through a digital conversion. We screened over 360 35mm film prints a year via reel to reel change-over projection, and that wasn’t going to change just because I simply added a digital projector to the booth. It’s a revival theater, after all, and 35mm would have ALWAYS remained the preferred format. I had 5 projectionists on staff, and no one was losing a job over the digital projector. We’ve been screening “real” movies at the Beverly Cinema for 36 years.

Here's the link to the article:

Friday, August 29, 2014


the minister's sermon
on the parable of the Prodigal Son
was meant to create a force field
to hold back young parishoners
from a future of long haired rebellion
yea, the minister preached,
the brothers and sisters
standing in hallways
shouting at parents
(who shouted back)
telling them about
wanting so much
to be in control
control over
eating drinking smoking
believing in God
going to college
going to war
leaving hometown
for another country
if necessary
they are prodigal
they are wrong
and one day they will come home
beg for forgiveness
from God and man
get a haircut
wear sensible clothes
find a good job
I sat through the sermon
at the age of ten
wanting the church service
to end soon
so we could go to the drugstore
all through the closing hymn,
I thought of buying a small Coke
from the vending machine
near the candy counter

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The cruelty of anonymous website creators: from poets to Showbiz insiders.

Whatever one thinks of the outspoken columnist Nikki Finke--who had a print career and transitioned to the DEADLINE website, which launched a seismic shift of Industry trade papers VARIETY and THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER from daily newsstand editions to online--she doesn't deserve this kind of treatment:

Anonymity used for the purpose of shutting up voices one doesn't want to hear isn't heroic or courageous--it's more cowardly and small than the person(s) being attacked.