The Millennium Hollywood Project’s Upcoming Hearing

May 31, 2013 § 1 Comment

Artist's Rendering of the Millennium Hollywood Project/Courtesy LA Times

Artist’s Rendering of the Millennium Hollywood Project/Courtesy LA Times

A public meeting will be June 4th at 2:30 p.m. at City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., L.A., 90012, in Room 350. All are welcome to attend.

More info.: http://www.stopthemillenniumhollywood.org

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Discovering the Greek Hero in “Blade Runner”

May 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

Time to Die: Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty in “Blade Runner”/Courtesy Warner Bros.

A version of this article appears–along with new, unpublished essays–in my new eBook, “On Blade Runner: Four Essays.” It can be purchased for $4.99 at:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/BLADE-RUNNER–FOUR-ESSAYS?keyword=BLADE+RUNNER%3A+FOUR+ESSAYS&store=ebook

Other eBook sellers that have it include Amazon, Kobo, Baker and Taylor, Copia, ebookpie and Scribed.

Related article:
https://underthehollywoodsign.wordpress.com/2010/04/18/blade-runner-nearly-three-decades-later-how-a-masterpiece-of-production-design-left-its-mark-on-los-angeles/

The Importance of Julie Delpy

May 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

Julie Delpy

Julie Delpy

Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine article on Julie Delpy reminded me of a conversation I had years ago with a friend who worked in the film industry (and still does). This was in the mid-nineties, when Delpy was studying film at NYU, a choice that impressed me. “Ugh, I can’t stand her,” he said. Because my friend was a man who loved women in general and actresses in particular, his opinion–and his inability to explain it–puzzled me. Who wouldn’t love Julie Delpy? I should have been clued in by his gushing enthusiasm for Renee Zellweger, whom he had recently met at a film festival and whose squinty charms were lost on me. If ever there was an anti-Zellweger, it’s Julie Delpy.

Flash forward to last January, when Delpy, now a director as well as an actress, appeared at a Q &A at the Aero in conjunction with a screening of two of her films (“Two Days in New York,” and “Two Days in Paris.”) Having never seen her live, I was struck by how different she was from most actresses I’ve encountered. Part of it was physical: unlike the size-0-with-breast-implants standard type, she was a normal sized woman, complete with hips and a few extra pounds. She also hadn’t made any special effort to dress or make up for the appearance, coming onstage in jeans and a sweater, like most of the audience. But more striking than her appearance was her attitude, which though engaging was utterly free of ingratiation. She was, in a word, herself: funny, opinionated, idiosyncratic and completely lacking in Hollywood pretense. I’ve met a variety of actors over the years, and (with the notable exception of Henry Winkler, surely the nicest and most unpretentious famous man in town), they radiate an odd self-consciousness, as if they’re perpetually watching themselves instead of simply being. That night, Delpy was not only comfortable simply being but–as she told stories about being fired by every agency in town and turned down by Vanity Fair’s Oscar Party for not being a big enough star–clearly unconcerned about others’ perceptions of her.

While there are a few actresses who seem indifferent to public adoration–Jennifer Jason Leigh and Debra Winger come to mind–Julie Delpy is another sort. She’s not aloof or implosive or defiant; she’s simply free of whatever impulse makes most other actresses mold themselves to industry specifications. In the Times Magazine article, she says:

In movies, you mostly see people who make an effort….Am I going to spend two hours at the gym? I can’t do it; it’s excruciatingly boring. I feel like I’m losing time.

In the time she hasn’t lost, Delpy has written and directed five films. Her new movie is one she co-wrote as well as acts in: “Before Midnight,” the third installment of the romantic series she’s made with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater. Upcoming are two French movies she’ll direct, and two American projects. Yet despite being based in Los Angeles, she still can’t get financing here; instead, she cobbles the money from French companies and various investors, in true indie style. Perhaps if she were more of a player–or male–she’d get studio financing. But then she wouldn’t be herself, which makes the matter moot.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/magazine/julie-delpy-dreams-of-being-joe-pesci.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Patrolled By Coyote

May 15, 2013 § 3 Comments

Hollywoodland Coyote, 5/8/13/Hope Anderson Productions

Hollywoodland Coyote, 5/8/13/Hope Anderson Productions


Recently I was driving through Hancock Park, my former neighborhood, when I noticed a house with a sign reading “Armed Guard on Premises.” Although break-ins are common there–I was a victim twice–this seemed an extreme measure, so I asked my niece who lives nearby about it. “They just say that,” she said. “There’s no armed guard.”

Now I live in Hollywoodland, where a steady stream of tourists headed for the Hollywood Sign passes my house each day and coyotes patrol by night. Actually, coyotes patrol by day as well, as these photos, taken on a recent midday–attest. This is the big-eared coyote that appeared in a post a few months ago, and these days I see it often. At night, I often hear coyotes hunting vermin on the hillside above my house, a circle-of-life function that goes naturally with nocturnal lurking.

2013-05-08 11.28.30

Peter the Hermit, Style Maven

May 8, 2013 § Leave a comment

Thareen Auroraa and Peter the Hermit, 1950s/Courtesy Stewart Edward Allen

Thareen Auroraa and Peter the Hermit, 1950s/Courtesy Stewart Edward Allen

From Stewart Edward Allen comes this wonderful photo of his grandmother Thareen with Peter the Hermit. Though Peter often wore robes to work–both as a Hollywood Boulevard impersonator and an extra in biblical movies–here he shows a keen sense of style, one that would not look out of place today.

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