Thursday, July 09, 2009

YOU'RE ONLY AS GOOD AS YOUR LAST FUNERAL

Good grief, can I not leave you people alone for FIVE BLOODY MINUTES without having everything go straight to Hell in a Birkin?



There I was, undergoing some much needed therapy at the Musso and Frank Spa -



- located in the heart of Hollywood, when I received a frantic call from my desert paradise home. It was my houseboy Panton-



-who, bless his well developed abs, was barely able to sputter into the telephone “The King is no more! The King is no more!!” before collapsing into great whacking sobs and abruptly hanging up.

Now granted, Panton’s mastery of the English language is rivaled in its ineptitude only by that of noted classical guitarist Charo-



- but given the fact that he has been instructed never to interrupt me during one of my deep cleansing vodka treatments-



- especially not the ones administered by my qualified “spiritual masseur” Manny The Bartender-



- I knew THIS was an emergency.

And sure enough, after a phone call to an old friend of mine on the Los Angeles Police Department – the rather aptly named Officer Wang -



- a very well-armed young man whom I met several years ago whilst suffering the after-effects of a sudden rear-ending on La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood – it was determined that yes, indeed, the unthinkable had happened. It was the end of an era. .

It seemed impossible to believe, but there it was, in black and white.



Christian Lacroix had gone bankrupt.

For the fashion illiterate amongst my readership – not to be judgmental, but with the size of my audience, it is safe to assume that there are a few dear souls out there for whom Old Navy is le ne plus ultra – M. Lacroix was simply a visionary. He instinctively knew what women wanted – which is to say, he knew what women thought men wanted them to look like.

Prostitutes.



And not the expensive kind, either…

As the first fashion designer of the late 20th century to ignore the rigid boundaries of taste, style or elegance, he somehow managed to convince an entire segment of, to be charitable, “evolutionarily-challenged” women that the only thing standing between them and the highest peaks of beauty and glamour was an inflatable spandex puffy dress and four hundred pounds of sequins.



This is the ultimate reason for fashion to exist, of course.

It enables the hideous first wives of Arab Oil Sheiks and International Sports Stars to - upon discovering that their wealthy husbands have been cheating on them with any number of models, actresses or recently Russian-abducted “white slaves” - blackmail same into spending several hundred thousand euros on designer clothing which they will wear once and then discard like so much used facial wax.



It is, finally, the only thing that separates us from the animals.



But even though Lacroix has folded his paisley and mylar tents and vanished from the world fashion stage for now, I suspect we will see him surface again sometime soon, like the Designer of the Living Dead, selling cheap knockoffs of his original designs on the Home Shopping Channel. I predict he will make millions, because to misquote Mr. Barnum, nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public, and if what I’ve seen being worn on the streets lately is any indication, the women in this country don’t just want to “look” like hookers – they want to BE hookers.



This was brought clearly into focus for me the other evening while watching Sam Raimi’s film “DRAG ME TO HELL”, billed as the director’s “return to horror”.



I had unfortunately missed the private screening at the Director’s Guild of America and was forced to attend a public show at the local Cinemark “second run” theater.



I expected problems, of course; paying $2.00 to see a movie certainly doesn’t come without its tortures. But while the film has its scary moments to be sure, nothing onscreen matched the terrors I encountered in the theater audience.

Besides the constant and mindless chatter DURING THE FILM – apparently these Neanderthals were so dulled by the various drugs their parents must have scarfed down during the 80’s, they had no idea that they were actually IN a theater and not at home slumped across their imitation leather couches beneath the neon Budweiser signs and framed posters of Al Pacino as “Scarface” in their living rooms – I have not heard so much noisy chewing, slurping and swallowing since I spent a somewhat scandalous evening at a rather louche sex club in Berlin several years back.



(Strictly research, of course darlings.)

But all of this paled in comparison to the behavior of the two zaftig young women, who had barely squeezed into ill-fitting halter tops, shorts and – by extension – the theater seats directly in front of me.



Beyond their incessant talking, using the sort of dialogue normally reserved for an episode of “The Jerry Springer Show” (who knew that “respect” was such an issue for the lower classes?), and the continuous tossing of the hair extensions they wore which were so long past their "due dates" they had the consistency of raw wheat, I was utterly astonished to watch this pair of escapees from the spires of Notre Dame proceed to use their cellular phones NON-STOP during the film!

As if the bright light from their iPhones wasn’t enough of a distraction (and as a gentleman, one doesn’t want to venture as to exactly how many trips to the local truck stop were required for these two dolts to afford the things in the first place…), the constant “tap tap” of their “Lee Press-Ons” across the keyboard was enough to drive even the sanest among us to pull the loose armrest from our seat and beat the little darlings to death with it.

But as a civilized fellow, I simply leaned forward and politely enquired: “Pardon me, but will you be texting during the entire film?”

The one on the left turned to me as if I’d just shot her dog.

“What did you say? What?”

Startled by this somewhat aggressive reply – one expects an “I’m sorry”, perhaps, or an “I beg your pardon?” – I tried to continue.

“Well, it’s rather distracting and I was hoping to be able to watch the film…”

The one on the right cut me off.

“What if it’s an important call, huh? Maybe it’s an emergency?”

“Well,” I replied, “perhaps you should take your phone out to the lobby. I’m sure your friend at the other end of the line would prefer to speak with you in person about whatever has gone horribly wrong with her manicure.”

They turned back to the movie, and their texting. Miss Right murmured: “It’s not bothering anybody.”

But I wasn’t giving in. These were the kinds of girls whose mothers had obviously told them, between swigs of their Thunderbird wine coolers, "don't you take no shit from The Man!" And I was obviously "The Man" in question.

“Well, actually darling, it’s bothering me. Now please, if it’s not too much trouble—“

Finally, they both turned to me, flashing the kind of look they probably reserved for their parole officer when he insists they leave their guns in the car.

“We paid to be here!”

I pulled four dollars from my pocket and presented it to them.

“Here’s your money back. Perhaps you could spend it on etiquette lessons?”

At which point they both snorted – something they had clearly been raised to do – got up and stormed out of the theater. The patrons around me applauded and we settled down to watch the remainder of the film.

And then the Usher arrived. A squeaky little fellow with more flashlight than nerve, he sidled up to my seat, kneeled down and said:

“Sir, I’ve just had two young women say that you assaulted them, the manager would like to speak with you.”

Fortunately, the half dozen or so people around me who had witnessed the entire thing spoke up, told him what had happened, and said they would gladly speak to the Manager themselves. The Usher left, we all returned to the movie and that was the last we heard of it.

Of course I kept my eyes open on the walk to the car afterwards; those rat-tail combs can put your eye out.

But as I considered the situation later, while Panton poured me a much needed, nerve-calming martini, I realized that perhaps I’d been a bit hard on those poor creatures. They were, after all, probably still reeling from the death of that Pop Singer, the one with the Glittery White Glove and the Comeback Tour That Never Was.



I hardly need mention his name, and at this point I certainly have nothing to add to the endless commentary elsewhere in the world media, other than to suggest that with the recent spate of celebrity deaths – The Blonde Hairdo Icon, The Guffawing Sidekick, The Faux Martial Arts Master, The Soap Salesman – we’ve also seen a “Perfect Storm” of the ultimate PR Event.



While each of these deaths is tragic in and of itself, taken all together they have become a sort of endless Black Carpet walk of B and C list celebrities -



- each of whom have somehow managed, through their grief, to stop in front of a large poster “honoring” the deceased long enough to promote their latest album/movie/business venture.



I suspect, dear reader, we shall be seeing an endless photo-montage of black suits and dresses for the rest of the foreseeable Hollywood “future” – ie: six months - as every magazine on earth runs their very own “In Memoriam” issue, guaranteed to sell out.



Not to say that we here at 801 haven’t been touched by tragedy as well, but we mourn the old fashioned way – in private and with photographic evidence. Recently, I visited the nearby grave of The Chairman of the Board on the anniversary of his passing on to his eternal appearance at that great “Sands” hotel in the sky.



With only the groundskeeper as company, I placed my traditional shotglass full of Jack Daniels and single orange rose (FS’ favorite color) on the grave -



- and, although filled with grief and sorrow at the loss of a great talent, I still managed to smile for the camera.



Like Corey Feldman, I too understand that it is, after all, “SHOW”-business.



But things aren’t all doom and gloom around these parts. In fact, my terribly handsome BF and I were delighted to attend The Sister’s latest wedding here in our desert paradise and I can safely report that from all indications this third marriage of hers looks as though it may in fact stick.



Certainly this newest Husband, My "Brother-in-Lawlessness" as it were, may have bitten off more than he can chew by joining the Circus of Horrors we call “family” - his “bachelor party” consisted of myself and fellow lush Mr. Glaser barhopping the poor fellow all the way across the Coachella Valley to get him fitted with an appropriate linen suit for his nuptials -


- but I can’t fault his taste in film.



Unlike his blushing bride or my beloved Boyfriend -



- neither of whom share our passion for old, obscure crime pictures - "Hatsy" Bramble joined me at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival - of his own free will, no less! -where we submerged ourselves in three solid days of margaritas, Jack Daniels and the kind of rain-soaked, back-stabbing, double-crossing, murderous-dame-starring movies that Hollywood seems to have forgotten how to make.

The hit of the festival for us, other than my getting a chance to chat with organizer and film noir guru Alan K. Rode -



- was definitely INSIDE JOB -



- a remarkable little “lost” film with the kind of plot which clods like yours truly wouldn’t dare ruin by trying to explain. It was the perfect complement to start our summer “off-season” here in the desert, that marvelous time of year when all of the out-of-town “riff raff” have fled for cooler pastures, leaving only the true desert denizens to soak up the 115 degree temps.



One must be careful, of course, to take the heat in measured doses, chased with a carefully constructed Belvedere martini every day at 5 30 pm.



Failure to follow these rules could be fatal and while I may be an Emmy nominee, whose every public appearance is breathlessly written about in the local press -



- I doubt that my demise would attract quite the same attention as the late King of Pop.

I can think of two nasty girls for whom it would be a dream come true, however. They’re likely sitting in a darkened movie theater somewhere, texting each other about it right now.