, ,

Recognition (Overdue Perhaps?)

I’m proud of my short, aborted Hollywood career.  I don’t want to brag but I made a little money back then, you know, it was cool.   Added up it was probably like $1000 in earnings, but we’re talking 1981 dollars; and, adjusted for inflation I’d probably be sittin’ pretty if it was now!  In my day I got to rub elbows with luminaries like Michael Hershewe, who parlayed a guest starring performance on a Charlie’s Angels episode in 1980 into a starring role playing a kid named Todd on a sitcom called “American Dream” that was cancelled after 4 episodes.  But I simply knew him as Mike from 8th Grade cooking class.

Read more

,

Going Seattle

How long does it take someone to truly absorb their adopted home?  A few months, several years, perhaps immediately?  It’s easy to move to a place you like, to know you’ll eventually bond to it; so what is with that weird period of denial, of having to get used to?  Maybe it’s missing the old place, and maybe that’s true for some, but in my case it was just good old healthy cynicism.

Read more

, ,

The Ultimate Event

When I moved to New York I put everything I could fit in a blue trunk.  Naturally that meant my car, an old Oldsmobile beater, couldn’t go; I left it with my mom back in Miami Beach.  This is why, during my one month break from college (Pratt Institute puckishly called it ‘Winterim’) a year and half later mom offered to drop me off in front of the Miami Arena for a show.

My last 18 months in college, being in art school, and in New York; I strove to carve out an identity.  This path led me through the “good old days,” the Fifties and early Sixties and a stack of cassette tapes featuring Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra (I, like most discerning listeners, favored the Capitol Years).  I played them in my dorm as an ironic counterpart to the whining sounds of The Smiths emanating from my roomie’s boombox.  It was “Louder than Bombs” vs. “A Swingin’ Affair.”  But my interest wasn’t ironic, I was really into this.

Read more

,

Pancho’s Giveaway

Pancho’s Giveaway is a status state.  It’s a metaphorical appellation given to unwilling LA County public school students by other very willing LA County public school students.  Pancho’s has been in non-existence at least since the early 70’s; maybe even longer than that.

It’s supposed to be a real place, but as far as anyone has known it has never actually existed.  Some kids claimed to have even been there, but they were lying.  Even today if anyone ever tells you they’ve been there or tries to tell you how to get there, well, they’re lying too.

Read more

,

Year-Round School

Around February of 1981 there were some weird rumors flying around LeConte Junior High School.  The rumors had one idea in common; that the LA Unified School District (LAUSD) was doing something with the school schedule.  Stories ranged from the optimists’ “They’re adding onto summer vacation!” to the pessimists’ “They’re getting rid of summer; we’ll have to be here all year!”  Since this was Hollywood of the early Eighties, even among the 7th, 8th and 9th Graders, the pessimists easily outnumbered the optimists, probably about 10 to 1.

Read more

,

Innovative Audio

I was just minding my own business at work one busy night in the late summer of 1993; renting New Release VHS tapes to the weekend hordes of customers at my video store, Screen Memory. Well, it wasn’t mine exactly, the place was owned by the rarely seen, enigmatic and Horta-like owner Maureen. But I was the shift supervisor most evenings and that night I was standing at the counter, with video clerks Cynthia to my left and Beau to my right. Read more

,

Savannah

The road to Savannah, Georgia from Atlanta is a long one, laid out like a bent outstretched arm with Macon serving as the elbow.  While chewing up miles on that long drive on the highway one can’t help but wonder why the state of Georgia didn’t simply use the direct path that General Sherman and his 70,000 troops so generously provided back in 1864.

They removed obstacles like railroad tracks and buildings, even helpfully leveling whole towns that lie in the path of the army.  When Sherman got to Savannah itself, however, he was so impressed by the town’s beauty that he ordered the place to be largely left alone.  And Savannah has been mostly left alone by developers and the modernizing tendencies of succeeding generations ever since.

Read more

,

Nonny’s House

When you’re ten years old you go where you’re told. You report for duty to places not of your choosing. Sure, you can have a little positive input, “C’mon Dad can we can we can we?!” But the rule of thumb is to keep negative feedback to yourself; at least it was like that for me.

There may not have been a lot of choice, but that was usually OK, you didn’t have to plan, or buy gas, or take time off from work or rearrange things in your schedule. Just grab a few things (some fortunate days it was my Big Wheel) and get in the car with the big people and go.   Time moves so slowly for a kid who has no decision-making worries that he just deals with it and truly lives in the moment.

Read more

, , ,

You’re Welcome, Gerald

It takes the efforts of not only the famous, but also those of the not-so-famous to make the Hollywood machine really work.  The annals of filmdom are filled with many moments that today are unheralded, but at the time of production were vital to add coherence to the whole, whether it was a movie or a TV show.  Finding and closely analyzing these moments can even lead to a deeper understanding of the careers of those involved.  One such moment occurs at 17 minutes 10 seconds into episode two, season one, of the CBS series “Simon & Simon.”

Read more

,

3 Days in October

My brother Luis and his friend Jerry decided to go on a camping trip in late 1997.  Luis had been camping several times and could be considered somewhat experienced, especially among the non-hardcore outdoorsy types (and especially for a New Yorker).  He and Jerry planned it all through September leading up to October.  I wouldn’t have really remembered or cared about all this except for the fact that Luis really wanted me to go with them. Read more