Sex and Power in Hollywood

In my younger days, I worked in Hollywood for a bit. Long enough to understand how the system works, and to also realize that I wasn’t going to succeed there. Consequently, to a few people in my life, I’m the go-to expert when Hollywood scandals go mainstream. And thus, I attempt to explain how the ongoing Harvey Weinstein-Kevin Spacey-James Toback sexual harassment story came to be. Why working in Hollywood is so different from working in other industries.

First of all, Hollywood is not a meritocracy. While there are many talented actors, writers, and directors working in the entertainment industry, there are many more talented people who fail.

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Sports fandom etiquette

With baseball playoffs in full swing, it feels like a good time to address the behavior of sports fans. Here are a few rules that should help keep the peace in your local sports bar:

  • Avoid referring to your favorite team in the first person plural unless you actually play or played for the organization. While mostly harmless, this choice of words may tend to inflame a listener whose team is less successful. And nobody wants to hear you take credit for the success, even by accident. There are a few other possible exceptions:
    1. If you’re speaking with fellow fans of a team.


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A Fetish for Manmade Objects

Watching the Dave Grohl documentary “Sound City” (excellent film and music, by the way) resuscitates long dormant thoughts about digital music vs. analog music.  When you look at the concept analytically, there is little debate that digital music is not a perfect replication of live, human-made music.  After all, the process requires the transformation of organic, soft-edged sounds into numerical codes that are inherently squared-off and artificial.

But here’s the catch:  most of us can’t tell the difference between digital and analog music.  We’re not listening to masterfully produced songs in a professional mixing studio, we’re listening to pop music on our car stereo.  

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Requiem for a Painter

What can I say about Thomas Kinkeade?

I can say that despite being fairly knowledgable about contemporary artists, I had never heard of him until he died.

I can also say that I hadn’t realized that that old “Law & Order” episode about an artist who made a fortune mass-producing crappy landscapes was based on a real person.

He will be missed.

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Eddie Vedder Syndrome

It has been my opinion that when the lead singer of a band, somebody who up until that point didn’t play any instruments on stage, picks up a guitar and tries to learn how to play it, the overall music of the band suffers. It’s something I noticed with Pearl Jam, when Eddie Vedder got bored being the hunky frontman and decided he needed to be more of an artist. And it’s why I haven’t bought any of their albums since ‘Vitology’.

(An aside: I’m not a musician myself, but I don’t see why a band with Stone Gossard and Mike McCready needs a third guitarist.)

So anyhow, I saw Incubus play at the Hollywood Bowl last night.

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