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Photos and text, unless otherwise noted, Copyright 2003,2004,2005,2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Saturday, 24 January 2004

Topic: The Culture

Saturday News Notes: An Eccentric Collection

I live three blocks from the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard. That's the famous hotel where John Belushi died of a drug overdose in 1982. The place where James Dean and Sal Mineo stayed while filming Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and apparently fooled around with the director Nicolas Ray.

Yesterday at noon I heard the police sirens, and an LAPD helicopter was making a lot of noise, stationary above the roof here. But one hears these things all the time.

Here's the scoop:

Photographer Helmut Newton Dies in Accident
Anthony Breznican, Associated Press, Saturday, January 24, 2004
LOS ANGELES - Helmut Newton was a trailblazer in the photography world, exploring power, gender roles and an icy sexuality in his pictures.

His work appeared in magazines such as Playboy, Elle and Vogue, but he was best known for his stark, black-and-white nude photos of women. Newton, whose subjects included Paloma Picasso, Pierre Cardin and Naomi Campbell, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a car crash, police said. He was 83.

Newton apparently lost control of his Cadillac while leaving the famed Chateau Marmont hotel and crashed into a wall, said Officer April Harding, a police spokeswoman.

... It was unclear if Newton became ill while driving, authorities said.

The photographer, who was Jewish, was born in Germany to wealthy parents but fled his homeland at age 18 for Singapore in December 1938, a month after Nazi-led persecution programs began. He eventually settled in Australia and became a citizen, where he opened a small photography studio and changed his last name to Newton from Neustaedter.

Eventually he took up residence in Monte Carlo overlooking the Mediterranean, but spent winters in Los Angeles at the hotel.
Everyone should spend their winters in Hollywood, and the rest of the year in Monte Carlo, of course.

And Ann Miller, the famous movie star, known for her tap-dancing (five hundred taps per minute - a record, they say), passed away a few days ago at the same hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center - two miles down the hill from here. She was eighty-one and this was lung cancer.

And yes, Bob Keeshan, known by millions of American children as television's grandfatherly Captain Kangaroo, has died after a long illness. He was seventy-six. But he died in Vermont, not here. All former Marines should be so nice.


And minor business news:

Firms Get Relief From Gulf Drilling Fees
From Reuters - January 24, 2004
The Bush administration said it would give royalty relief of more than $1 billion to energy companies drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to help increase domestic natural gas supplies, reduce consumers' energy bills and create jobs.

U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton said the plan would save Americans $570 million a year because of lower energy costs and create up to 26,000 jobs in the next six years.

But the plan also would cost the U.S. government about $1.1 billion in lost royalty fees from energy companies over the next five years, officials say.
Yeah, that's cool. Sigh.

And this:

Tauzin Says No to a Big Movie Role
Louisiana congressman drops out of the running to succeed Valenti as Hollywood's lobbyist.
James Bates, Los Angeles Times, January 24, 2004
Hollywood lost its top candidate to replace its chief lobbyist, Jack Valenti, as Rep. Billy Tauzin rejected the movie-industry job after receiving a lucrative, eleventh-hour offer to represent major drug companies, it was confirmed Friday.

The development deals a setback to the film studios' efforts to replace Valenti, who has said he wants to find a successor after 38 years as head of the Motion Picture Assn. of America. Valenti, 82, had hoped to announce who would fill his shoes as early as this month.

Sen. John Breaux (D-La.) and Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas) also have surfaced as potential replacements.
And why should this man turn down the job?
Valenti released a statement Friday saying Tauzin called him Thursday night to tell him he was declining a bid for his services that had been made by the MPAA. Valenti said Tauzin told him "that he was given a very, very generous offer from another enterprise."

Neither the MPAA nor Tauzin's office identified the group. But several sources said it was the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents major drug companies such as Merck & Co. and Johnson & Johnson.

The pharmaceutical group, the sources said, offered Tauzin far more than the $1 million-plus annual salary that the MPAA job has paid Valenti.

... Sources among the major studios said Tauzin had been demanding from the MPAA a rich package with numerous perks, including at one point an apartment in New York, country club membership and fees for the lawyers who negotiated for him.
The job?

One has to oversee the industry's film-rating system, and deal with international trade issues.

So that's what happens when one retires from politics. One gets rich, or richer.

Posted by Alan at 08:08 PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Saturday, 24 January 2004 08:50 PST home

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