Saturday, May 3, 2014

MIXED BAG BLOG #8: BRYAN SINGER, CRAIG FERGUSON and DONALD STERLING!

Every once in a while, there's isn't anything going on in the entertainment world that I have any real strong thoughts, feelings or emotions on, or at least, not strong enough that I feel are really worthy of an entire blogpost. But that doesn't mean that I don't have some thoughts on certain things, so once in awhile we do a little "Mixed Bag Blog", where instead of a more in-depth analysis on a single topic we touch on a few different subjects perpetuating the modern entertainment world and news, and we're doing one of those for this blogpost today. Enjoy.

BRYAN SINGER'S RAPE ALLEGATIONS AND THE HOLLYWOOD UNDERAGE SEX PARTIES RING

I was planning on trying to avoid talking about the-eh, Bryan Singer- uh, boy it's hard trying to find the right words here, his situation, and it's not particularly easy to discuss. Anyway, for those who don't know what's going on and Hollywood's a bit on the edge about this, but Singer and a few other Hollywood notables, are being sued in civil court by Michael Egan. Egan's accusing Singer of rape back in '99, when he was 17, while he was apart of some of Singer's underage sex parties, this one taking place in Honolulu. When this story first broke, it was shocking and bizarre and most people didn't know what to make of it, and it was revealed that the story was also apart of a new documentary from award-winning filmmaker Amy Berg, about these notorious underage Hollywood sex rings, and Singer, is apparently not the only one who engages in these events, and much of Hollywood is concerned right now. Like I said, I wasn't gonna bring this up, but then I happened across, of all people Bret Easton Ellis's statements that he made on his podcast, about not only being invited at one point to these parties, but also having dated a few people occasionally who attended them when they were young. Now, I'm on the record as not being a fan of Ellis's work, but considering the nature of his scripts and books, usually about the declining upper crust of the rich, often showing a light on their sexual deviancy, like his last film "The Canyons", I decided to listen, and by the way, here's the link to the article which has the whole podcast on their, and I highly recommend it. It's really good and informative, knowledgeable podcast  about film, and also has a really good interview with Alan Ball as well, excellent podcast; I'm probably gonna listen to more of his soon:

http://www.tvguide.com/news/ellis-singer-parties-1081021.aspx

So, it's not looking good for Singer, who's backed out of all publicity for his upcoming "X-Men: Days of Future Past" film, and who knows who else and how many others as this story continues to develop.

Now, I'll say this, I can't say I knew specifically about the natures of these parties, but I knew and heard about parties like these happening. I didn't know Bryan Singer specifically as someone involved, nor do I  particularly have anything more than secondhand knowledge/speculation of anyone else, but in case, you're all wondering, these things aren't exactly the biggest secret around. (Don't worry I never attended or came close to attending anything like this) The way Ellis talks about things like, the fake IDs and there's some discussion on, how much exactly are these "kids" actually kids, and there's some tricky moral and adult lines discussed on the podcast, and it's an intelligence discussion, that I'm gonna let people more knowledgeable than me handle, 'cause I won't speculate. That said, this is in some way gonna tarnish Hollywood for awhile, and let me first say that, most of Hollywood, are really good people, very trustworthy, they're people not in the tabloids or do anything particular criminal or scandalous. That said, I'm gonna repeat here what's very good advice for people, especially young people starting off, and trying to get work in Hollywood, and that is "NEVER, EVER, say that you'll do ANYTHING to work in HOLLYWOOD!" Or work in a movie or a TV show or...- I don't care what job you're trying to get from P.A. to actor, to screenwriter, to set designer, to whatever, just don't say you'll do anything. First of all, if you do during an interview say that, most people will probably not hire you, and they probably shouldn't. Even still, if you do end up getting a job, after saying that, most of the ones who do, are still probably decent people and won't make you go on a casting couch, or something of that nature, but it's not the best thing to say. But, that said, no industry or company or anything is completely immune from some disreputable people getting into positions of power, even the smallest amount of power. And a good number of them though, if you say "I'll do anything," they'll test that claim out. And personally, the worst story I've heard, doesn't even involve sex of any kind. I've heard many stories, none I which I particularly want to repeat, but if you want to work in the movie industry, and you get in this kind of situation for some reason, you can say no to people and things, and more importantly, know what you can/should and be willing to do. If whatever gets asks of sounds fishy, it probably is. Basically, don't do anything blindly, because somebody of power asked you to. Or even somebody not of power or fame asking you to. As a good example I can think of is somebody saying that he wanted to be on the film set, and even though he didn't have a ticket to travel or money, or a hotel room, he told the producers to just let him come, and he said he'll wake up at six am in the temporary office, where he'll sleep on the floor and make coffee at six am everyday, and do anything else that's wanted/needed all day on shoots, (and those days lasted 'til 6:00am the next day sometimes, especially for a P.A.) and that's what he did, for petty cash occasionally, and he did a good job, and he would get hired for other work, eventually I believe, he became a big writer/director over at Disney for a long time. Now I'm not saying go do that exactly, but know what you're willing to do, what you want to do, and know a longterm goal for the industry, people will ask you about it, there's enough free time on a movie set that someone will ask you, and if you're any good, and generally are a good person, you're more-than-likely have a decent working career for awhile. I don't know, what those kids going to these parties, were thinking about, or what they wanted, or their own personal morals, and while I suspect about Singer's and some of the others' morals, I don't know for sure what there's are, but if anything's gonna be taken from this story, A. this is a small minority, and B., seriously don't say you'll do anything, and even if you do, and even if you will, try not to, and try not to put yourself in these possible situations. That's literally probably the best advice I could give anybody, in general, and certainly for anybody who wants to work in the film industry.


CRAIG FERGUSON LEAVING "THE LATE LATE SHOW" AND THE DAMN LATE NIGHT MERRY-GO-ROUND CONTINUES!




Well, this didn't come as too big of a shock but the timing was certainly curious. And annoying to me, because I had just posted my blog on Letterman's retirement, less than a week earlier.

http://davidbaruffi.blogspot.com/2014/04/lettermans-retirement-colbert-next-in.html

AGH! That so sucked! I write a farewell to Letterman, and am still getting over that, and now, Ferguson leaving! And he's gonna leave, right when his contract is up, and that'll be December, he'll actually be off the air long before Letterman actually, and who knows if CBS is even gonna bother replacing him, or who they may end up replacing Ferguson with. I mentioned that considering Worldwide Pants's involvement in producing Ferguson, I figured that Letterman must have been somewhat close with Ferguson, but it was actually more his partner and Senior VP Peter Lassally who won the brainchild of Ferguson's spot on "The Late Late Show", and he's the former Carson and Letterman producer who worked as the go-between for them. This may partially explain why Colbert was probably Letterman's preferred choice over Craig Ferguson, and apparently Ferguson was aware of this possible development anyway, and was already angling to get out. He's already set himself up to host a game show, "Celebrity Name Game" later this year, originally, just as extra work for him that he took out of spite. Well, here's what this means first of all, it means that somehow, the stable force in late night has become Jimmy Kimmel of all people. That's weird development A. Now, "The Late Late Show", ironically does have more of history that even predates Letterman a bit, starting with Tom Snyder, and then Craig Kilborn who also left the show somewhat sooner than most would've projected, and frankly, there's no heir apparent around, and CBS is taking it's time on a replacement, and I don't blame them. Whoever comes in, is gonna go behind Letterman for about a year, and then has to seemlessly come in after Colbert, and frankly, there's no real name out there. Of course, a few are floating around as possible obvious choices. Aisha Tyler, Amy Schumer, Neil Patrick Harris, Drew Carey as an outside possibility, Chelsea Handler's has said that she wants it, and has already been looking to get out of her E! show anyway. If I'm a betting man, I'm picking the field by the way, 'cause who the hell projected Craig Ferguson in the job to begin with?! I didn't! Who the hell knew who he was? Even if you remembered him from "The Drew Carey Show,- oh, who am I kidding, you didn't. You watched a rerun like everyone else one day, and you suddenly realized that that British guy was Craig Ferguson. (I know, he's actually Scottish, but still, we Americans would've just called him "British guy".) Perhaps it helped that he was a little more unfamiliar with classic American talk show format. And actually, Ferguson in many ways is really a sad loss, because more than anyone else, he was different than the rest. While I tend to think people who complain about the lack of new or adventurous comedy on late night are full of shit; I mean, we hear it all the time, Leno doesn't do anything new and his jokes suck or Letterman used to be good and fresh but now he's boring, or crap like that, and while I understand those criticisms to a degree, I always wonder what-the-hell they're talking about 'cause comedy doesn't really change that much of get more adventurous, you know? It's late night, they're not gonna do Richard Pryor's blowing himself up freebasing cocaine routine and they shouldn't, and most comedy is derivative of someone else anyway; there aren't any new ways to slip on a banana peel, you know? There's really only comedy from a new perspective that's left, a personal perspective, (and sometimes that perspective changes over the years too.) but that said, if there was somebody doing something consistently different and new on late night, quietly, it's been Craig Ferguson. Telling elaborate and abberational stories instead of jokes, often opening the show with one for ten or fifteen minutes, even before the VTR comes on. (Which is a shame, 'cause I love his ELO-inspired opening theme and montage) He doesn't even do a monologue normally, he talks directly into the camera, and practically not to the audience at all, close in, sometimes banging and shaking it like it's us. Breaking it even. The Robot-Skeleton Sidekick named Geoff has to be one of the greatest and strangest late night characters invented since Conan introduced us to Triumph. I mean, who thought that he would just stick with this, for no reason what-so-ever, other than he wanted one. Did anybody think he would actually keep this joke up the entire time? There's an id-based absurdist quality to his work that's brilliant. He's really the anti-talk show. Giving away fruit and prizes to the guests, almost like it's obligatory, or the was he tears the note cards as the guest sits down, so there's nothing left to say. Everything was a running joke that lasted forever, letting his bits run longer and longer, 'til he hardly had time for the guests, and he rarely had more than two guests, as opposed to the traditional three, 'cause if something were ever to happen, he knew that he could just vamp on something for five or six minutes at will, and we'd be fascinated. I've been saying for years that Craig Ferguson's the most underrated of the late night hosts, and next to Conan, he's probably the one I find myself drawn to most in recent years, and the people who seek out and find his remaining shows in the waning months are gonna find an existential surrealism that they've been missing out on. He's not the first name you think of for late night hosts, he rarely gets any award recognition, although he won a Peabody for his interview with, of all people, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which has to be one of the strangest Peabody Awards ever given, but anything Ferguson would do is one of the strangest things ever done on TV, and that sense of the truly unexpected and danger, Ferguson brought that, in a way we hadn't seen before. There's a lot of people we can imagine replacing Letterman, but CBS has their work cut out on this one. Really, there's a lot of Letterman acolytes out there, Ferguson acolytes? (Shrugs) Different direction? Do the show at all? I do not envy CBS having to make this decision, and they should take their time on it; they need it.



DONALD STERLING'S BANISHMENT FROM THE NBA!

Oh, this story just keeps getting better and better. Donald Sterling's most recent comments are coming across the wires and he says about the racist remarks and his ex-mistress V. Stiviano, quote, "I should have just paid her off." (Top of head smacked into hand, shaking head in inconceivable disgust) I know, this isn't film or television directly, but this suddenly made the NBA playoffs, even more must see TV than normal, and Clippers games no less. Just- you can go search yourself on how bad horrible a guy this is, and he just keeps getting worse. Him and that Cliven what-the-fuck's-his-name, rancher moron, in the Northern part of Nevada, the part that doesn't matter to anybody down here, they're almost the perfect quintessential stereotype Republicans that my liberals fight against all the time, all the worst aspects too, and it's- so surreal. This guy Sterling, he moved the Clippers a historically struggling franchise to begin with, from San Diego to Los Angeles, after buying the team in '83 and is really proud of the fact that he owns a team. Keyword, "Own". This guy has been called by former Clippers GM and Basketball Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor, as running the franchise like a plantation owner. He's got dozens of lawsuits, hundreds possibly over the years, people suing him, him suing other, numerous stories with people like Rollie Massimino and others...- I mean, you can spend all day finding this shit on the internet and not repeat the same story, some of which we've heard before, others are new, plus, he sits at courtside of all home games, instead of the owner's box, usually with some dressed to the nines flossy, (He's married btw, so some mistress of the week) like he's the ultimate king of the world, and doesn't even really care that his team has a .370 career winning percentage in 30+ years, which is practically impossible unless you're trying, and since he's that damn racist, he might have been. People often talk about the old Curse of the Bambino for the Red Sox, and why they didn't win all those years, well, they were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, they held out 'til the '70s, that might've had something to do with it. It's not just that, the stereotype is that African-Americans are good at basketball, and here's a basketball owner, being a complete and utter racist without apology, it's that refusal to open up and seek out others, that's really disreputable. I mean, this guys walks around proud for being the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, like it's an incredible accomplishment. It's not even a team of prestige, just to say he owns the Clippers, he owns the Clippers, and that's maybe the worst franchise in sports to be proud of having owned, (And it's in no small part to his racism and how inept of an owner he is, that he can't get an L.A. team good enough consistently to be more than perennial laughing stocks.)  What a disgusting schmuck of a human being this guy is, and I can't stress that enough, and none of this shit, surprises me, but it's certainly entertaining. And after the rumors of the team boycotting the playoffs, and around the league a show of unities as teams, starting with the Clippers, wore their practice jerseys inside out, ashamed of having to play for Sterling, the NBA's young new commissioner Adam Silver, had to make a decision about Sterling, and boy did he ever! When I saw that he banned him for life, and would be voted out of the league by the owners, and forced to sell the team, I was startled. I couldn't think of another equivalent punishment. I check the NBA's list of people on lifetime bans, there's other 14 other people who've been tarnished with such a fate, all of them athletes, not owners, about half banned from their involvement int he infamous CCNY point-shaving scandal, the rest are for repeated substance abuse violations. Obviously, these lifetime bans are clearly only for those who's involvement in the NBA and the game of basketball are so distasteful that, they're image that could dramatically and possibly permanently alter the image of the league. So in that sense, Silver's actions are both dramatic and understandable, although that said, he's basically banning somebody for having a private conversation, with his mistress, that he didn't know was being taped. Granted the guy saying that, the nicest thing I can say about him is that he's dying of testicular cancer, but that's could be a damning precedent in the future, but considering they've all known Donald Sterling for years, and Silver claims he's got the 3/4 votes of the team owners to kick him out, it seems like Silver's willing to put all his eggs into one basket to kick out Donald Sterling. He won't go down without a fight, he's already planning a lawsuit, probably numerous ones, something he's overly-familiar with as he's determined to stretch this out and he will for awhile. This is gonna be dramatic for the NBA for awhile, particularly for the Clippers and what few fans they probably have left, especially since they already share their city with a team that's won about a dozen championships.

Note to whomever ends up owning the Clippers when all this is said and done: Congratulations, can I have a job for you by the way, maybe something in public relations, as long as you don't mind me being a Sixers fan, oh, and change the team name at least. Not that the names Clippers is in anyway offensive, but considering the legacy that Sterling has injected into the franchise, you might as well make a completely fresh start. Doesn't matter what the name is, although I'd avoid Pelicans 'cause that sounds stupid, but maybe saying indigenious and symbolic to L.A. Angels perhaps? L.A. and your fans,- they've had enough of dealing with the Clippers, let's not let them have to deal with that kind of strain any longer than necessary.
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