John Clark Pro Se Blog Actor, Producer & Writer

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Should Actors Diss or Praise Donald Trump?

Posted in ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, COMMENTARY-Passing parade

In a word, neither. I’m tired of reading the endless comments on Trump by entertainers, (mostly, as we notice, negative). It goes on and on. And on. Now here’s an exercise: Think of something positive to say about him, and say it. If you can’t, it’s because your liberal streak won’t let you. Then you may be one of the closed-minded people. That’s why I don’t vote, never have, never will. I am a follower of nobody. That’s what’s interesting and even fun about being an actor; you are forced to get into the skin of your character. Which is what surprises me about the mouthings of Meryl Streep.

An actor should be like the Speaker of the House of Commons (definitely not of the U.S. Congress). No side, no prejudice, no bias. Ready instead to take a leap into the unknown. The difference between good and great and genius.

I am a liScreen Shot 2017-02-18 at 11.22.40 PMfetime member of the New York Players, created by Edwin Booth, (some say as a penance for his brothers dastardly act, remember Lincoln?). My wife was the president for a while, until they offed her, for activism, I guess.

So I was welcomed as a guest at the Garrick Club in London, surrounded by aScreen Shot 2017-02-18 at 11.20.43 PMctors and oil paintings and extraordinary gentlemen (no lady members, sorry,) of the theatre, as well as gentlemen not of the theatre, there to relax in the texture of the place. The conversation mostly stayed clear of the political. Wonderful and intelligent eccentricity abounded, in the faces and in good and useful conversation, which was mostly of the anecdotal kind. Boy, I miss it.

Meryl, beware. Even if you want us to think of you as a sublime actor, we may no longer let you. Your fans will want you to assume a reliably liberal, political, identity. Take a hint from Glenda (Jackson). She got it out of her system, and now she’s back.

And I’m back, to Hollywood.

True Story of Mary McCarthy

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Uncategorized

With the just announced death of Fidel Castro, and the confused and confusing responses of world leaders, let’s ignore the politics and the law, and take a moment to consider the humanity. Oh, the humanity! (Where did I hear that before?). This is a true story, worth the telling, crying out for a screenplay and a star like Meryl Streep. I wrote it up on Wikipedia. Who needs fiction?

Mary McCarthy was the daughter of a St. John’s, Newfoundland, supplier of fishing supplies. Showing some musical talent, he sent his daughter Mary to Boston for lessons, and it is there she met a wealthy Spaniard named Pedro Gomez Cueto, who met her father and asked for her hand in marriage. Her father said come back in a year. He did, and so they were married, and he took her to live with him in Havana, Cuba, where he manufactured boots for the army.

He built his wife a white mansion in 1936 called Villa Mary, which became their home. It was filled with Napoleon III furniture and chandeliers, and a Steinway grand piano, becoming a gathering place for visiting artists and singers, such as Frank Sinatra (who had a house behind hers) and Nat King Cole. In those days, under the rule of President Fulgencio Batista, the island was known as “a millionaires’ paradise”. They became part of local society, and helped to found the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra and an orphanage for boys. Then in 1951 her husband died, and her life changed drastically under Fidel Castro’s revolution of 1959.

The US imposed a trade embargo against Cuba in 1962, causing her U.S. bank account of about 4 million dollars to be frozen. Unable to touch her money, things became worse when Castro confiscated her island holdings, and granted her a monthly pension of 200 pesos (about $15). While free to return to her native Canada, or the United States, she vowed never to leave the island, for Cuba was her home. And so this native Canadian continued to live there in poverty, a relic from days gone by. This is a documentary made a few years ago.

Her neighbors had left the island long before, and their mansions were converted into embassy residences. Peacocks continued to strut under the palm trees in her large garden. The abandoned mansion still retains the elegance and graceful atmosphere that Mary so carefully maintained for more than seven decades.  Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 5.05.09 PM

In 2002 she broke her hip and used a wheelchair, but continued to wear a satin dress, silk blouse, chiffon scarf and lipstick to greet her visitors.

With the need for more money due to her medical problems, some measure of relief came in 2007 through a Canadian diplomat. Washington allowed her to draw from her inheritance $96 a month. “I don’t even want to buy candy,” she declared in her distinctive Newfoundland Irish accent.

Reminders of her long life were on the walls where framed telegrams hung from Queen Elizabeth II and Pope John Paul II, congratulating her on her 100th birthday, and photographs on the table showed her with the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham and the guitarist Andrés Segovia.

Asked whether she approved of Fidel Castro and his revolution, she did concede that poverty and illiteracy ended with his rule.

She died on Friday, April 3, 2009, just 24 days short of her 109th birthday, and was buried next to her husband in a white marble crypt in The Necropolis Cristóbal Colón, in Havana.

SULLY. My Very Personal Review of the Movie

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Uncategorized

This film was shot in IMAX and released September 9, 2016.  It stars Tom Hanks as Captain Sullenberger, was filmed by Clint Eastwood, written by Todd Komarnicki, and edited by Blu Murray.  The event, now famous as “The Miracle on the Hudson”  took place on January 15, 2009, at around 3:30pm. The plane, an Airbus A320 of USAirways, hit a flock of Canada Geese, lost power, and after gliding was landed in the Hudson River’s freezing water off 50th Street Manhattan, with 155 passengers and crew, all of whom were saved.  Here is what it meant to me:

My interest in flying began with building model airplanes as a kid, and ended with my ownership of 2 planes which I flew until I was forced to sell them due to the ministrations of a lawyer, the judge, and my own experience of PTSD and loss of pilot license to fly.

While my aeronautical interest was thus curbed, it continues to this day online.  I like to follow the career of my son Benjy (Delta Captain, flying internationally)  who I’m glad to say I rescued from a waiter’s career at California Pizza Kitchen within a stone’s throw of LAX. I taught him to fly my plane, and sent him on his way to a flying school in Georgia, where he gained all his grades.

This film allowed me to come to grips with the sheer complication of flying, the attendant responsibility of the ship’s captain, and a better understanding and consequent admiration for the skills Ben has acquired.

I met with him recently at a local restaurant – here’s a picture – but a falling out ensued.  (He cancelled my parental courtesy free pass on Delta flights, because I wanted to visit my daughter Pema in Norfolk, and meet my grand-kids for the first time.IMG_3040 At my current age of 84, it becomes kind of important.)  He currently flies out of JFK to Africa, where he now lives.

Back to the film.

It’s full of the intricate detail of the world of flying under the watchful eye of the FAA , of enormous interest to me, but possibly above the curiosity of your average film-goer.

As a member of the Directors Guild of America, I get to see all the new releases which compete for my attention and so get to vote, culminating in the DGA Awards dinner which will be held in Hollywood February 4, 2017, and which I always attend. I shall most certainly cast my vote for this picture in different categories. But maybe I have too much of a special interest.

Newt Gingrich & The NY Times

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Media

Newt Gingrich, a Republican, was 50th. speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. He posted this piece online this morning

I grew up in an era when the New York Times was the greatest newspaper in the world. Throughout my political career, there were plenty of moments when I thought the paper’s coverage had an unfair slant. But I knew it remained America’s most revered newspaper, and that generally its reporters held themselves to the highest standards. Screen Shot 2016-11-16 at 7.40.30 AM

Thus I watched with some regret as all of that went out the window this election cycle. It was sad to see a 165-year-old paper destroy its credibility over one election season. But the Times’s complete abandonment of its old standards was obvious to anyone who read its coverage. The paper wrote stories that were unrelentingly hostile to Trump and his supporters.

It allowed reporters to include their personal opinions and political analysis in news coverage. It allowed political reporters to spew their animosity to Trump on social media. (I am old enough to remember when reporters maintained the conceit that they did not have political opinions.)

It published stories about Trump in which it distorted the accounts of interviewees, according to the subjects’ own testimony. It published front page stories and editorials with headlines that accused Trump of “lying”–but never so characterized any of Hillary Clinton’s well-documented lies.

And now the same publisher and the same editor that oversaw this partisan assault are promising to “rededicate” themselves to reporting “honestly”. Perhaps even the paper’s liberal readership has tired of reporting that increasingly resembles the state-controlled propaganda of totalitarian regimes.

Before readers take the paper at its word, they should ask its leadership some of the following questions:

  1. Does the Times have any reporters, editors, or columnists who will say they voted for Trump, and has it hired any new ones?
  2. Has it hired any reporters who are even Republicans?
  3. Has it changed its policies that allowed journalists to express their opinions about the events and people they covered in their news stories?
  4. Will it ask the Pulitzer Prize board to withdraw, and its reporters to return, any prizes that might be awarded for news stories that contained reporters’ personal opinions?
  5. Have its editors retracted misleading news headlines that expressed opinions or pure speculation–such as the paper’s coverage of Trump’s tax returns?
  6. Has it fired reporters who admitted to writing politically motivated “news” stories and encouraged interview subjects to talk to them so they could stop Trump?
  7. Has it retracted its shameful election-eve front-page story “reporting” on Trump’s innermost thoughts and feelings, virtually every sentence of which is filled with reporters’ opinions and speculations–featuring claims like “he is struggling to suppress his bottomless need for attention”?

If the answer to all of these questions is “no”–why would anyone believe that the paper is now “rededicated” to honesty? And why would anyone trust the New York Times to report on American politics?

Well said, Newt. And now for my opinion. The rot started when newspapers no longer “said” anything, it was when writers were revealed by name. Newspapers used to have a voice as a collective, but no more. Now, only consumer brands have voices (usually of their chairman or CEO), and the press should think the same way. However, it is a 2-way street. Authoritarian states do what we’d like and speak with one voice, but we don’t want that either. The only daylight is that democracy has a way of evening it all out. It corrects itself eventually. Or maybe it cancels itself. Nobody hears anything, because nobody’s listening. The myriad voices become a babble.

We Wonder, Is This The NEW New Trump?

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade

Mr. Trump met with Obama in the White House this morning, and to my mind is becoming far too obsequious. He proclaimed it was “an honor” to meet him and that Barack was “a good man”. What? Has Trump lost his cojones? Or is he, like a chameleon, changing his spots. Sorry, that’s a leopard. Well, he’d better be more like a leopard.Screen Shot 2016-11-10 at 1.02.47 PM

We elected him on his stated platform. He’d better not lose sight of it.

It has been quite a joy to watch the backtracking of celebrities who pledged their all to Hillary Clinton. Speaking of whom.

I’ve said all along that she was Bill, in her clothing, or maybe he was her in his clothing. Or maybe they are cross-dressers, who knows, but theirs was clearly an end run around the 22nd Amendment, which refers to term limits of 4 years only, passed March 21, 1947.

Bill and Hillary are and remain a married couple, which means that legally they are treated in many ways as a single entity, enjoying certain privileges, such as that they cannot be forced to give evidence against each other. Another game to the system.

Some celebrities say that if Trump was elected, they’d move up to Canada. Trouble is, Canada doesn’t want them. Will they build a wall to keep them out?

Life is becoming truly bizarre.

Another Look at Trump

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade

I posted this 3 months ago, in August. I hope he will turn out to be exciting in his new presidency. The U-turns being undergone by certain – and you know who I mean – celebrities, and refusal and possibly exodus of some of them to other countries, will be fascinating. And how about Politically Incorrect Bill Maher? He will become completely irrelevant to the scene from now on, unless he can spin it somehow.

 

Having sat through those two mind-numbing Conventions and wondering at the utter futility of all that talk, insults ad hominem/ad nauseam, spewing through the mouths of the candidates, their supporters and media spectator pundits – thumbs up or thumbs down as in the days of ancient Rome – I figured that Trump has probably got it made. We should resign ourselves to the fact that he will probably be the next occupant of the White House. Our loss is that we cannot then continue to poke fun at him in the way we’ve been doing. (Here I must reveal my secret admiration of him: that he financed his own campaign.)

But relax, take a swig or a puff or a snort, or whatever best opens your mind, and listen up.

He may amaze yet because he is not a conventional thinker, and his lack of politically engineered experience may clear the field, like a computer reboot, format, or system upgrade.Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 11.21.14 AM

I don’t think he looks for wars. He looks for solutions. If he’d been there in 1939, he might have done a deal with Hitler to look East instead of West. Thus, Hitler would have had the challenge of containing Communism instead of us, there’d have been no Battle of the North Atlantic, no U-boats, and the deaths of 70 million scapegoats might not have had to be mourned by their grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters and children. Of course, we’ll never know.

But that’s past. How about the future?

How might he deal with todays’ fears from terrorism, and ISIS? The U.S, UK, France, Germany, and the rest of Europe seem to be out of ideas on that score. The ideology of PC thinking paralyzes the U.N. and its members. Would Trump do any better? Well, he’s perfectly capable of thinking the following. He might say

“Pay mercenaries. Hire headhunters. Professionals seeking bounties, and motivate them with lots of cash. Attract Gurkha warriors, who would know what to do with decapitating the enemy with their curved kukri weapons. Torture? Brutality? They would do as ISIS does, and make money while doing it. Any person wearing a black hood gets it.”

Countries would look the other way. They’d say ‘Deal with it, don’t tell us how.’

Most people can’t think like that. Certainly not Hillary or Obama. But if it worked, then the billions currently spent on security could be spent creating new businesses and jobs.

One might care to notice that America gained its empire by buying with cash, not killing and conquering. Alaska? California? Louisiana? St. Thomas? Purchases all.

So, I’m leaning more towards the acceptability of Trump. I think he’d be up for the challenge of true Democratic Capitalism. He could be exciting. Yes, it’s all about the money, yes.

Remember, it was the Bard who said “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise”. Perhaps the time has come.

Donald Trump, NAZI MAN No More!

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Uncategorized

Post Election Day November 8, 2016:

I had been asked earlier this year what I thought of Donald Trump. That was like being asked what I thought of Adolph Hitler. But rather than going into the gory details, I decided to make a little comedy sketch with my two young talented friends Seth Garben and Jacob Grodnik. It was called “NAZI MAN!”, and showed a couple of American method actors complaining how the British have stolen all the good parts in Hollywood, before becoming confronted with Rudy, the idiot younger brother of Adolph, who has been hiding in a bunker for 70 years, emerging with the avowed intention of making Nazi Germany great again.

But the times they are a-changing, and it’s no longer de rigueur to make fun of the Donald, who is now our president-elect. Hey, he might come after YOU if you don’t straighten up. And you’d lose the chance to be part of his cabinet. So I’m taking down this spoof, to be on the safe side.

However, the story of how we made it on the sly is worth telling, so I’ll leave that up.

SPOILERS.

I don’t usually believe in revealing how movie magic is made, but progress says it’s old-fashioned to hold that view. These days everybody’s a movie maker, and wants to know. It seems that people are able to somehow suspend their disbelief when it suits them, so a little back story here.

We shot it on the sly, and the reason was that displaying the Swastika in public is, well, unwise. Illegal in most European countries, we’re told.

We went to Western Costume to get me be-garbed in the genuine Hitler uniform, which they have hanging on their racks.  It’s tan and very understated. Swastika, Iron Cross etc, and much medal bling. IMG_2916We paid their rent for a week, and then the manager came charging out and refused to let us take it off the premises! He said it was their policy to rent genuine Nazi uniforms only to big studio productions, and here we were, a tiny independent. A solution was quickly needed.

That’s how we came up with the fairly innocuous but genuine leather Lederhosen, which, though expensive, we bought. Then we shot on a Sunday and holiday when everything was closed, and – just lucky, actually – no cop cars were to be seen to check on whether we’d obtained permits and whatnot. We hadn’t.

Update: Producers renamed this spoof “Make America Great Again (parody)” There are several videos with similar titles, and runaway views in the millions. Ours not.

What shocks me for the future of the medium is that viewers are watching old copyrighted movies with the animated faces of Trump and Hillary and Obama simply pasted on.  Check out these hijacking examples: A “sword and sandals” epic along with “The Terminator”. I have to admit that “Making America Great Again (Donald Trump parody)” is very funny

and so is
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVqoZb6967Ahttp://

but the law needs to be changed if the ownership of intellectual property is to mean anything. Every movie ever made could be used and abused in this way under the umbrella protection of “Parody”.  A “with apologies to . . .” would be helpful, but that’s presuming the cult of ethics still exists in its old form. Hence lawyers.

Rasputin Lives

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Cases & Litigants, Links to legal, self-help sites, LYNN REDGRAVE

An extraordinary new book written by a devoted Lynn Redgrave fan, and boasting about how she effected the outcome of her divorce action against me, has just been published and is available on Amazon.

Letters to Lynn Redgrave: Martial Enlightenment for Modern Women (and Men) by Jeri Massi

Jeri Massi is a fourth degree black belt in Taekwon Do Chung Do Kwan, a Master. She holds belts in other martial arts, including Shotokan karate and Tang Soo Do. She writes

“I am a woman martial arts master. In 1999, When actress Lynn Redgrave’s then husband John Clark was harassing her, I asked her to let me instruct her in the principles of martial enlightenment. She consented. This book is our correspondence.

It is based on Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings. It should be helpful to anybody in desperate circumstances. The lessons calmed and guided her. War begins in the mind, and an intelligent, calm fighter can defeat an opponent by exploiting the undisciplined fears and desires of his or her opponent.”

Wow!  I was so impressed, I just HAD to get this book. She focuses upon how she masterminded Lynn’s financially successful lawsuit for divorce against me. I was stunned. Not being an attorney or a medical doctor, I wonder how Lynn’s attorney Emily Edelman felt about that during the case? Or how Judge Gold would have felt about that while it was sub judice? Or the State Bar of California?  Or the office of the District Attorney (Statutes about UPL).  Or, come to think of it, my own team of attorneys for not asking the right questions. I bought 14 copies, enough for a jury and backup. As I read it, I saw how this woman had taken over Lynn’s mind and become her Svengali.

Check it out.

I gave it one star only on Amazon, because, as I said there in my comment,

“As the husband she physically threatens throughout this book, I am fascinated by her rendering of a non-existent person. I would have given it 5 stars if it was intended as satire, for here are the makings of a great Saturday Night Live sketch. But since there is no such disclaimer by the author, a non-lawyer religious fundamentalist black belt kickboxer, I have to conclude that she is serious. Hence one star.”

Since it was against my wife’s nature to live according to this Rasputin’s instructions which she readily obeyed, and served lawyer Edelman’s purposes, nature took its course. Karma lives, she didn’t!

My kids, who followed along because they’d benefit from the Living Trust she secretly created, explains why we are alienated. Shame on them. My feelings are bolstered by old Will through the cry of King Lear: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child… Away, away!

Now I understand why I was evicted from the 1999 SAG Awards and she called the police on me to make sure I was not allowed to attend the 1999 Independent Spirit Awards to watch her success for Gods & Monsters and Shine, or the 1999 Oscars where she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress – both of which I booked for her, and negotiated! (No agent.)

I read the L.A. Times report again. The article, under Ann O’Neill’s byline, demolished me the defendant, and was actually written by their journalist Louise Roug who daily attended the trial. If the media had known that Lynn’s animosity towards me, and adamant refusal to submit to mediation or interviews was being directed, not by her attorney, but illegally by this woman, the result would have been vastly different. Undoubtedly, the judge would have sanctioned Lynn and Emily Edelman, Esq. for contempt of court, and reviewed again my motion for him to recuse himself. He’d favored her throughout, and allowed her to leave the jurisdiction!

This revelation opens up a whole new avenue for me, and the clock starts running NOW (4 year SOL)

The L.A. Times article, combined with my itemized response to each point, is an important document, especially in the light of this book, which changes everything. Read it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Refinance Your Mortgage – NOT!

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade

My readers know that what you get here is some insight on everyday matters as a result of my “being there, did it, and this is what happened.” Anecdotal evidence yes, but that’s often better and more instructive than expert advice from expensive professionals with a conflict of interest (they’re selling services or a book.) 

Having a mortgage on my house, a 30 year ARM (Adjustable Rate Mortgage), I decided to refinance into a fixed, and get enough cash to pay off my credit cards, which are kinda maxed out at the moment plus a bit of cash besides. The Obama administration seems to want us to do that if we can, and they have encouraged, indeed ordered, the banks to loan out the money they got when the government bailed them out under the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) of 2008, and of course radio thunders the ads at us constantly, and the phone assails me with calls from brokers to get my business. So let’s see how it worked out for me with these providers: 

1. First I tried Chase Bank, who hold my current mortgage. They would surely want to let me refinance, I’ve been a steady and never-late payer on my loan for 12 years now. This is what happened:

They checked my credit rating. Mid-range, ok. They looked at my paperwork, income, all that stuff. THEN they asked “Have you had your house on the market within the last 6 months?” Yes, I said, certainly. Withdrew it only last week. Sorry was their answer, cannot consider you for a refinance because of that. End of discussion. 

2. I then tried Quicken Loans, who declare they are the best, lowest rates, etc. etc. A guy in Michigan, Reed Wilkin, handled my request. Very enthusiastic and excitable fellow. if you owned a vacuum cleaner company, you’d want him as your frontline door-to-door salesman. Or bibles. He took my information. He checked my credit score. He said “no problem”. I told him what Chase said. He said Oh dear, we can’t do it then, and hung up. Then he called me back, said his boss cleared it so it didn’t bother him anymore. Then he said was I living elsewhere as I had a different mailing address? I said that I keep an office at Oakwood where I am the Notary Public. He said nevertheless, in his view my house was my second home, and he’d go to prison if he was caught lying. I persevered. Then he said that my wife had to commute too far to work. I said 5.3 miles is too far? He finally said sorry, you don’t fulfill our requirements, we cannot consider a loan. End of discussion. 

2. Then I tried LoanDepot. Very calm, business-like guy called David on the phone, and they had an office locally. I faxed over all the paperwork. This, I figured, is going to happen. We agreed on the terms. I expected a commitment. He sent an appraiser. Fine, nothing to worry about there, I have remodeled the house. The appraiser came, personable fellow named Sean Copeland. He took a few measurements and left. His report said that I had a single family residence, and the lower unit was breaking the zoning law, because there was a stove top cooker in it. He said to get a loan, I should cap off the gas, and relocate the steps now outside, to inside. What? I pointed out to LoanDepot that the lower space did not make it a duplex. One electric meter, one water meter, one entrance. He laughed at me, and said sorry, we cannot do a refinance for you. I checked the internet, and came up with this explanation of what is a duplex, and what is a single family residence. This is what an expert appraiser says, that there is such a thing as a smaller add-on unit, an ADU, often referred to as, among other things, an in-law, granny flat, and mother-in-law suite. With cooking facilities. Read about it here. And here. Sr. banker John Zimmerman ignored the proof. End of discussion. 

3. My accountant had a great suggestion. He said why don’t you go to your local Credit Union? The banks hate them, because they are faster and usually less expensive than the big banks. So I crossed over the road to First Entertainment Credit Union, very handy. Spoke to a welcoming agent in their loan department named Ken Nakanishi. He would be my friend, I could see. He suggested I get a line of credit on my house, much more simple than a refi, and would allow me to consolidate my credit card debt. Great I said, now I feel I’m getting somewhere. A couple of days later he called. Sorry, he said, but you have a negative amortization loan at present with Chase. We cannot grant you a line of credit. But, he said, if you take out a refi with a fixed payment with us, then you could even do both. Hooray was my answer. A few days later he called, and said that when I paid off my credit cards, I’d have to close my Gold American Express card, which I’ve had for 39 years. Are you nuts, I said? No way! 2 more days. Then he called again, and said they were denying me my loan, as I had 2 units in a house zoned for single family occupancy! Nice knowing you, I said, and printed out and sent them the article so they could read it and perhaps educate their lending and banking staff on the realities, or I prefer to believe that they knew already, and hoodwinked me. 

So I got nowhere. I am convinced that this so-called lending spree is a farce, humbug,  and B/S, acted out by businessmen who don’t negotiate in good faith. Almost worse, they are time-wasters. Never mind money in the bank – at my age, I don’t have much time in the bank. And they caused me to use up about 4 weeks of it. So now I am just mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more.

What will I do now? Screw ’em, I’m just a short walk from the Hollywood Bowl, and I shall vacation-rent it out for a few days at a time, and sleep in my office at such times, and maybe say I have a duplex!

 

Sir David Attenborough, Guilty!

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Uncategorized

Members of the entertainment community have always marveled at the idiocy which brought about the downright willful destruction of much of the BBC’s television and radio history. It never made any sense that those old shows simply disappeared. Now we know part of the answer.

The Daily Telegraph last week reported on statements from Sir David Attenborough, who talked with Alan Yentob in front of an audience of the time he was the policy maker during the late sixties. This was the headline:

David Attenborough: my regrets over wiping Alan Bennett ‘dross’

Sir David Attenborough, the broadcaster, admits one “scar on his conscience” from his early days in broadcasting: sanctioning the wiping of priceless Alan Bennett sketches. Sir David, who was controller of the fledgling BBC Two from 1965 to 1969, said he could not “dodge” the blame for the mistake, after making an executive decision to cut costs.

“One of the scars on my conscience is that the Alan Bennett programmes, which were wonderful, are not recorded and were lost,” Sir David said. “I mustn’t dodge it. I can remember perfectly well someone coming to me and saying ‘look, we have to build another set of vaults and it’s going to cost x million pounds.
“‘We will need that if we’re going to keep everything, so can’t you please find a way to keep the jewels and get rid of the dross? It means how many episodes of What’s My Line?’ or whatever quiz do you want?’
“And of course when you’re faced with that you have to decide whether to put the money into new products, new people, or cherishing the old. I took the decision that I did take, which was to say to every department, if you’ve got a long-running series select one out of six – or whatever it was – and save that. But be strong and get rid of the rest.
“That doesn’t mean to say we shouldn’t have kept some of the Alan Bennetts; we should. Why we didn’t have some of them, I don’t know.”
[Former Director General] Alan Yentob added other programmes had suffered the same fate in different periods of BBC history.
“I think we can say the same about editions of Monty Python and others which have somehow disappeared,” he told an audience.

I had to comment at the end of the article with my 2 cent’s worth. I said

Vaults do not cost millions of pounds. Choosing between products, people, and intellectual property, the property of others, does not fly or make sense. This man has no integrity whatsoever. He should be sued to the limit, class actions, for these crass decisions which he admits. No mercy! And, this cost the corporation (meaning us and the government) many millions from future sales.
I am reminded that I appeared with Eric Porter in a BBC Play of the Month. It was “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1968. It disappeared. We were told that a technician had pressed a delete button by mistake. Now we know the truth. Thanks, Mr Attenborough.

WOODY ALLEN – SHE SAYS, HE SAYS (Source, NY Times)

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Cases & Litigants, Links to Courts & Judges

DYLAN FARROW SAYS:

That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.

That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong. Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines. Each time I saw my abuser’s face — on a poster, on a T-shirt, on television — I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

This time, I refuse to fall apart. For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away. But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me — to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories — have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Today, I consider myself lucky. I am happily married. I have the support of my amazing brothers and sisters. I have a mother who found within herself a well of fortitude that saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home.

But others are still scared, vulnerable, and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message that Hollywood sends matters for them.

 

WOODY ALLEN SAYS

TWENTY-ONE years ago, when I first heard Mia Farrow had accused me of child molestation, I found the idea so ludicrous I didn’t give it a second thought. We were involved in a terribly acrimonious breakup, with great enmity between us and a custody battle slowly gathering energy. The self-serving transparency of her malevolence seemed so obvious I didn’t even hire a lawyer to defend myself. It was my show business attorney who told me she was bringing the accusation to the police and I would need a criminal lawyer.

I naïvely thought the accusation would be dismissed out of hand because of course, I hadn’t molested Dylan and any rational person would see the ploy for what it was. Common sense would prevail. After all, I was a 56-year-old man who had never before (or after) been accused of child molestation. I had been going out with Mia for 12 years and never in that time did she ever suggest to me anything resembling misconduct. Now, suddenly, when I had driven up to her house in Connecticut one afternoon to visit the kids for a few hours, when I would be on my raging adversary’s home turf, with half a dozen people present, when I was in the blissful early stages of a happy new relationship with the woman I’d go on to marry — that I would pick this moment in time to embark on a career as a child molester should seem to the most skeptical mind highly unlikely. The sheer illogic of such a crazy scenario seemed to me dispositive.

Notwithstanding, Mia insisted that I had abused Dylan and took her immediately to a doctor to be examined. Dylan told the doctor she had not been molested. Mia then took Dylan out for ice cream, and when she came back with her the child had changed her story. The police began their investigation; a possible indictment hung in the balance. I very willingly took a lie-detector test and of course passed because I had nothing to hide. I asked Mia to take one and she wouldn’t. Last week a woman named Stacey Nelkin, whom I had dated many years ago, came forward to the press to tell them that when Mia and I first had our custody battle 21 years ago, Mia had wanted her to testify that she had been underage when I was dating her, despite the fact this was untrue. Stacey refused. I include this anecdote so we all know what kind of character we are dealing with here. One can imagine in learning this why she wouldn’t take a lie-detector test.

Meanwhile the Connecticut police turned for help to a special investigative unit they relied on in such cases, the Child Sexual Abuse Clinic of the Yale-New Haven Hospital. This group of impartial, experienced men and women whom the district attorney looked to for guidance as to whether to prosecute, spent months doing a meticulous investigation, interviewing everyone concerned, and checking every piece of evidence. Finally they wrote their conclusion which I quote here: “It is our expert opinion that Dylan was not sexually abused by Mr. Allen. Further, we believe that Dylan’s statements on videotape and her statements to us during our evaluation do not refer to actual events that occurred to her on August 4th, 1992… In developing our opinion we considered three hypotheses to explain Dylan’s statements. First, that Dylan’s statements were true and that Mr. Allen had sexually abused her; second, that Dylan’s statements were not true but were made up by an emotionally vulnerable child who was caught up in a disturbed family and who was responding to the stresses in the family; and third, that Dylan was coached or influenced by her mother, Ms. Farrow. While we can conclude that Dylan was not sexually abused, we can not be definite about whether the second formulation by itself or the third formulation by itself is true. We believe that it is more likely that a combination of these two formulations best explains Dylan’s allegations of sexual abuse.”

Could it be any clearer? Mr. Allen did not abuse Dylan; most likely a vulnerable, stressed-out 7-year-old was coached by Mia Farrow. This conclusion disappointed a number of people. The district attorney was champing at the bit to prosecute a celebrity case, and Justice Elliott Wilk, the custody judge, wrote a very irresponsible opinion saying when it came to the molestation, “we will probably never know what occurred.”

But we did know because it had been determined and there was no equivocation about the fact that no abuse had taken place. Justice Wilk was quite rough on me and never approved of my relationship with Soon-Yi, Mia’s adopted daughter, who was then in her early 20s. He thought of me as an older man exploiting a much younger woman, which outraged Mia as improper despite the fact she had dated a much older Frank Sinatra when she was 19. In fairness to Justice Wilk, the public felt the same dismay over Soon-Yi and myself, but despite what it looked like our feelings were authentic and we’ve been happily married for 16 years with two great kids, both adopted. (Incidentally, coming on the heels of the media circus and false accusations, Soon-Yi and I were extra carefully scrutinized by both the adoption agency and adoption courts, and everyone blessed our adoptions.)

Mia took custody of the children and we went our separate ways.

I was heartbroken. Moses was angry with me. Ronan I didn’t know well because Mia would never let me get close to him from the moment he was born and Dylan, whom I adored and was very close to and about whom Mia called my sister in a rage and said, “He took my daughter, now I’ll take his.” I never saw her again nor was I able to speak with her no matter how hard I tried. I still loved her deeply, and felt guilty that by falling in love with Soon-Yi I had put her in the position of being used as a pawn for revenge. Soon-Yi and I made countless attempts to see Dylan but Mia blocked them all, spitefully knowing how much we both loved her but totally indifferent to the pain and damage she was causing the little girl merely to appease her own vindictiveness.

Here I quote Moses Farrow, 14 at the time: “My mother drummed it into me to hate my father for tearing apart the family and sexually molesting my sister.” Moses is now 36 years old and a family therapist by profession. “Of course Woody did not molest my sister,” he said. “She loved him and looked forward to seeing him when he would visit. She never hid from him until our mother succeeded in creating the atmosphere of fear and hate towards him.” Dylan was 7, Ronan 4, and this was, according to Moses, the steady narrative year after year.

I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.

NOW it’s 21 years later and Dylan has come forward with the accusations that the Yale experts investigated and found false. Plus a few little added creative flourishes that seem to have magically appeared during our 21-year relationship.

Not that I doubt Dylan hasn’t come to believe she’s been molested, but if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root? Is it any wonder the experts at Yale had picked up the maternal coaching aspect 21 years ago? Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realized I’d never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out. Undoubtedly the attic idea came to her from the Dory Previn song, “With My Daddy in the Attic.” It was on the same record as the song Dory Previn had written about Mia’s betraying their friendship by insidiously stealing her husband, André, “Beware of Young Girls.” One must ask, did Dylan even write the letter or was it at least guided by her mother? Does the letter really benefit Dylan or does it simply advance her mother’s shabby agenda? That is to hurt me with a smear. There is even a lame attempt to do professional damage by trying to involve movie stars, which smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan.

After all, if speaking out was really a necessity for Dylan, she had already spoken out months earlier in Vanity Fair. Here I quote Moses Farrow again: “Knowing that my mother often used us as pawns, I cannot trust anything that is said or written from anyone in the family.” Finally, does Mia herself really even believe I molested her daughter? Common sense must ask: Would a mother who thought her 7-year-old daughter was sexually abused by a molester (a pretty horrific crime), give consent for a film clip of her to be used to honor the molester at the Golden Globes?

Of course, I did not molest Dylan. I loved her and hope one day she will grasp how she has been cheated out of having a loving father and exploited by a mother more interested in her own festering anger than her daughter’s well-being. Being taught to hate your father and made to believe he molested you has already taken a psychological toll on this lovely young woman, and Soon-Yi and I are both hoping that one day she will understand who has really made her a victim and reconnect with us, as Moses has, in a loving, productive way. No one wants to discourage abuse victims from speaking out, but one must bear in mind that sometimes there are people who are falsely accused and that is also a terribly destructive thing. (This piece will be my final word on this entire matter and no one will be responding on my behalf to any further comments on it by any party. Enough people have been hurt.)

 

SURGERY TODAY

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, A SPACE FOR REFLECTION, COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to medical sites, My FaceBook page

JULY 12, 2013

This is all about the colon. First there were lawyers. Then there were doctors…

Keeping fingers crossed. This ACTORVIST patient ain’t finished yet! Wife nearby.

 

JULY 16, 2013

Well, I’m still alive. Still in what’s called “recovery”.

Interesting people, doctors. They are pretty well all specialists today. They have their own turfs. And I find they don’t talk to each other a whole lot. I have to think about heart, lung, blood, liver, stroke, atrial fibrillation, and now my gut. I get back a mixture of good news and bad news. I think the key is having a good, open primary physician to be able to talk to. But they’re very very busy these days, there’s not enough of them, and they seem to be very hard to get ahold of. I’ll know more next week, I guess.

Nevertheless, I go home tomorrow.

 

Brit Week and a Jolly Good Time

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, TIME OUT

We Brits sure know how to have fun! Last night as the sun was settling down behind the mountains on the western horizon, in the gardens of Santa Monica’s very stylish Fairmont Miramar Hotel overlooking the beach, there was a promotion and celebration of all things British as it exists in the fair city of Los Angeles, California.

It was a kind of fancy dress party, inspired and themed by some members of the DOWNTON ABBEY cast who were present and being honored. This is Hollywood, after all. So we “expats” were invited to attend dressed up, if possible, in something suggesting the flapper era of England, circa 1920.

Since the story begins around the time of the S.S.Titanic sinking, and progresses on up into the twenties, there was scope for a wide choice of costume. The only other fancy dress ball I ever attended was as a child when my parents sent me as a choir boy and I won first prize. So I decided to be a man of the cloth, dressed in a cheap RC priest outfit (their robes don’t change an inch), and for good measure took a young friend who came dressed as a prostitute picked up on the way in, and whom I’d brought with me to convert. She was bursting out here and there, torn slip, retro French knickers, suspenders, seamed stockings and all. There we were, arm in arm, and quite a few heads turned.

And so the evening began, with Tin Pan Alley entertainment, tapdancing exhibitions, a lively banjo-led band, and touchy feely dancing. And we know how to enjoy being silly and sexy, as well as serious.

An Irish tourist came running up, fell to his knees, and begged me to hear his confession. He wanted to know where my church was. He was quite serious, if a little drunk on the great spiked Ginger Beer coolers. I told him I was a traveling priest, used a kind of modest curtained pope-mobile, and could come his way on prior notice. He scribbled me his motel address. It was only when I told him to bring his Master Card or cash, that he figured out that I was maybe not what he thought I was. Then I saw a couple of very attractive women sitting in a corner. I asked who they were, and they rather sheepishly confessed they were on the organizing committee, and were — Americans!

I found again many of my old and dear friends, and we duly swapped cards, past attitudes forgotten and forgiven. Attached to my business card is my California Notary card, designed unsubtly to let people know that I am able to 1. tell the truth, 2. keep secrets, and 3. uphold the law. This is Hollywood.

Famous British companies are well represented, Boots, Jaguar, Cunard and all, and I look forward to wandering around this week in search of having a good time while learning more of the business side of it, which in this economy gets to be the point. But as of this week, with the stock market at all time highs and employment improving, there is hope and a renewing spring-like step in the air. Entrepreneurship is budding.

A storm in a Teacup. Age and IMDb

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Cases & Litigants

Frivolous lawsuits abound, aided by the court system, lawyers, and this time by the unions. And they dilute the serious issues that should be getting our attention. (Hint, like pro se actors vs. Breakdown Services Ltd., SAG/Aftra?)

Nikke Finke broke this news to us on March 19:

Last night a federal judge in Seattle ruled that a lawsuit brought by an actress who accused the online film and TV database for posting her birthdate in her bio without her permission will go to trial. U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman denied summary judgment from IMDb on Junie Hoang’s breach of contract claim, meaning the case will go forward to an April 8 trial date. The core claim makes the central issue of the case whether the site enables age discrimination in the entertainment biz with its policy of posting ages on individuals’ web pages.

In the original lawsuit filed in October 2011, Huang claimed she attempted to increase her exposure on the website in 2008 by subscribing via credit card to IMDb Pro. She changed her name and didn’t reveal her age when providing information for her profile. Soon after joining, her age appeared on the site, revealing info she claims harms her chances of landing film roles. Huang claimed the site performed record searches using her credit card information to obtain her age and did not remove the information when she requested it. Amazon called the suit “frivolous.” But then-separate unions SAG and AFTRA backed Huang’s action saying that when actual ages are posted “they become known to casting personnel, the 10+ year age range that many [actors] can portray suddenly shrinks and so do their opportunities to work”.

As a start, IMDb doesn’t offer webpages for subscribers to fill. It gives information deemed to be reliable, that’s all. And it gives it to everybody, producers, performers and craft professionals, either for free or a for a small fee at the IMDb Pro website.

This actress spoofed her name, and didn’t wish to reveal her age when providing her information. If she’d been selected for a Wikipedia “biography of living people” profile, you can bet they’d have her nailed down with accuracy, including her birth name and age. I have this to say, as if there were no more important things to think about.

Junie, there IS no privacy any more. Get used to it. When all’s said and done, the truth won’t go away, and lies will. Your age, your health, the nature of your sickness, your height, your weight, the natural color of your hair, your sexuality, your use of body enhancements, your clothes, your underwear, your income, your debts, your criminal history, your driving history, your court records, your credit history, your FICO score, your marriages, your lovers, your citizenship, your parents, your ancestors, your acting credits, your car, your home, your children, and why you died. Nobody’s kidding anyone any more. Consider, the more we’re different, the more we’re the same. Set me up or bail me out is today’s cry. Only one thing matters in the end. SPELL MY NAME RIGHT.

Then I decided to have a little fun.

I’ve been an IMDb Pro subscriber for years, where I’m John Clark (II), and have my own credits, contacts, pictures and clips displayed. They’re great people, and perform a useful service. They list just about everything knowable about a person, an agent, a manager, and a production company, with their phone numbers and addresses. Also film and tv reviews, and my favorites are from users, especially under the “hated it” category, (always, to me, more interesting.) You can indeed send in corrections, and they are always verified by them. So I sent this to IMDb:

Some people think I’m 80, over the hill, weigh 300 lbs and can barely see, let alone walk. Actually, I am 45, Greek, of royal birth, and an Olympic athlete with a black belt in Judo. I can speak 14 languages, and make love multiple times without a break if the scene calls for it. I have worked 12 times for Spielberg (I’m his favorite), mostly doing my own stunts. I need work. Here’s my number, in case CAA doesn’t return the call.

IMDb ignored me and hasn’t made this correction! H-e-e-l-p! Should I sue?

Hollywood News, up-to-the-minute

Posted in ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Uncategorized

Nikke Finke has a free site which I rather like, it’s where you go for the latest breaking news on the Hollywood front. It’s called DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD.

Today, she informed her readers that the managers were at it again, pleading their cause before a federal judge, but were thrown out. Here, she can speak for herself:

Personal managers took it on the chin Tuesday in U.S. District Court when Judge Dean Pregerson wouldn’t touch California’s Talent Agencies Act. Instead the judge threw out an outrageously broad lawsuit filed by the National Conference of Personal Managers seeking to overturn the state’s ban on managers “procuring” employment. That provision has effectively allowed clients  to void their management contracts and not pay commissions even if the managers obtained a job for them. (Managers are unlicensed whereas talent agents must be licensed by the state to procure employment.) Pregerson rejected the managers’ claim that California has created “involuntary servitude” for them. “Not being compensated for work performed does not inevitably make that work involuntary servitude,” the judge ruled. “Plaintiff’s members have choices.” He also rejected claims that the Talent Agencies Act violated the Commerce Clause, the Contracts Clause and the First Amendment.

Well, that got my pulse going and my blood-pressure pointing north. A lot of managers made comments outlining ideas for future strategy, and I just HAD to chime in with my voice and MY comment:

John Clark says:

ACTOR HERE! Spoiler alert – rant ahead – listen up.
 We actors are entrepreneurs by instinct and training and dreaming. When we’re not working, we work out, honing our craft, and wait for the phone to ring. And wait and wait and wait. 
So, in frustration, we pick up the phone and call a casting director about a project we heard about, maybe from a writer friend, and a part we think we’re right for. She/he won’t take the call. We call the packager.  Same thing.
 We call Breakdown Services to ask for a reasonably priced subscription to their researched data-base of parts, characters, and jobs available day by day. They won’t sell to us.
 We’re SHUT OUT of OUR industry!


Remove all of us actors? What will be left is NOTHING…NOTHING…NOTHING.


Remove all of these agents and managers, then what’s left? Why, the world of entertainment and fantasy fulfillment for paying audiences happily humming away.


I’m eighty years old. I’ve been a part of our industry since I was a famous child star in England before the end of World War 2, and quite famous since (for all the wrong reasons.) I won’t be around much longer.
 And I say F**K Y*U to agents and managers for preventing me from making direct contact with my goals. [I used the actual words, which Nikke allows and my webmaster doesn’t.]


I pass this advice to the next generation of actors. “Get in touch with your own self, and make sure there are no degrees of separation between you, your soul, your spirit, your sense of creativity, your business sense, and any roadblocks in and to your ability to GET WORK!

”
Thank you judge, thank you SAG/AFTRA/EQUITY, and thank you Government for controlling the agencies by licensing them, and rejecting the “managers” of actors’ lives. If these “personal managers” really want to “represent” their clients, then they should marry them, and go all the way.
 And that is my rant for the day.”

There was an immediate response.

WTF are you talking about? Because CD’s won’t take your calls, Managers shouldn’t be paid for the work they do for you insecure, ranting, miserable actors?

Comment by Huh? — Thursday March 7, 2013 @ 2:22pm PST 

To which I said

If you had half of a brain, you’d have made sure that the client’s checks, contractually, were made payable to you, subtract your commission, and then net it off to the client. But then you’d be a fiduciary, subject to the laws of fraud, and actors are smart enough to see that, and won’t let you do it. Which makes YOU an insecure, ranting miserable ex-hairdresser manager. Boo hoo.

  • Comment by John Clark — Thursday March 7, 2013 @ 5:33pm PST

(Oh Lord, maybe I should not have said that. Now I’ll NEVER get a manager to represent me, nor an agent for that matter! Or maybe even a haircut .)

Christopher Dorner (cont’d)

Posted in A SPACE FOR REFLECTION, COMMENTARY-Passing parade

February 13, 2013

We must assume that Dorner’s life has ended. He left quite a trail, and many loose ends, which we now have to pick up and make sense of. I plan to resurrect the record of his days in court, under the watchful eye of, and rejected by, Judge David Yaffe, who has just resigned, bowing to the pressure of the corruption exposed by 70 year old Richard Fine, whom he consigned to 18 months of solitary confinement in Men’s Jail, and was released last year. In a way, Yaffe started this whole thing.

We owe the following profound description and overview of what went down to Darwin Adikia, who posted it at CNN.com. It is very much worth reading, and shows how we are all involved, like it or not, by what we do, and by what we don’t do.

Continue Reading

The Dorner Manifesto, unedited

Posted in A SPACE FOR REFLECTION, COMMENTARY-Passing parade

February 7, 2013
Reading ex-officer Dorner’s manifesto is a chilling experience. He is obviously sincere, and his points are well taken. Many in society feel just as he does, whether perceived as wronged by co-workers or lawyers or the courts or family or loved ones. They too have seen their efforts to get satisfaction frustrated at every turn. But it is not given to normal and sane people to act out as he is doing. We have psychiatrists to prevent that kind of thing.

Dorner will probably be cornered and shot on sight, as in Bin Laden. He won’t be taken alive to express his truth from the dock, which would be a pity. We could all learn from what he might say. We all have our truths, and we will want to hear his.

Now we read of 2 ladies in a pickup minding their business which was to deliver the L.A. Times along a street in Torrance very early in the morning. They were ambushed by cops, then wildly shot at in a fusillade of bullets, nearly losing their lives. A case of very mistaken identity. The police thought they saw a large black man driving a truck of the wrong make and color.

I may be too late now, but I have a word of advice for what Mr. Dorner should do next. He should hole up in a house somewhere, then call the media, then call the police to come and get him. Then he should emerge with his hands up for all to see, maybe waving a white flag. Then he has a chance to not get shot, appear in the dock and express himself, and possibly get a measure of satisfaction before he’s put away, probably for life, where he might become a very good writer.

I have reproduced his statement here, unedited, but spell checked. He’s an intelligent man, well read, and a liberal! And many many showbiz and other notable people will see that their names are listed, his favorites and his unfavorites, among some shrewd observations.

**********************************

Feb 4, 2013 9:14:04 AM
From: Christopher Jordan Dorner /7648
To: America
Subj: Last resort

I know most of you who personally know me are in disbelief to hear from media reports that I am suspected of committing such horrendous murders and have taken drastic and shocking actions in the last couple of days. You are saying to yourself that this is completely out of character of the man you knew who always wore a smile wherever he was seen. I know I will be vilified by the LAPD and the media. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil that I do not enjoy but must partake and complete for substantial change to occur within the LAPD and reclaim my name. The department has not changed since the Rampart and Rodney King days. It has gotten worse. The consent decree should never have been lifted. The only thing that has evolved from the consent decree is those officers involved in the Rampart scandal and Rodney King incidents have since promoted to supervisor, commanders, and command staff, and executive positions.

The question is, what would you do to clear your name?

Name;
A word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.

Name Synonyms;
reputation, title, appellation, denomination, repute.

A name is more than just a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s your life, your legacy, your journey, the sacrifices and everything you’ve worked hard for every day of your life as an adolescent, young adult and adult. Don’t let anybody tarnish it when you know you’ve lived up to your own set of ethics and personal ethos.

Continue Reading

The Queen’s Speech 2012

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, COMMENTARY-Passing parade

It was 1945, Princess Elizabeth was 18 and I was a small impressionable boy of 12 when I met her. It was just before the end of the war. I’ve been dazzled ever since, so be kind.

The speech is an annual affair, and this year the message was particularly worth watching and reading because Britain had a mind-spinning time of it in 2012. Here she made a speech to start off her Diamond Jubilee year.

June 3. Marked the beginning of her Jubilee celebrations (that’s 60 years on the throne), catching up fast with Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and 7 months. We followed the procession of ships on the Thames on a rather watery day.

July 23. She sent a message of congratulations to cyclist Bradley Wiggins, who had just won the Tour de France, the first Brit to ever do so, and was later to win the most golds at the Olympics.

July 27. She opened the Summer Olympics, hosted in London, and

August 29. Opened the London Paralympics.

September 10. Andy Murray became the first Brit (ok, Scot), to win a Grand Slam event (US Open) since Fred Perry in the thirties. He’d also won gold at the Olympics, first to do so in 100 years.

Now it’s the end of the year, and with 2013 upon us, it remains to be seen what’s in store for an encore.

Makes me proud to remember the land of my birth, although I gave up citizenship long ago for silly reasons (unbelievably, I was protesting my country’s intervention in Biafra!)

God Save the Queen still rings in my ears. Happy and Glorious. Can’t help it.

 

QUARTET (cont’d)

Posted in ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Showbiz sites

Dustin spoke on stage after the screening with many funny anecdotes in the making of QUARTET, especially in his director/actor dealings with Maggie Smith, who has quite a reputation for being “difficult”, as does Dustin. He said they got along “just fine”.

He spoke of the minutiae of the producing/directing process, how he had little to work with in terms of budget, and had to complete it using his own money. He also spoke of his preferred director methods. Hates those who keep precise lists and set ideas of how actors and equipment should move, and likes those who arrive on set with very open minds.

I am second to none in my admiration of Dustin, who is 5 years younger than me, unwillingly became an unknown actor in his early twenties, while I unwillingly became a child star aged eleven. I not only admire his acting, but also his approach to his career, designed by himself. Just as conflict exists in the good story told, it exists in the good life lived. I think we share that approach.

I’ve talked here about the ways the actor can manipulate his senses and emotions, from the inside or outside, in the unending quest for a great performance. And about having no degrees of separation between you and yourself.

Agents and managers are tools. But here’s where that plan falls apart. If you are a star, an icon like Dustin, you can do it. If you are a star like Lynn Redgrave, you can also do it (with my help). If you occupy the lower depths, like me these days, you will become the tool of those same agents and managers. The tail wags the dog.

The almost legendary story of the Agatha production in 1979 is worth telling here, only because he brought it up at great length. As a matter of fact, he chose to bring up Vanessa’s behavior too, recalling her unpopular political dance with PLO honcho Yasser Arafat. He held his nose, as though to say “Vanessa didn’t notice this?” And of course, it didn’t help the marketing of the movie.

Dustin had been invited to join Barbara Streisand, Steve McQueen, Sidney Poitier and Paul Newman who had set up their own producing company First Artists Productions. They felt that they were the most important part of movies because they were the draw, and were seen onscreen (probably true). Besides, they didn’t trust the majors’ accounting practices (definitely true), and wanted to choose their own scripts and have approval of directors, casts, writers, and final edit. They invited Dustin in with his own production company Sweetwall Productions. The second to involve Dustin, this was their 17th, Agatha.

It was beset with problems from the start. Julie Christie bowed out for health reasons. Producer David Puttnam (now a life peer) was upset he had to accommodate Dustin into what he thought was a finished script and also bowed out, (but first vowed never to work with this “difficult” actor again.) Dustin, by then executive producer, had gone over budget, and so the company took his control away. Dustin claimed he wasn’t paid in the agreed way, and insisted on maintaining control all the way up to final cut. Recently hired lawyer Phil Feldman had come in as president and chief executive officer though, changed the conceptual field, and got himself sued by Dustin for 30 million dollars, which was the amount Dustin claimed for his fee, plus what he put into it, plus the amount he claimed the movie would have made if he’d been left alone. Trust lawyers to fix things, right?

Anybody who thinks that major stars are loving warm human beings are just plain wrong. They lord it, often unyieldingly, over their individual turfs.

Anyway, it became clear that the presence of Agatha director Michael Apted approved by Agatha actor/producer Dustin Hoffman, this night was not without purpose. It was a time for digs, and they flew. But Dustin also graciously congratulated Michael for the success of 56 Upthe continuing follow-up of his Up Series examination of cradle-to-grave British lives.

The time came for the Q & A, but there were no microphones available for audience participation, and so an actor in the front row got up and joined them with his actor question. Then I decided it was my turn. I put up my hand, and Michael asked me up on the stage, and so it was that I shook hands with Dustin.

I said that he and I had worked together some 50 years ago, but it was not as actors. It was in the kitchen at Ted Flicker’s The Premise on Bleecker Street, where we made the coffee, served the refreshments and cleaned up afterwards, while his friend Gene Hackman was improvising along with George Segal and Joan Darling up on the platform.

“You”, said I, “went on to become the iconic star that you are, and I went on to become Vanessa Redgrave’s brother-in-law, and then a director. And come to think of it, didn’t Vanessa get into the litigation act too? I have vague memories of that.” He looked a little stunned.

At which point Michael hurriedly asked me to move on with a question, which was “Now that you’ve crossed the aisle into the director’s corner, will it have changed you when you next act in a movie?” To which he replied that he wasn’t sure, but it would certainly make him more sensitive.

[As I left the stage, I couldn’t help but recall an essay I had written for the L.A. Daily journal. In it, I reflected that I’d studied acting technically from the outside (British, Canadian) inside (U.S. the Method, Lee), and then ventured into the theater of the truly absurd, the inside of a courtroom, not pretending real life, but actually doing real life, villains and crooked deus ex machinas and all. I thought I bet Dustin or Pacino or De Niro wouldn’t dare go that far. Maybe I’m ahead of ’em. Yup, foolish, and I’m proud of myself!!!]

And so a great evening came to an end.

Go and see Quartet. I think you’ll like it.

OUR PRESIDENT’S SOBERING SPEECH

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Courts & Judges, Links to new justice, My Family and Me

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown, Connecticut:
A grim Barack Obama made a powerful speech tonight from the Sandy Hook Elementary School auditorium, where he told residents not to lose heart in the wake of the devastating shootings that last Friday took 27 lives, including 20 children, 5 teachers, 1 school psychologist, and the gunman aged 20.

He slowly read the names of these innocent children, just 6 and 7 years old:

“Charlotte . . . Daniel . . . Olivia . . . Josephine . . . Ana . . . Dylan . . . Madeleine . . . Catherine . . . Chase . . . Jesse . . . James . . . Grace . . . Emilie . . . Jack . . . Noah . . . Caroline . . . Jessica . . . Benjamin . . . Avielle . . . Allison.”

The speech, it should be noted, came from his own hand and heart.

He then turned his attention to the living, which is where this column usually heads. It  should be read and thought about by everyone, but especially by Family Court judges, Family Court “specialist” lawyers, Family Court “child evaluators”, the justices on the Courts of Appeal, the justices on the State Supreme Court, and the mothers and fathers caught up in the throes of divorce and the, always, always, unavoidable betrayal of their children.

Obama said “This town reminds Americans what should really matter. . . ”

He pointed out that the nation is failing at what he called “our first task,” which was to care for the children of the nation.  “It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.”

He then asked: “Can we truly say that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? . . . a chance at a good life, with happiness and with purpose? If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We are not doing enough, and we will have to change.”

We can’t tolerate this any more. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

I hope I will be excused for focusing my thoughts on our living children – all ages, from young to old. They are still with us, they are not lost, and we still have a chance to get it right. Let this be a way of making amends for the dead.

Here is the full speech and text.

DISCUSSION

The result of what Adam Lanza did was evil, no question about that.

But was his intent evil? I don’t think so, because I don’t think that children are inherently evil.

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Parental Alienation, Syndrome or what?

Posted in COMMENTARY-Passing parade, Links to Courts & Judges, Links to medical sites, Links to new justice

URGENT UPDATE

December 14, 2012:
With the terrifying news out of Newtown Connecticut this morning, it is now more clear than ever that psychological profiling of any student demonstrating possibly dangerous behavior be ordered, and to hell with their personal right to privacy. When lives and guns are involved, emergency methods must be taken. It seems that these perpetrators are seeking closure of some kind. When that involves mass killing and the taking of their own lives, society is at risk, remains unprotected, and learns nothing.

It’s time the American Psychiatric Association got its act together. Let the ruling body immediately review the latest DSM-5, and “clean it up” to the extent of including a requirement that any individual inflicted with the pain of Parental Alienation (PAS or whatever)  HAS A FORM OF MENTAL SICKNESS. Until this is done, students wracked with overwhelming conflicts lurking in their inmost family relationships will continue to seek relief. It is worth noting that the first victim of this latest outrage by a twenty-year old male student was his sleeping gun-loving mother, and then on to the elementary school to take down teachers and babies. This happened in the peaceful Connecticut countryside community of Newtown. 28 people have died, including himself, and still counting!

[Piers Morgan on CNN publicized his opinions on gun violence, and incredibly, the NRA is asking for his eviction from the shores of the USA! This column appeared in MailOnline on December 30, the end of the year. He says it better than I could have done]

December 13, 2012:
I see in an article in the current Time Magazine (Dec. 17), a report on the new guidelines for Mental Illness. It summarizes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), used by doctors for their purposes and insurance companies, on which to base their decisions. The new features of the DSM-5 have just been approved, and will be published in May 2013. They’re just “cleaning it up” until then.

The article tells us that in the world of mental health, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is more or less the bible. Doctors use the DSM’s definitions to diagnose depression, stuttering, fetishism, schizophrenia and more than 300 other conditions. Insurance companies use it to justify reimbursements; without a DSM code, mental-health patients usually don’t get a dime. And the manual carries enormous cultural heft: when it stopped listing homosexuality as a mental disorder–after a 1974 psychiatrists’ debate in which being gay was deemed sane by a vote of 5,854 to 3,810–gay rights received a crucial boost.

Among the many conditions listed, those with affects caused by Hoarding, Bereavement, Binge Eating etc. are allowed; Aspergers and Autistics is a maybe, and Parental Alienation Syndrome is definitely not in.

Much has been written and much has been discredited in the efforts of Richard Gardner, who came up with it back in the early 1980s. But I’ve had personal reasons to revisit and rethink the case of Parental Alienation, and whether it rises to the level of a syndrome. There is a storm of controversy attached to it.

But first, what is a syndrome? Wikipedia comes up with this definition:

In medicine and psychology, a syndrome is the association of several clinically recognizable features, signs (observed by someone other than the patient), symptoms (reported by the patient), phenomena or characteristics that often occur together, so that the presence of one or more features alerts the healthcare provider to the possible presence of the others.

Let’s assume that you are a divorced or separated parent, and that your kid is firmly alienated towards you, one of the parents, and there is no underlying reason! By underlying reason, I mean that you, the alienated parent has no history of abuse, violence, or drunken behavior, and instead your behavior has always been loving and steadfast and caring, and, even better, you have always provided financial support for the kid without protest. And in fact, used to have an excellent relationship.

I believe that the condition has become hard-wired into the child’s mental processes, and is therefore a form of clinical sickness capable of being rectified.

Well, the DSMs say that, nevertheless, it is not an insurable condition. It may require medical intervention, or it may require counseling, but it’s only if you go along with their opinion and it’s your choice. As far as the courts are concerned, it doesn’t exist as a syndrome, or an identifiable medical condition, and will probably refer to the DSM protocol.

It is my view that, lacking any other probable cause, a syndrome IS operating. Professional intervention is not only advisable, but, bearing in mind the kid’s future workplace career and college education, should be required by any licensing authority, and even ordered to be tackled by the medical profession, the schools, and the courts. The official view seems to be that the individual’s and family’s right to privacy comes first, and the public’s right to be safe and protected comes second.

Whether the other parent, the one conditioning the child towards alienation, should be punished is a different issue, already in hand. That parent may well go to prison if the other one pushes for it, for the courts frown on that behavior. But if that happened, even such an order most probably will not release the child from his or her frozen mental state, might even make it worse (“So you put my Dad/Mom in prison? I HATE you”), and therapy will still be needed. Please, do everyone, and your child, a favor.

FLIGHT

Posted in ACTORS' & DIRECTORS' CORNER, COMMENTARY-Passing parade

Saturday, November 3rd. 2012

I don’t bother with moviegoing much any more. My time is taken up with real life things, and I don’t need to escape into worlds of action, horror, fantasy, and in-your-face scatology, and I fear that the same might be said for the general population, as the new economic/political scene gets under way.

However, partly to celebrate my 80th birthday, and partly to see something I could relate to (I have a pilot license and owned 2 planes), and as a SAG member for the past 50 years, I decided to accept Paramount’s invitation for actors to see a special screening of this movie yesterday at the Writers Guild Theater, and interact with the makers at a Q & A afterwards.

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HMS Bounty Needed Another Mutiny!

Posted in A SPACE FOR NOSTALGIA, COMMENTARY-Passing parade

Such irony!!!
The crew should have refused Captain’s orders to go out with a hurricane over the horizon. I’m sure Cap’n Bligh would not have, he was too good of a sailor.

The tall ship had left Connecticut last week en route for St. Petersburg, Fla., heading South and keeping near to the coast. It’s reported that the owners were seeking a buyer somewhere down in the Gulf.

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