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Archives: May 2005

Memorial Day Weekend Miscellany

Hello and welcome back! I hope that Memorial Day Weekend left you refreshed and well-rested, or at least that you have Tylenol handy. Lots of things happened this weekend but we’re only going to allude to them briefly because this blogging thing is all about the now: Ted Koppel and Wolf Blitzer each used Memorial Day to actually memorialize; Paul Krugman got huffy over Daniel Okrent’s final column, and the Times promises a knock-down drag-out fight in the oft-bookmarked and breathlessly-read Public Editor’s Forum; Katie and Diane are getting old already; Kurt Andersen is imitated, flattered, but disappointed; David Carr channelled Modest Mouse; everyone but me has seen “Revenge of the Sith”; the NYT wondered when the Da Vinci code will come out in paperback (they should have asked the guy next to me on the plane, he had one. So if you speak French, you just saved $20!); it was actually warm; Tina Brown took a final bow; and the NYT won our fishy hearts by saying that “The Sound of Music” still rocks. Oh, come on, like you don’t have a Captain Von Trapp fantasy. More stuff happened but since now we’re all thinking about Captain Von Trapp we’ll let it go. Hope you all had a good one.

Los Angeles: Bon or Mal?

Earlier this month in the pages of the Atlantic, Bernard-Henri Levy proclaimed that Los Angeles “will die,” mostly because, unlike great European cities, we don’t have a central plaza where you can go have your caricature drawn and get pooped on by pigeons. But on Sunday at the Hammer, Michel Houellebecq opined that “the future is cities like L.A.,” and old-world cities like Paris and New York will decline. (For those who don’t know, philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy and novelist Michel Houellebecq are two of the leading public intellectuals in France.) (For those who don’t know, France is a country in Europe, not far from George Clooney’s villa.)

Houellebecq’s favorite things about Southern California seem to be a kitschy overdecorated inn and a giant pet store chain. But that’s the great thing about Los Angeles! There’s something for everyone. Although next time he’s here I think he should check out the beach.

Of course, European intellectuals have long been fascinated with Los Angeles. (Can I get a shout-out for the Frankfurt School?) But it’s nice to know we’re still on the radar.

From the Annals of the WGA

From the Sunday LAT Calendar piece on Doug Liman and his chaotic directorial style (my bold):

Several individuals who worked on “Bourne Identity” say it went off track in part because Liman constantly changed his mind about what he would do on any given day. He would set up to shoot something and then not shoot it. He frequently asked to reshoot scenes that had already been filmed. “He never knew what he wanted to do,” says Marshall. “He would reshoot some scenes four or five times because he had a new idea. It was ‘Let me see the footage and I’ll decide whether I like it or not.’ ”


When the film was finished, the studio expected the worst. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy, according to a source with firsthand knowledge, actually arbitrated against himself with the Writers Guild so that he wouldn’t have to take sole credit for the film.

Written By, are you listening? Do a feature on the Gilroy vs. Gilroy arbitration!

No Memorial Day Posting

Back on Tuesday.

Vacation, all the Fishies ever wanted

Fishy-fis.gifYay, it’s Memorial Day Weekend and we’re all going on holiday! Or, you know, staying home and lying about it. Either way, if Romenesko can skip off, we can, too. The Fishies and their fishy hostesses will return Tuesday morning with all sorts of new stuff. We look forward to seeing you all wearing white real soon! Have a great weekend!

Hunter S. Thompson to have really bizarre memorial service

fear.gifMark your calendars – on August 20th, the earthly remains of Hunter S. Thompson will be shot from a cannon onto his Colorado ranch, as per his last wishes.

Johnny Depp, Thompson’s onscreen alter ego, is bankrolling the construction of a 150-foot-tall steel tower shaped like Thomson’s famed “gonzo fist.” According to the Aspen Daily news, a “dagger-like steel shaft,” will rise 135 feet before fist which is to hold the cannon that will blast Thompson’s ashes across the ranch as family and friends look on.

The ceremony, timed at the six-month anniversary of his suicide, will be private, with guests including Johnny Depp, Sean Penn and Jack Nicholson (John Cusack, you going?)

Earlier this year in March, the Aspen Daily News ran a contest seeking the perfect cannon for the event, asking for submissions of 100 words or less on “Why should your cannon be used to blast Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s cremated remains into the sky?” (The contest is over but I can’t find out who won; lemme get back to you on that).

I can think of no punchline for this, which is probably exactly how Hunter S. Thompson would have wanted it.

Neal Shapiro: Upping the “Today” show body count?

It’s been three days since the New York Daily News reported* that NBC News prez Neal Shapiro was planning to step down. Conventional wisdom suggests it’s a done deal, but there have been no NBC press releases as of yet.

Shapiro has been president of NBC News since June 2001, and his shows — “The NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams,” “Meet the Press” and “Today” — are all on top. Ah, but one of those shows is “Today,” that ink-generating albatross with the rapidly-gaining rival That Shall Remain Nameless (it’s GMA!).

And as we all know, “Today” is giving Jeff Zucker a nasty ulcer (that and the whole last-place TV thing).

It’s unclear whether Shapiro is being forced out or what, but the NYT‘s Jacques Steinberg reports that Zucker, after being asked about finger-pointing regarding the “Today” slippage, said (ominously): “At the end of the day, each of us is responsible for the units we run. We’re all responsible for the successes and failures in our particular units.” (BTW, Zucker was once exec. producer of “Today.”)

Steinberg also quotes two anonymous (hmmmm)”senior executives” who say that Shapiro wants to “jump before being pushed,” a la the recently-ousted Tom Touchet (a Shapiro hire). Meanwhile, the “Today” team remains in flux: TV Newser confirms that former Maury EP Amy Rosenblum was appointed “senior producer” of the third hour of “Today”, reporting to Touchet replacement Jim Bell.

Gossip! Conjecture! Rampant speculation! And no word either way from NBC. TV Newser has some new-prexy suggestions; Phil Rosenthal at the Chicago Tribune has a nice rundown, as does Newsday. One thing is certain: Neal Shapiro’s vacation is probably not very relaxing.

Shapiro may be leaving NBC News [Newsday]
NBC News May Get New Chief [NYT]
Morning gloom likely to doom NBC News exec [Chicago Tribune]
Shapiro ‘Replacement Watch’ Begins [Broadcasting & Cable (subscription)]

*Yes Lloyd, we know it was you, and, yes, we’re proud of you.

tu ciudad: Great Non-White Hope

ciu.jpgThe inaugural issue of tu ciudad is on the stands, and while it won’t win any Pulitzers, it’s a surprisingly entertaining read. Which strikes me as a small social milestone: Latinos are now better than Anglos at putting out insipid yuppie lifestyle magazines. For instance, the restaurant listings actually include places you haven’t been to and might like to try. (And which don’t advertise in the magazine!) And there is a two-page spread about LA Times editorial-page editor Andres Martinez wherein he recommends intellectually demanding books (for instance, a constitutional law casebook). Hard to imagine this sort of thing in, say, Angeleno or Los Angeles Confidential.

Take My Magazine… Please

LA.COMfidential reports on last night’s party for the Los Angeles Magazine comedy issue:

The comedians that performed at last night’s party for the comedy issue of Los Angeles magazine at the Henry Fonda Theater should have come as our date. We had fun. Apparently they didn’t:

Dom Irrera:

“Thank you for yawning. Nothing inspires a comedian like an open-mouth yawn.”

“I don’t know why I got up here. I’m already in the magazine. This is like a corporate date. The seats are too far from each other. It’s a little noisy at the bar.”

Host Rodney Perry:

“I’m working way too hard for these little chuckles you’re giving me. This is bulls***.”

The issue itself, which is not online yet, includes a surprise-free lineup of the 25 funniest people in LA. (#1: Ellen DeGeneres.) 25? I know that numbers on the cover sell magazines, but why not use a comedy number, like ‘bazillion’ or ’3.9?’ Also included are rather poignant profiles of Kathy Griffin and Dom Irrera, who apparently kills in Columbus.

60 Minutes II: The unkindest cut of all

60 minutes ix-nay.pngAccording to our in-the-know cousin at TVNewser, the staff of 60 Minutes II was decimated yesterday. A CBS staffer confirmed early reports that a wide swath was cut through the staff:

Most of the ’60 Minutes Wednesday’ staff lost their jobs today…a handful are going over to the Sunday ’60 Minutes’…some of us are being told to meet with executives at other CBS News broadcasts for possible openings…and a good portion were just told they’re out. It’s one of the saddest days I’ve ever seen in more than two decades of working for CBS News.

The New York Daily News reports that at least 50 people lost their jobs. Sigh. Happy holiday weekend from Les Moonves!