Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Lights! Camera! Disruption!


Despite living smack dab in the middle of one of the busiest cities in the world, our apartment is situated on a dead-end block, meaning there's virtually no traffic outside -- vehicle or pedestrian. So it was perplexing when I was woken up by loud dialogue, dialogue that seemed to be repeated over and over in a loop. (I work evenings, so shoot me for sleeping till noon each day!) Turns out they were filming something directly below our bedroom windows -- something that looked rather dumb when I got a closer look, involving an older man running out of a rowhouse with a sword(!), chasing someone down the street. No idea what it was for. But in a year or so if you see something matching this description, let me know! 

Confessions of a Casting Director

Is this my next read? 

Joel Thurm -- a casting director who famously put John Travolta in "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" then went on to cast everything from "Grease," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" and "Airplane" to "The Bob Newhart Show," "Taxi" and "The Golden Girls" -- has a juicy new memoir out: "Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season."

In it, he details sexual encounters with both Rock Hudson and Robert Reed -- yet doesn't seem to have anything on Vinnie Barbarino ... who just happened to give him a blurb. (A quid pro homo, perhaps?) 

Page Six reports that Thurm writes that he and Rock Hudson locked eyes at an industry house party in the ’70s for the first full-length, big-budget, gay-porn flick called “Boys in the Sand.” The "Giant" star, who was one of Thurn's childhood crushes, beckoned him to follow him into a bedroom.

However, once they were alone, Thurm “couldn’t get it up” for Hudson.

“I was embarrassed and mortified … getting it up was a specialty of mine,” Thurm, now 80, explains with a laugh. “I couldn’t do it because he was Rock Hudson! It so intimidated me. Someone said, ‘Well, why didn’t you just blow him?’ I said, ‘Because I was too …’ I couldn’t do anything.” Thurm claims that the “Pillow Talk” star was unperturbed by the failed sexual encounter as “it had happened to him before.”

Despite the blip with Hudson, Page Six writes that the casting honcho claims to have had a more successful rendezvous with Robert Reed, who was best known for playing Mike Brady on “The Brady Bunch.” At the time, Thurm had cast and was producing the 1976 TV movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” starring a young John Travolta. He claims that Reed was irked at having to play second fiddle to Travolta and particularly incensed by having to have his hair kinked and then unkinked twice -- a laborious process -- in one day. In an effort to smooth things over, Thurm allegedly went to Reed’s dressing room.

“It was known [that he was gay],” Thurm says. “But I didn’t go in there with the intention of that. I went in there with the intention of just, ‘Hey, thank you for putting up with what we have to do … “And then, I don’t know, I just started rubbing his back. I thought, ‘Well that’s what you do in a situation like that.’ I had no intention of anything more than that. But he seemed to respond.”

Thurm notes with a laugh that after the assignation Reed “went back to being the same prick he was before.”

"Sex, Drugs and Pilot Season" is available HERE.

Ted Danson and Marilu Henner turned out for Joel's event last Friday at Book Soup in West Hollywood,  where I had my book own signing in 2014!

Tennis Tuesday

My feeling is this: If you're going to post a status like that, you'd might as well just pose like THIS.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Cindy Williams, TV's Shirley Feeney, Is Dead at 75

Sad to hear about the sudden death of Cindy Williams. From "American Graffiti" and "The Conversation" to "Laverne & Shirley" and "Strip Mall," Cindy was a joy in every role she took on. As a young gay boy, "Laverne & Shirley" was my absolute favorite show on television. Although I desperately wanted to be a Laverne -- brassy and boy crazy -- I was such a Shirley, right down to my refusal to break the rules and love of cats, stuffed or otherwise. (Cindy was especially great in the episode about her alcoholic brother, played by Ed Begley Jr.)

I hadn't realized Cindy was about five years younger than Penny Marshall, so even though Laverne died in 2018 they both lived to be 75 ... which seems fitting given that at the height of their fame they used to count lines to make sure things were even! 

In a statement, Williams’s children, Emily and Zak Hudson, described their mother as “one of a kind,” noting their mother’s sense of humor and “glittering spirit.” They added, “We have always been, and will remain, SO proud of her.”


RIP, Cindy. And say hi to Laverne, Squiggy, the Big Ragu, Edna, Mr. DeFazio and Boo-Boo Kitty when you get to the big Pizza Bowl in the sky.

Who's behind those Foster Grants? 

Also sad to hear about the recent deaths of Television frontman Tom Verlaine and Lisa Loring (TV's Wednesday Addams). The hits keep coming and sadly always will.

And yes, I'm listening to "Laverne & Shirley Sing" tonight. 💔💔💔

Note: Michael McKean, aka Lenny/"This Is Spinal Tap"/Mr. Green in "Clue," wrote Track 2 ("Five Years On" and backing vocals were performed by Diana Canova (Corinne Tate on "Soap") and Melissa Manchester, among others! 

A Visit to Edward Hopper's New York


Have been an Edward Hopper fan as long as I can remember, so was excited to check out the exhibition over at the Whitney Museum with my friend Chad. Although not comprehensive -- Nighthawks wasn't flown in from the Art Institute of Chicago, nor did they borrow Chop Suey from its private owner -- it was thrilling to see many of his classic works in the flesh. I think I was drawn to Hopper as a boy because he seemed to be offering a voyeuristic view into the world of regular New York City dwellers, something I so desperately wanted to be. Viewing the paintings now with a quarter century of Manhattan life behind me allowed me to see them through a new lens, one that left me feeling very much at peace. More snapshots BELOW.

Weekend Tennis Roundup

Major events rarely turn out the way I want them to. This year's Australian Open was an exception. Keep reading BELOW.

Song of the Day: 'Baby Hold On' by James Hetfield

I stumbled upon an Eddie Money tribute concert on AXS last night, filmed in 2020 with an assortment of aged rockers (REO Speedwagon, Greg Kihn, Mickey Thomas, Tommy Tutone, Sammy Hagar) doing straight-forward versions of the late rocker's greatest hits. Being the diehard fan that I am, I was loving every second of it, and enjoyed watching two of Eddie's sons play in the band -- one cute, one built. (You may recall that I spent One Night in Paradise back in 2012.) But the highlight of the show for me happened near the end, when James Hetfield performed "Baby Hold On." Damian had to explain to me who Hetfield was, going on to explain that the Metallica front man became hot once he got a haircut at some point -- which made the unplugged arrangement by a heavy metal icon all the more spectacular. Have a listen below.