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''I'm Bullshitting as Fast as I Can'' 

The Art and Artifice of Beeaje Quick

Wednesday, Apr 14 1999
Photo by Issa Sharp
ENTHRONED IN HIS BIG VELVET ARMCHAIR IN the cavernous Vogue theater, Beeaje Quick calls for a break. He removes his straw boater and leans his bald head forward. A makeup artist named Susanna rushes up to dust his pate with a gigantic brush. James and Alex, two young assistants who are propping up the lighting, shift to a resting position. They work as unpaid interns for Quick, who likens his relationship with them to that between master and student in the film The Karate Kid. Just as Pat Morita made young Ralph Macchio wash his car and scrub his floor, so does Quick enlist James and Alex. "I teach them how to clean things well," he explains. "If you can't clean a mirror properly, how are you going to be able to make a beautiful piece of art?"

Today, the interns are excused from Windex 101 to help out with the photo shoot for this story, which Quick has turned into a full-on production. He started the day by stipulating the exact poses he wants -- for this one, in the velvet chair in the darkened theater, he expects as close a replica as possible of a shot that appeared in Detour a decade ago, when the magazine featured his short-lived Hollywood café. He fixes his soft-edged face in a brooding expression, directs the use of lights and resists the photographer's attempts to change the pose --pouting anytime she tries.

Quick's entourage watches from the nearby rows of seats. Rana Joy Glickman, who is co-producing his first feature film, is here with her dog DaVinci on her lap. She's joined by the girlfriend contingent: current flame Lorinda Earl, and exes Tashia Hales, at heart a sculptor but who these days works on television commercials, and Eddie Daniels, an actress and the dialogue coach on the film.

As they eat Hershey bars and pass around a silver flask of something pungent and fruity, Quick makes a point of apologizing for the "awkwardness" of having all these past and present paramours in one room. But his actions suggest otherwise. He calls Earl his "beloved," then gives Daniels a long hug. He caresses Hales' cheek, holds her hand and compliments her on her "soulfulness" and "incredible beauty." He addresses every woman in the room, including the makeup artist, the photographer and me, as "darling," "baby" and "love." It is the Quick seduction laid bare. "I work with women 90 percent of the time," he said in an earlier conversation. "Women have patience. The cliché of standing by your man is just very true."

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The ranks of the Quick faithful extend far beyond his romantic entanglements. Investment bankers, art dealers and movie executives, not to mention MTV and the AFI, have all swooned for him and his art. He is continually discovered, perhaps because he is a quixotic self-promoter, perhaps because he is a genuine original -- a rarity in Hollywood. Beeaje Quick sculpts, writes and makes films, but his greatest creation may well be himself.

 

Being on the verge can be a lifelong career.

THE VOGUE THEATER, AN OLD, SHUTTERED MOVIE palace on Hollywood Boulevard, until recently housed only the ghosts that the Society for the Paranormal says make it one of the most haunted sites in L.A. Now, unlikely objects of all sorts fill the dim lobby: a blacklit sketchbook inside an incubator; a line of bottles filled with red liquid in a long glass case; another case holding a series of rusty tools; a massive iron buoy housing a frail, child-size â mannequin. To the left of the concession stand, an angular chrome figure sits on an exercise bike. Suddenly it springs to life, pedaling steadily and emitting a crunching, industrial clamor. Then, as abruptly as it started, the pedaling stops, and Quick appears on the stairs. Tonight he is not only the star and director of the film he's about to show, but the theater's manager, concessionaire and projectionist.

"Hello, everyone," he says in his Australian accent. "Come on up."

The stairway is lined with luminarias, the walls covered with framed drawings accompanied by typewritten observations. All of the artwork is his, though often when people come for a screening and ask to meet the artist, he'll introduce them to his girlfriend. A slender woman with smiling eyes, high cheekbones and a huge, dreadlocked bun, Lorinda Earl has lived at the theater with Beeaje (pronounced bee-AZH) since shortly after he moved in a year ago. She doesn't much appreciate his little joke, and she's working to break him of the habit. "It makes me feel stupid," she says, "because it isn't my art." Her favorite Quick drawing is one of a heart in which the lines at the bottom don't meet; instead, one turns into a downward-pointing arrow. The saying that goes with it reads: "Misery is the gravity of happiness."

  • The Art and Artifice of Beeaje Quick

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