By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Actually, the footage, including behind-the-scenes locker-room and bus shots, was quite enjoyable, and the music video by Bon Jovi was a real bonus.
Afterward, Jerry Buss took a bow. Fox and Derek Fisher squinted through the camera lights . . . and Chick Hearn, dear old Chick, lauded “his” team for “bringing back the magic to Los Angeles.” Actor John McKinley and singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams were there, but mysteriously, no Jack Nicholson. Shaquille O’Neal also was a no-show (reportedly, he was in a free-throw contest with a seventh-grade girls’ basketball team in Thousand Oaks, and losing), as was Kobe Bryant (he was helping his new bride pump iron, the better to carry around the rock he placed on her finger).
Before the Jell-O started jiggling, though, the topic of a repeat was raised. Now, I’m not saying the team lacks confidence, but there was an odor of doubt in the air. Confronted on the matter, Fisher shifted nervously before answering, “It will be a challenge next year, with everybody gunning for us.”
“What about the Denver Nuggets? Potential threat?” I asked.
Another shift, this time with a gulp and a nervous titter. “You never know,” he responded.
I took his answer to mean he fears the Nuggets. It was in his eyes. But it’s all good. We wouldn’t want the Lakers to get too cocky. With the Lakers L.A.’s only basketball franchise (the Clippers are more about “Big Redhead” Bill Walton practicing his lines for NBC telecasts), we’re counting on them to make us a dynasty.
The Donald's Crying Game
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if that sultry stranger in front of you is a man or a woman. Just ask noted billionaire and collector of fine women Donald Trump. Trump, who along with CBS owns the rights to the Miss Universe title, is fighting a trademark application filed by the Miss Gay Universe pageant. And according to Miss Gay Universe treasurer Francis Alvarez, the gist of The Donald’s claim is that people will confuse Miss Universe with her drag counterpart.
“I thought everyone in this day and age knew the difference between a drag queen and a real woman,” said Alvarez, a tall brunette decked out in pumps and a black gown. “It’s a contest for drag queens and not for women.”
Trump’s spokesperson referred questions to Miss Universe officials, who had no comment. But in documents opposing the trademark, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trial and appeal board, lawyers for Miss Universe said, “The close resemblance of the marks to each other will cause confusion or cause consumers to believe that Opposer [Miss Universe] has authorized or endorsed the quality of Applicant’s services.”
Global Pageantry Systems, Inc., based in Texas, has been staging Miss Gay Universe pageants since 1996. The group filed for a trademark in August 1999, sparking Trump’s opposition. Trump, who reportedly is trying to settle the dispute, offered the company $90,000 to stop using three beauty titles, including Miss Gay Universe and Miss Gay USA, Alvarez said. But the Hollywood-based pageant official, who has dreams of taking the relatively small U.S. contest international, said the offer is ridiculously low. He vows to continue fighting Trump, for years if necessary.
“He keeps implying that my pageant is like his pageant,” said Alvarez. “I just keep [responding] that that’s absurd.”
Absurd or not, Trump may have a case. According to University of Southern California law professor Dan Klerman, “The test for trademark infringement is whether there would be a ‘reasonable likelihood’ of consumer confusion. Trump could easily argue, and convince a judge or jury, that an ordinary person would think that Miss Gay Universe was sponsored by or affiliated with Miss Universe.”
Miss Gay Universe is set this year for August 3 through 5 in Oklahoma City. Until the case is resolved, Trump will have to settle for looking under the skirts like the rest of us.
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