With the ARCLIGHT serving as the new mecca for L.A.’s film festival circuit, it’s a little difficult these days to remember which fabulous celebration of celluloid you’re actually at. Is this the IFP Festival? The Hollywood Film Festival? No, wait, this time it’s the AFI FEST 2003, and Sunday brought the first of its two centerpiece galas, House of Sand and Fog, making its world premiere. After feasting on roast beef and red wine over at the SUNSET ROOM’s pre-party, celebs such as THORA BIRCH and DEBI MAZAR headed over to the CINERAMA DOME, where fellow festivalgoer JON FAVREAU (whose film The Big Empty also screened that night) had no qualms about faking his way onto the red carpet to pose for paparazzi along with his co-star SEAN BEAN. Inside, FoF VINCE VAUGHN worked the crowd, which for the most part was low-key and dignified, though there came a moment when those of us in the green-dot seats (read: comped) considered staging a revolt by moving our dots and ourselves into more choice seats, where A-listers such as the film’s stellar cast — SIR BEN KINGSLEY, JENNIFER CONNELLY (whose hot hubby Paul Bettany was down in San Diego for the premiere of Master and Commander), RON ELDARD,
SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO and FRANCES FISHER — made themselves comfortable. In his opening remarks, director VADIM PERELMAN thanked writer ANDRE DUBUS III, whose novel the film is based on. We noticed the celebrated author was stuck in the nosebleed section. Ah, that Hollywood hierarchy.
Do the Hokey-Folky
As if parking wasn’t hard enough to find around the WILSHIRE THEATER when a trio of mockumentary folk bands from A Mighty Wind put the hoot in hootenanny — although actress MEGAN MULLALLY got lucky with an unattended lot — then there was manager Mike LaFontaine (FRED WILLARD) constantly interrupting the hapless Jonathan Steinbloom (BOB BALABAN), who served as the evening’s MC, while looking for parking validation. The lobby was teeming with a mostly lefty Westside crowd, including director ROB REINER, who was talking politics with a small group of admirers. Actor STEPHEN COLLINS and actress MARCIA STRASSMAN chatted while others snapped up faux tour T-shirts and posters. A few non-musical actors from the film were in the audience, including MICHAEL HITCHCOCK and DON LAKE, who was one of many who brought his kids. In character and costume JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS,
JANE LYNCH and PARKER POSEY led the nine-member, über-perky THE NEW MAIN STREET SINGERS, getting the audience warmed up with a mix of sea shanties and bible-themed ditties. Next up were
THE FOLKSMEN, better known by their alter egos CHRISTOPHER GUEST, MICHAEL McKEAN and
HARRY SHEARER. The crowd really lost it for Mitch & Mickey (EUGENE LEVY and CATHERINE O’HARA), with the audience mimicking the film, shouting “We love you Mickey!” to an appreciative O’Hara. Life imitating art imitating life imitating art . . .
The Man Who Saw the World
Feral House has made a reputation publishing subversive and transgressive literature, with subjects ranging from the occult to pop culture to Muslim extremists. One of its recent offerings (and the inspiration for the club Bricktops) was MEL GORDON’s Voluptuous Panic: The Sex Industry in Weimar Berlin. Publisher ADAM PARFREY kicked off a reading series with a salon featuring Gordon, and a Weimar dress code, which only chanteuse LYDIA LUNCH and members of THE VELVET HAMMER attempted to re-create. Gordon began his lecture on the decadence of Germany between the wars by handing out embossed boxes containing aphrodisiac Chinese herbs, a popular treat in Weimar Berlin. Gordon’s tales were full of rampant morphine and absinthe abuse, homosexuality, prostitution, and wanton female cabaret performers urinating onstage when the audience displeased them. There were film clips of nudist camps and opium dens, but most fascinating was Gordon’s dissertation on Erik Jan Hanussen, the subject of his latest book, Hitler’s Jewish Clairvoyant. Not only was Hanussen a mystic who made a number of accurate predictions, and published his own magazine, he specialized in a wildly popular nightclub act hypnotizing socialites and SS wives into a state of orgasm, without laying a hand on them. Mesmerized by Gordon’s tales (and no doubt all in a glowing state) were musicians HOWIE PYRO and JAMES INTVELD,
filmmakers JULIAN NITZBERG and AUGUSTA, DJ SENOR AMOR, writer BRENDAN MULLEN, and
ZAMORA THE TORTURE KING, fresh from his monthlong stint at Knott’s Scary Farm. After Gordon’s lecture concluded, Hollywood legend KIM FOWLEY (no stranger to decadence himself) shook his head and mused to no one in particular, “David Bowie saw all this shit first!”
Glove Me Tender
“I wanted this to be an event where goths, gangbangers and hipsters were all in one place,” said photographer CARLOS BATTS, who curated the opening bash at ONE EYE: SPACE, adjacent to the formerly cracked-out transient residence hotel turned hot-spot the Gershwin Hotel. What better locale for a show called “CrazySexyHollywood” than the semi-seedy heart of, well, crazy, sexy Hollywood? The exhibit was part roving erotic beast (with upcoming stops from Arizona all the way to Montreal) and part release party for the latest Batts book of the same name. Sharing wall space with the trademark real-girls-behaving-badly Batts images were photographer STEVE DIET GOEDDE’s latex-dressed beauties,
PATRICK HOELCK’s pretty young things in diaphanous panties, DAVE NAZ’s topless girls in Paul Frank pantyhose, ESTEVAN ORIOL’s objet d’art of Latina pin-ups and bad-ass tattooed papis throwing gang signs, and the homoerotic art of hottie RICK CASTRO, who racks up as many Fahrenheit degrees as his subject
matter. All six shutterbugs were on site, rubbing elbows and other appendages with director
PAUL THOMAS ANDERSON, fetishwear designer MOLLY McGEE, comedian RONDELL SHERIDAN, actor SCOTT CAAN, metal demi-god GLENN DANZIG, performer and self-proclaimed “future cult icon”
LENORA CLAIRE, belly dancer ALSANA SIN from Desert Sin, members of the punk project MIDGET
HANDJOB, fellow lensers HEIDI “Bluegirl” CALVERT and OCTAVIO, Urb’s RAYMOND ROKER, models
YOLANDA and LILLIAN, and actor TONY WARD, who proved rubberneckworthy for the rubber-clad crowd. Love ’em or lube ’em.