“There were brawls. I had guys die. You know, the show would end and someone’s still sitting there and then you realize they’re never getting up. I had a projectionist die one time in the booth. I heard the crowd booing, and then the movie’s off the screen. This is when there were carbon arc projectors, so a lot of times these projectionists would just fall asleep or they’d be screwing somebody up there and they’d forget to change the carbon arc. So I go up there…and the guy’s dead on the floor. I called the cops, and then I thought — this is how sick you’d get after being in New York for a few years in those days — I thought, ‘This is my big chance to actually shame a New York audience.’ So I went into this theater and I looked at them, and I said, ‘I’m very sorry for the inconvenience [but] the projectionist has passed away. We have someone going up there now, and your film will be on shortly.’ And they booed me!” — Savages author Don Winslow recalling a Times Square movie-theatre gig in the ’80s, reported by Bilge Ebiri in the Village Voice.
True story #2 (i.e., my own): I worked as a Brooklyn theatre manager sometime around late ’79 or early ’80. I honestly forget the name of the theatre, but it was a midsize house that played mainstream films. I remember telling the guy who’d hired me that I’d been a licensed projectionist in Connecticut and that I’d worked at the Carnegie Hall and Bleecker Street Cinemas under Sid Geffen. So I got the gig, but I became bored with the job very quickly. On top of which I was never all that reliable about keeping track of ticket sales and whatnot. I wasn’t skimming — I just wasn’t an efficient mathematical type. And then I decided to play Warren Zevon‘s Excitable Boy over the theatrical sound system before the show began. And I didn’t play it quietly — I had the sound levels up to at least 7 or 8. I was eventually canned, of course. The story of my life from the time I was 17 to the launch of Hollywood Elsewhere in August ’04 was “and then I got fired.”
Last night I watched the fourth and final segment in Oliver Stone‘s interviews with Russian president Vladmir Putin. Stone asked and asked about Russian hackings of the 2016 U.S. election, which of course Putin denied any involvement with. Like any gifted politician, the 64 year-old ruler is very good at deflection and evasion. And yet two weeks ago he acknowledged that Russian “patriotic hackers” may have cyber-meddled on some level. So there’s that.
Did I expect Putin to admit that he’s an iron-fisted authoritarian whose hand is obviously strengthened with other like-minded strongmen (like Orange Orangutan) in power around the globe? That he didn’t want Hillary Clinton to beat Donald Trump? That he has a copy of the pee-pee tape in his private safe? Of course not.
Stone’s questioning of Putin struck me as direct but collegial — i.e., not overly friendly but respectful, appropriately non-aggressive. I’ll tell you one thing. Say what you will about Putin but he’s a much smarter, wiser, better educated fellow than Trump. And certainly more emotionally mature. Putin may be a brutalist and a murderer of his enemies, but he’s no dummy. Putin is a player who knows how to behave; Trump is an animal.
After more than 50 hours of deliberations, Bill Cosby‘s trial on three charges of aggravated sexual assault against Andrea Constand was declared a mistrial today (i.e., Saturday, 6.17) after the jury declared it was “hopelessly deadlocked” on all counts.
This despite the obvious fact that Costand’s account of having been violated by Cosby after being drugged closely matched complaints from dozens of other women (over 40 according to the L.A. Times, 58 according to the Washington Post) — i.e., that the same thing had happened to them.
“The Cosbies” on the cover of New York a year or two ago.
Two of the Cosby jurors were black. Do I know for a fact that the O.J. syndrome was a factor? No, I don’t. But who wouldn’t be very, very surprised if they were told this wasn’t a significant reason for the jury’s inability to reach a verdict? We know that at least one juror was unable to vote guilty and send the beloved Cliff Huxtable to jail.
Cosby faced up to 10 years in the slam on each of the three counts. This is the jury system, the social values of this country, the way people tend to see things. You’re rich and famous and played a nice guy on TV? A juror or two will find a way not to convict.
Will Pennsylvania authorities re-try the case? Yes, they will.
“It’s a Cosby sweater….A COSBY SWEAT-AHHHH!”
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