Friday, July 16, 2010

Esther Williams and Hollywood Pool Parties

...They go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong!

LA's OUTFEST (it's still going on!) had so many great events that on Sunday I had to choose between a screenwriter's seminar and a pool party up on Mulholland Drive (how Hollywood is that?) hosted by "Milk" producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. 

The screenwriting panel included Barry Sandler, who wrote one of my all-time favorite gay themed films, 1982's hopeful Making Love.  You can read how that film tore me up right here - as it makes an indelible, heartbreaking impression especially coming from a 2010 perspective.

Being in Hollywood and being Jesse, I hit the pool party.  As a consolation, I caught up with Barry's take on the impact of "Making Love" (he calls it the most significant writing of his life), how it got made (not without Sherry Lansing--then at FOX), who turned down the role (Harrison Ford), who almost took it (Michael Douglas), and so much more about his writing career and the stars involved: Raquel Welch, Lansbury, Olivier, Natalie Wood....check out his incredible interview with Jeff Cramer.

Sorry I couldn't thank you in person, Barry.

Pool party on Mulholland.  Yeah, I'm missing LA a little bit. 
Sexy Bartenders
Here I am with Usual Suspects/X-Men director Bryan Singer.  I lived with him (no, not like that) in the same house for a year mid-90's.  Haven't seen him in years, so it was great to re-connect and tell him he missed my film screening!  Oh, and to thank him for that time I was deathly ill and he got my uninsured ass some antibiotics.
Not surprisingly, the only ones in the pool were the pretty lesbians.  And me!!
With performers Vincent DePaul and J.Karen Thomas.  I'm rocking the medal because it's a great conversation piece.  Weren't you wondering?  When you get to be my age, you have to use props!
Lounging on the lawn: Advocate Editor Matt Breen and uber-producer JD Disalvatore
I missed meeting the MILK producers.  Didn't happen naturally, and I suck at schmoozing.  Next time I'll get drunker and pitch them my proposal.  Afterward, I went to see an Outfest short film collection "From Uranus to Titicaca" (now that's copywriting!) and at the pre-party, I met an older gentleman named Edward, an actor himself, who is married to none other than living legend ESTHER WILLIAMS.   I'd heard she was in a wheelchair these days, to which he said, "Sometimes." Then I gushed, "So where is she?  I would love to meet Esther and..." Edward cut me off. "Swim with her?" DUH!
It really doesn't get more Hollywood than leaving an industry pool party on Mulholland Drive and meeting the husband of America's Million Dollar Mermaid!
If you haven't seen Esther William's unbelievable water spectacles, stream them immediately!  They are the most riveting, elaborate production numbers MGM ever conceived.  I'm sorry, Cyd Charisse, I love you too.

Edward told me about a Kyle Henry short he caught at the festival: Foursome: San Francisco.  He said it was about a paralyzed man who hired a transvestite to pleasure him.  Ultimately, the transvestite falls in love with her bedridden benefactor after she has sex with him by sitting on his foot.  (!!!)  Where can I see this!!?  "It sounds weird," said Edward, "But it was actually a very touching film."

"Did you tell Esther about it?"
"Of course not."

I sat next to Edward for the comedy shorts that night and as we laughed along, it occurred to me how awesome it is to have Outfest.  Everyone, even straight old dudes, can enjoy cinema from all walks of our community -- and learn new tricks in the process!  Wished he had made our sold out premiere of Violet Tendencies the night before!  
Mindy Cohn is/wears Violet. 
Miss Mindy Cohn never looked better with short blonde locks and a sparkling VIOLET skirt!  We've been doing separate national appearances with the film, so Casper and I were thrilled to finally see the film with her in LA.  What do you think of my DIZM glasses?   

Casper with the fabulous fellows Florent (of the meatpacking's legendary FLORENT restaurant - I still have the t-shirt!) whose film "Florent: Queen of the Meat Market" is scorching festivals everywhere, and producer Philip Pierce. 
My date was my first girlfriend: Chira Robertson!!  She lives in Venice Beach, but back in Tigard, Oregon, circa 1985, we were one hot couple on the playground. Red Rover, Red Rover, send Chira right over! 
Mindy gives Chira some lady-love on the red carpet!
While in LA, I caught a great documentary, "Postcards to Daddy" about a man who was molested by his father.  He interviews everyone about it, including his own father.  In the troubled, but sensational young adult category, Casper and I caught the legendary dance-hopefuls strutting their stuff in an excellent Santa Monica production of A Chorus Line, starring a stellar Michelle Akeley, our Violet co-star!

We also caught a casting seminar, where casting directors tell-all!  Someone asked, "Are you ever able to just relax and enjoy a show or film without thinking about work?" To which one woman fired back, "Yes. I can relax when I watch old movies because all the actors are dead."

She better not be relaxing watching MGM's Million Dollar Mermaid!  Esther's doing swimmingly.

1 comment:

The Blackout Blog said...

I'm rocking the medal because it's a great conversation piece. Weren't you wondering? When you get to be my age, you have to use props!

I knew I wasn't the only one who did that.
(Though I'm nowhere near your age... love you, Jesse)