Confessions of a Shomer Shabbos Hollywood Screenwriter

Still from A Stranger Among Us, starring Melanie Griffith and Eric Thal. The film was written and produced by Robert J. Avrech and directed by Sidney Lumet.

Still from A Stranger Among Us, starring Melanie Griffith and Eric Thal. The film was written and produced by Robert J. Avrech and directed by Sidney Lumet.

Act I:
Exposition—In Which the Main Characters and Primary Drama Are Introduced

It’s Shabbat morning. I’m in synagogue, praying, where an undertone of chatter is definitely not the norm. For me, a frum-from-birth screenwriter, this synagogue, where my wife and I have been members since we moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, is my fortress of solitude. It’s where my Hollywood identity is securely tucked away and I can revert to my true self, which is: husband, father and grandfather, shomer Shabbos Jew, Religious Zionist and a man who tries to live a Torah life as best as he can.

In the midst of praying, a friend whispers: “I just saw that movie you made a few years ago. Very exciting story. ”

“Um, thanks so much.”

I figure the conversation is over and go back to my prayers.

“The thing I was wondering is,” continues my friend, “what’s she really like?” She being the famous and glamorous star of the movie my friend has recently seen on Netflix.

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Posted in Devil's Arithmetic, Hollywood, Judaism, Screenwriting | Tagged , , , , , | 37 Responses

ObamaCare: You May Not Like Your Cancer, But You Will Keep Your Cancer, Period

Bev Veals, undergoing chemo at Duke Cancer Center, was in the hospital when she learned that the president's "reform" was forcing her into a higher-cost health plan.

Bev Veals, undergoing chemo at Duke Cancer Center, was in the hospital when she learned that the president’s “reform” was forcing her into a higher-cost health plan. Photo: AP

Last week, Karen and I were invited by close friends to a Shabbat meal at their lovely home. One of the nice things about Shabbat meals is that you never know who you’re going to end up sitting next to. Most luncheons are joyous affairs where old friends reconnect, and strangers become new friends.

Karen and I were seated next to a couple whom we had never before met. The standard introductions were made. We learned the couple were from San Francisco. She, a high-powered attorney; he a clever CPA. They were visiting friends in Los Angeles.

Always curious about people, I engaged the couple in lively conversation. As a screenwriter, you never know from where your next story will come.

But Karen, I immediately sensed, was pulling back from the give and take. I wondered what was showing up on my wife’s people-radar that was causing this negative reaction.

And then I found out.

The San Francisco couple informed us that:

1. Barack Obama is Israel’s BFF.

2. All politicians lie.

3. America should give ObamaCare “some time.”

Seraphic Secret makes it a rule to be a gentleman. Which, under the circumstances, translated into showing proper respect for our hosts and their gracious hospitality.

I could have shot down every absurd proposition set forth by the San Francisco leftists, but I just dug into my food like a man starving; swallowed not just salad, but my self-respect. The Shabbat table is no place for partisan politics. Perhaps, because the leftist couple are not Orthodox they do not comprehend the notion of a peaceful Shabbat meal. And even if they did, they, like all true believers, believe that because they are so correct in their ideological fervor, a peaceful Shabbat translates into an opportunity to enlighten the unenlightened.

Anyhoo.

This post is dedicated to the Jewish couple from San Francisco who displayed, not only incredibly bad manners at lunch, but also revealed the blind ideological fervor and heartlessness which is at the heart of the postmodern Democrat party.

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Posted in Liberal Fascism, Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Responses

Friday Footwear: The Best of Times, The ObamaCare of Times

Silent star Julanne Johnston, 1924, wearing very odd shoes. Not a clue.

Silent star Julanne Johnston (1900 – 1988) in 1924, wearing very odd shoes that don’t seem to go with her princess outfit. Julanne’s most famous role was opposite Douglas Fairbanks Sr., in The Thief of Baghdad, 1924. This seems to be a production shot from that film. Julanne was also aboard William Randolph Hearst’s yacht, The Oneida, in 1924, when producer Thomas Ince died of a heart attack. Julanne retired in 1930, and lived a quiet life with her family.

Hollywood’s greatest era, the 1930′s, gave birth to two luminous and entertaining genres: the screwball comedy, and the lush musical.

It is no coincidence that these escapist movies, filled with glamorous women swimming in fur and jewels, and painfully handsome men in perfectly tailored tuxedos, were produced during the depths of the Depression.

You might think that audiences would resent these carefree swells whose only worry was the next martini, and the eternal love triangle. But for several years, audiences escaped their daily woes, and lived through the fantasies of the silver screen.

Today, America is not in a depression. But Americans are depressed. Across the aisle, Americans recognize that this country is in trouble. ObamaCare is an unmitigated disaster. Millions are suffering. And millions more will be forced to suffer by this horrendous collectivization being forced on the American people.

Fashion reacts to uncertainty and disaster as did Hollywood in the 1930′s: with great dollops of extravagance, and wit. Seraphic Secret sees a trend in ladies footwear, with designers reaching beyond the anxious here and now, and offering customers a taste of fashion transcendence.

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Posted in Friday Footwear | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Responses

ObamaCare: If You Like Your Slut You Can Keep Her

Obama “Bros & Hos” ad dremaed up and produced by Democrat activists in Colorado.

Modeled on the Got Milk campaign, the ObamaCare “Bros & Hos” ad was dreamed up and produced by Democrat activists in Colorado.

The ObamaCare ad targeted to young people reads:

Susie & Nate Hot to Trot. Let’s Get Physical/ OMG, he’s hot! Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control. My health insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers. I got insurance. Thanks Obamacare!”

It’s an inversion of reality.

Democrats claim and win elections by accusing Republicans of waging a  war on women.

As if all women are, y’know, the same Democrat woman.

It is perplexing.  I mean, Ted Kennedy let Mary Jo Kopechne drown to death, and he walked because he was the indolent son of a powerfully corrupt Democrat.

Ted’s brother, JFK, as we now know, carried on numerous affairs with movie stars, gangster’s girlfriends, wealthy socialites, and, natch, White House interns.

Predatory sexual behavior seems to be a specialty of Democrats.

Of course, Bill Clinton used and abused women like Kleenex, and yet he’s wildly popular with Democrat women. Is this because they see him as the attractive bad boy they can’t help but love?

I suppose this fantasy war on women comes down to abortion.

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Posted in Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Responses

ObamaCare-KafkaCare

obamacare

Lori Gottlieb, a lock-step liberal writer for the New York Times, has just been mugged by Obamacare.

And by those whom she thought were her friends.

Ms. Gottlieb had the chutzpah to complain about her ObamaCare-KafkaCare experience in the New York Times, and she is shocked, just shocked, that the outpouring of sympathy she expected, has become a torrent of self-righteous abuse.

The Anthem Blue Cross representative who answered my call told me that there was a silver lining in the cancellation of my individual P.P.O. policy and the $5,400 annual increase that I would have to pay for the Affordable Care Act-compliant option: now if I have Stage 4 cancer or need a sex-change operation, I’d be covered regardless of pre-existing conditions. Never mind that the new provider network would eliminate coverage for my and my son’s long-term doctors and hospitals.

Let’s see, Ms. Gottlieb only has to shell out $5,400 extra so that she can lose the doctors she likes. But look what she gets in return: Treatment for Stage 4 cancer. Which she doesn’t have. Plus, deeply confused people can now have their genitals mutilated. Maybe Lori will wake up tomorrow morning and decide she’s really Larry. That’s when she’ll be grateful for the wisdom of ObamaCare.

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Posted in New York Times, Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , | 15 Responses

Veteran’s Day, 2013: Rabbi Abraham Avrech, My Favorite Veteran

My father, Rabbi Abraham Avrech. An Army Chaplain in the 42nd Rainbow Division, my father served this great nation through World War II, The Korean War and Vietnam. Retired as a full Colonel, my father often speaks of his Chaplaincy as the most important and fulfilling of his long and distinguished Rabbinic career.

My father, Rabbi Abraham Avrech. An Army Chaplain in the 42nd Rainbow Division, my father served this great nation through World War II, The Korean War and Vietnam. Retired as a full Colonel, my father often speaks of his Chaplaincy as the most important and fulfilling of his long and distinguished Rabbinic career.

Today we honor our veterans—the living and the dead.

Take a moment to ponder the enormous sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes and their families.

Millions and millions of people all over the world are forever in their debt.

Keep in mind that the U.S.military has freed more people on this earth from tyranny and evil than any other force. Certainly, American servicemen have done more for the cause of freedom and democracy than any so-called peace movement.

Whenever I see the brain-dead bumper sticker, “War is not the Answer,” I cringe, for war is frequently the only answer, the only moral response to evil.

Because if the forces of good do not defeat evil, evil prevails.

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Posted in Abraham Avrech, America, Military, Veterans Day | Tagged , , , , , , | 22 Responses

Friday Photos: Totally Random

Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart in publicity still for Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece, “Rear Window.”

Grace Kelly and Jimmy Stewart in a publicity still for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 masterpiece, Rear Window.

Usually, we publish photos that have a central theme.

Not today.

We’re feeling a bit scattered. Perhaps we’re spooked by ObamaCare, by what’s happening to this country. We are watching a national calamity unfold in slow motion, and we are helpless to stop it.

In any case, here are a few photos, most taken by yours truly, with an iPhone.

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Posted in Alfred Hitchcock, Art, Friday Fotos, Photography, Los Angeles, Pico-Robertson, Photography, Signs, Vertigo | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

The Utopian Chaos of ObamaCare

4114953865_obamacare_the_empire_xlarge

The Wall Street Journal pointed out in this editorial that ObamaCare was

dismantling the individual insurance market, as its architects intended from the start … this month’s mass cancellation wave has been the President’s political goal since 2008. Liberals believe they must destroy the market in order to save it.

Conservatives should not, and must not, focus on the broken Obamacare website. The federal government will just keep throwing hundreds of millions of dollars at the problem, and sooner or later, it will function.

The website is only a symptom of the chaos Obama and the Democrats have deliberately sown.

Obama and the Democrats are perfect post-modernists: they believe that truth is relative. They believe that words can mean whatever they want them to mean. So Obama, a serial liar, is actually telling deeper truths that we, the great unwashed, are too stupid to comprehend.

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Posted in Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Responses

If You Like Your Cancellation Letter You Can Keep It

socialized-healthcare

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Edie Littlefield Sundby chronicles her struggle to survive Stage 4 gallbladder cancer.

ObamaCare has just cut Ms. Sundby’s private insurance, making her fight to stay alive that much harder.

As if that weren’t bad enough, ObamaCare has cut her off from her team of medical specialists. That’s right — the doctors who treated her until now are off-limits.

No doubt, the radical leftists who are the Democrat party (there are no moderate Democrats; it is a party of crypto- and not-so-crypto-Marxists/socialists) will inform Ms. Sundby that the “new ObamaCare insurance” is far superior to her “old, sub-standard plan.” All she has to do is go to healthcare.gov, flip through the various plans, choose one, and then sign on the (virtual) dotted line.

Oh, wait.

Ms. Sundby already explored the government’s new plans, and they are — take a deep breath, folks — 40 to 50 percent more expensive than her current plan.

But according to Democrats, Ms. Sundby is stupid. And wrong.

She is too stupid to choose her own insurance, too dumb to understand that some random government bureaucracy — think the DMV, only bigger and nastier — can do a much better job of choosing her health insurance for her.

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Posted in Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Responses

Ava Gardner Does Not Grow Old

 The night before Ed Victor was due to have dinner with Ava Gardner for the first time, he told his father — who was in hospital awaiting an operation for colon cancer — about the meeting, thinking it might cheer him up. “Be careful,” warned the old man. “She might try to seduce you.” Those were the last words Victor heard him say. “It’s a very tender memory for me,” smiles the 73-year-old Bronx-born literary agent. “There was my father warning his 46-year-old son that one of the most iconic actresses of both our lifetimes might ‘try to seduce me.’” Seduce him, Gardner did — though, at 64, it was with her story and wit, not that once sinfully beautiful face and body. The year was 1987 and Gardner was semi-paralyzed by a stroke and living alone in Kensington. Victor, arguably the most famous literary agent in the world, had been called on to broker a deal for the Hollywood star’s memoirs, co-authored by the celebrated British journalist Peter Evans. (“I either write the book or sell the jewels,” Gardner had told Evans when she first contacted him about the project, “and I’m kind of sentimental about the jewels.”) As a man with a client list that includes Nigella Lawson — one of his closest friends and about whom he is tight-lipped amid her marital trauma — Frederick Forsyth, Keith Richards and U2, Victor, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, has never been easily star-struck. “But Ava was different,” he says. And on her behalf he embarked on a labour of love that will finally be published next week after nearly a quarter of a century despite the deaths of both subject and author, and Victor having to finish writing the memoirs himself. Certain words invariably crop up when describing Victor. Bullish is one; flamboyant another. His charmed life is divided between his Regent’s Park home and a 17th- century oak-beamed Long Island “barn” where he and his wife Carol spend four months of the year, kicking off the summer season with their famous July 4 party. But spend time with the man they call the “Mr. Big” of publishing — he is both my friend and agent — and you learn he is not above passion projects. He may sell Eric Clapton’s memoirs for millions of dollars one day and have his client John Banville win the Booker Prize the next, but he also likes quirky endeavours such as the The Obvious Diet, which he wrote in 2001 after shedding 40 lb from his 6ft 4in frame. In Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, Victor managed to combine the literary gold he has always been able to spot, with a nostalgic journey back into his own childhood and his student days at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. “As a young man, I always found her the sexiest of all the movie stars, even sexier than Marilyn,” he says. “And the lascivious nature of her life contributed to that sex goddess perception.” Yet on the night of their first meeting 26 years ago, instead of the Barefoot Contessa, in walked “a prematurely old woman”, the left side of her face “frozen in a rictus of sadness”. It would have been hard for any woman to bear, he says, but for one called “the world’s most beautiful animal”, it was unbearably sad.”The stroke had really taken it out of her,” Victor sighs. “But there was a tension in the situation because she still behaved like a sex goddess. She was debauched, though, a big boozer who smoked three packs a day. And on every occasion that we met — except when I arranged for her to meet [Simon & Schuster executive] Dick Snyder — she wore velour tracksuits. “But she could turn it on. The meeting with Snyder was a very big deal and she transformed herself into a movie star in this wonderful black dress and high heels, showing off the legs she was still proud of. “Not only that but she was backlit,” he laughs. “She had hired a lighting man to make sure she looked her best and a butler to serve Cristal Champagne. ‘I have to get a little pie-eyed to talk about myself, honey,’ she said. Ava knew that she had to perform and perform she did.” Although Gardner’s default setting was flirtatious (“she really couldn’t help herself”), she could also be belligerent, foul-mouthed and pathologically late. “The lateness was a form of power play. Celebrities feel that they can be late with impunity because people will always be happy to see them.” Victor, who once came second on Tatler’s list of London’s most frequently invited guests, behind Sir Elton John, loathes being late himself, “but I’ve dealt with stars for so long that I know how to suck it up when they are”. Gardner once turned up at 5 p.m. for a lunch date, declared “I need a nap” and disappeared for the next five days. As for the book, Evans was having a tough time with the aging star, and the project was abandoned after she died, and for much of the 1990s, during which time Victor suffered leukemia. But his resolve to have Gardner’s memoirs published never wavered. Still, it wasn’t going to be easy. Evans describes how Gardner swung between bouts of introspectiveness and self-doubt to bursts of jaw-dropping candour over the years they worked on the book together. She described how, as a 19-year-old on her first day on the MGM lot, she met first love Mickey Rooney, who told her, “I wanted to bed you the moment I saw you” — then cheated on her in the first week of their marriage. She told Evans how Howard Hughes taught her to be a better lover, adding that she nearly killed him with a marble ashtray in a fit of rage once, but MGM hushed it up. She and third husband Frank Sinatra fought all the time (“It was madness, but he was good in the feathers”) before saying with a shrug: “But I fought with all my men. It was my way of life, my way of loving.” After some of the more salacious reminiscences, Gardner would get worried that she had said too much. “Ava wasn’t ashamed of the life she had lived, but back in her day — and even in Hollywood today — you couldn’t be honest about who you were,” says Victor. “Ava was always carefully planning how she would come across, which is ultimately why she fired Peter. She wasn’t sure she wanted all this stuff coming out while she was still alive. But when Frank Sinatra, who probably remained the love of her life, condemned Peter to her, that spelled the end of their relationship.” Evans always believed that Sinatra had paid Gardner to suppress the book, but in the late 1990s he resurrected the memoirs. He never got to write The End, however. As he sat down to finish the book on August 31, 2012, he had a fatal heart attack, leaving Victor to finish the book himself. “When she had fired Peter, Ava came out with this wonderful phrase: ‘Maybe one day when I’m pushing clouds around.’ Well, now they’re both pushing clouds around.” Although the book and Gardner’s own admissions strip her down to a less mythical creature, Victor rejects notions that she was miserable during those final years. “Aging is not an easy process, especially when you’re sick. I know that there is a bullet with my name on it, but on the other side of illness there can be a better life, one you appreciate more. I think Ava chose to end up the way she was. She never seemed lonely to me. Alone, maybe, but not lonely. And right up until the end, even in those velour tracksuits, she comported herself like a movie star.” Perhaps all the effort that went into keeping other people’s fantasies alive eventually became too much for her. “I’m tired of being Ava Gardner,” she announced to Evans one day. “And she was,” Victor maintains, “but I’ve learned a lot about celebrity in my life and it’s a complicated thing.” He then tells me about the day his wife and Candice Bergen, a family friend, sat outside a café in Paris, at the height of the actress’s fame. “People were coming up to Candy every five minutes and my wife asked her how on earth she dealt with it. ‘With a mixture of irritation and entitlement,’ came Candy’s reply. “Ava dealt with it exactly the same way.” © Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph       E-mail this Article Print this Article Share this Article            STORY TOOLS   E-mail this Article Print this Article   Font:   Sponsored by Shaw GMC SPOTLIGHTS   Sign up for breaking news alerts Visit our Content Marketplace for Herald stories and pictures Join the conversation on the Herald's Facebook page Download the Herald's iPhone app Download the Herald's Android app Download the Herald's iPad app   WE RECOMMEND William and Kate’s christening guest list raises eyebrows Flames goalie MacDonald turns old friends into foes Alberta couples combine some of their personal finances Sandra Oh: ‘I want to live!’ What is love, actually? Not monogamy, says Emma Thompson FROM AROUND THE WEB Robert De Niro's a Heavy Hitter in Last Vegas  (YouTube) Two Female Cops Beat Each Other Black & Blue Over a Guy (CafeMom) The Halloween Accessory That Could Send You to the Hospital (Global Intellectual Property Center) Popular infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau jailed (USA TODAY) Mark Cuban: Dwight Howard made a ‘mistake’ signing with Rockets (Sports Illustrated) What's this?   LOCAL FLYER DEALS Great Deals on Granite Counter tops! Rona Great Deals On Kitchen Sets At Home Furniture Home Furniture 30% Off Hudson's Bay Fall Collections Hudson's Bay Save On Target Gifts for the Whole Family Target Canada     We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.               CALGARY HERALD HEADLINE NEWS   Sign up to receive daily headline news from the Calgary Herald.     Our Privacy Statement         The night before Ed Victor was due to have dinner with Ava Gardner for the first time, he told his father — who was in hospital awaiting an operation for colon cancer — about the meeting, thinking it might cheer him up. “Be careful,” warned the old man. “She might try to seduce you.” Those were the last words Victor heard him say. “It’s a very tender memory for me,” smiles the 73-year-old Bronx-born literary agent. “There was my father warning his 46-year-old son that one of the most iconic actresses of both our lifetimes might ‘try to seduce me.’” Seduce him, Gardner did — though, at 64, it was with her story and wit, not that once sinfully beautiful face and body. The year was 1987 and Gardner was semi-paralyzed by a stroke and living alone in Kensington. Victor, arguably the most famous literary agent in the world, had been called on to broker a deal for the Hollywood star’s memoirs, co-authored by the celebrated British journalist Peter Evans. (“I either write the book or sell the jewels,” Gardner had told Evans when she first contacted him about the project, “and I’m kind of sentimental about the jewels.”) As a man with a client list that includes Nigella Lawson — one of his closest friends and about whom he is tight-lipped amid her marital trauma — Frederick Forsyth, Keith Richards and U2, Victor, the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, has never been easily star-struck. “But Ava was different,” he says. And on her behalf he embarked on a labour of love that will finally be published next week after nearly a quarter of a century despite the deaths of both subject and author, and Victor having to finish writing the memoirs himself. Certain words invariably crop up when describing Victor. Bullish is one; flamboyant another. His charmed life is divided between his Regent’s Park home and a 17th- century oak-beamed Long Island “barn” where he and his wife Carol spend four months of the year, kicking off the summer season with their famous July 4 party. But spend time with the man they call the “Mr. Big” of publishing — he is both my friend and agent — and you learn he is not above passion projects. He may sell Eric Clapton’s memoirs for millions of dollars one day and have his client John Banville win the Booker Prize the next, but he also likes quirky endeavours such as the The Obvious Diet, which he wrote in 2001 after shedding 40 lb from his 6ft 4in frame. In Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations, Victor managed to combine the literary gold he has always been able to spot, with a nostalgic journey back into his own childhood and his student days at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. “As a young man, I always found her the sexiest of all the movie stars, even sexier than Marilyn,” he says. “And the lascivious nature of her life contributed to that sex goddess perception.” Yet on the night of their first meeting 26 years ago, instead of the Barefoot Contessa, in walked “a prematurely old woman”, the left side of her face “frozen in a rictus of sadness”. It would have been hard for any woman to bear, he says, but for one called “the world’s most beautiful animal”, it was unbearably sad.”The stroke had really taken it out of her,” Victor sighs. “But there was a tension in the situation because she still behaved like a sex goddess. She was debauched, though, a big boozer who smoked three packs a day. And on every occasion that we met — except when I arranged for her to meet [Simon & Schuster executive] Dick Snyder — she wore velour tracksuits. “But she could turn it on. The meeting with Snyder was a very big deal and she transformed herself into a movie star in this wonderful black dress and high heels, showing off the legs she was still proud of. “Not only that but she was backlit,” he laughs. “She had hired a lighting man to make sure she looked her best and a butler to serve Cristal Champagne. ‘I have to get a little pie-eyed to talk about myself, honey,’ she said. Ava knew that she had to perform and perform she did.” Although Gardner’s default setting was flirtatious (“she really couldn’t help herself”), she could also be belligerent, foul-mouthed and pathologically late. “The lateness was a form of power play. Celebrities feel that they can be late with impunity because people will always be happy to see them.” Victor, who once came second on Tatler’s list of London’s most frequently invited guests, behind Sir Elton John, loathes being late himself, “but I’ve dealt with stars for so long that I know how to suck it up when they are”. Gardner once turned up at 5 p.m. for a lunch date, declared “I need a nap” and disappeared for the next five days. As for the book, Evans was having a tough time with the aging star, and the project was abandoned after she died, and for much of the 1990s, during which time Victor suffered leukemia. But his resolve to have Gardner’s memoirs published never wavered. Still, it wasn’t going to be easy. Evans describes how Gardner swung between bouts of introspectiveness and self-doubt to bursts of jaw-dropping candour over the years they worked on the book together. She described how, as a 19-year-old on her first day on the MGM lot, she met first love Mickey Rooney, who told her, “I wanted to bed you the moment I saw you” — then cheated on her in the first week of their marriage. She told Evans how Howard Hughes taught her to be a better lover, adding that she nearly killed him with a marble ashtray in a fit of rage once, but MGM hushed it up. She and third husband Frank Sinatra fought all the time (“It was madness, but he was good in the feathers”) before saying with a shrug: “But I fought with all my men. It was my way of life, my way of loving.” After some of the more salacious reminiscences, Gardner would get worried that she had said too much. “Ava wasn’t ashamed of the life she had lived, but back in her day — and even in Hollywood today — you couldn’t be honest about who you were,” says Victor. “Ava was always carefully planning how she would come across, which is ultimately why she fired Peter. She wasn’t sure she wanted all this stuff coming out while she was still alive. But when Frank Sinatra, who probably remained the love of her life, condemned Peter to her, that spelled the end of their relationship.” Evans always believed that Sinatra had paid Gardner to suppress the book, but in the late 1990s he resurrected the memoirs. He never got to write The End, however. As he sat down to finish the book on August 31, 2012, he had a fatal heart attack, leaving Victor to finish the book himself. “When she had fired Peter, Ava came out with this wonderful phrase: ‘Maybe one day when I’m pushing clouds around.’ Well, now they’re both pushing clouds around.” Although the book and Gardner’s own admissions strip her down to a less mythical creature, Victor rejects notions that she was miserable during those final years. “Aging is not an easy process, especially when you’re sick. I know that there is a bullet with my name on it, but on the other side of illness there can be a better life, one you appreciate more. I think Ava chose to end up the way she was. She never seemed lonely to me. Alone, maybe, but not lonely. And right up until the end, even in those velour tracksuits, she comported herself like a movie star.” Perhaps all the effort that went into keeping other people’s fantasies alive eventually became too much for her. “I’m tired of being Ava Gardner,” she announced to Evans one day. “And she was,” Victor maintains, “but I’ve learned a lot about celebrity in my life and it’s a complicated thing.” He then tells me about the day his wife and Candice Bergen, a family friend, sat outside a café in Paris, at the height of the actress’s fame. “People were coming up to Candy every five minutes and my wife asked her how on earth she dealt with it. ‘With a mixture of irritation and entitlement,’ came Candy’s reply. “Ava dealt with it exactly the same way.” © Copyright (c) The Daily Telegraph       E-mail this Article Print this Article Share this Article            STORY TOOLS   E-mail this Article Print this Article   Font:   Sponsored by Shaw GMC SPOTLIGHTS   Sign up for breaking news alerts Visit our Content Marketplace for Herald stories and pictures Join the conversation on the Herald's Facebook page Download the Herald's iPhone app Download the Herald's Android app Download the Herald's iPad app   WE RECOMMEND William and Kate’s christening guest list raises eyebrows Flames goalie MacDonald turns old friends into foes Alberta couples combine some of their personal finances Sandra Oh: ‘I want to live!’ What is love, actually? Not monogamy, says Emma Thompson FROM AROUND THE WEB Robert De Niro's a Heavy Hitter in Last Vegas  (YouTube) Two Female Cops Beat Each Other Black & Blue Over a Guy (CafeMom) The Halloween Accessory That Could Send You to the Hospital (Global Intellectual Property Center) Popular infomercial pitchman Kevin Trudeau jailed (USA TODAY) Mark Cuban: Dwight Howard made a ‘mistake’ signing with Rockets (Sports Illustrated) What's this?   LOCAL FLYER DEALS Great Deals on Granite Counter tops! Rona Great Deals On Kitchen Sets At Home Furniture Home Furniture 30% Off Hudson's Bay Fall Collections Hudson's Bay Save On Target Gifts for the Whole Family Target Canada     We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.               CALGARY HERALD HEADLINE NEWS   Ava Gardner as femme fatale Kitty Collins, in the film that made her a star, The Kiillers, 1946.

Ava Gardner as femme fatale Kitty Collins, in the film that lifted her to stardom, The Kiillers, 1946.

In 1988, only two years before her death, Ava Gardner, living in semi-seclusion in London, unable to get work, and running dangerously low on funds, asked the late British author Peter Evans to ghostwrite her autobiography.

Deadpanned Gardner: “I either write the book or sell the jewels, and I’m kinda sentimental about the jewels.”

Only now, years after Ava and Evans’ death, has this frank memoir been published. Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations is a sad and intimate book about the fate of a great Hollywood star. Born poor in rural North Carolina, Ava was given a Hollywood screen test thanks to a radiantly innocent photo of 18 year-old Ava, displayed in a shop window.

After meeting with Ava in her London flat, Evans realized that the aging star was deeply conflicted about publishing an honest memoir. He also realized that she was a hopeless drunk. But the lure of working with one of Hollywood’s legendary stars trounced the author’s common sense. Already, in the preliminary stages, Gardner, drunk, depressed, and lonely, was calling Evans in the middle of the night, and rambling on, quite candidly, about the glorious, yet often sordid past. Evans, a solid, if sleep-deprived pro, faithfully recorded her reminiscences in a notebook he parked on his night stand.

Said Ava about her great rival, Elizabeth Taylor: “She was pretty. I was beautiful.”

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Posted in Ava Gardner, Book Reviews, Books, Hollywood, Hollywood Stars | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

The Democrat-ObamaCare Purges

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“You can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs.”

So said Stalin about his genocidal purges.

Obama and the Democrats are whipping up an omelette. We the American people — and the free enterprise system — are the broken eggs, the broken lives. At the moment, there are several million broken lives as the unreasonable Obamacare mandates force insurance companies to cancel individual and family policies.

The numbers are staggering. In California, a one-party state — essentially a Democrat thugocracy — over 900,000 Californians are losing their insurance.

Even CBS News, a reliably liberal outlet, reports that:

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Posted in America, Big Government, Economy, Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

Obamacare is Racist

healthmunch

According to the race hustlers of the Democrat party, voter ID laws are racist because, according to this site:

thousands of young to middle-aged people who are earning low to moderate incomes who never obtained a copy of their birth certificates because no one ever asked for it before, and even if they were asked, they had to weigh the expense to obtain one against their next meal, bus ride or rent payment. These people would have to scrounge for the extra money to purchase a copy of their birth certificate for what?

The writer goes on to claim that:

in many regions of our country, people do not drive because they do not own a car or don’t need one because they rely on public transportation or their feet to walk to where they need to go. These same people never thought to get an ID from the DMV because where they live, people know one another.

For the moment, let’s roll with this deeply condescending view of America, though what the writer is really saying, in Orwellian progressive-code, is that thousands of Americans live dysfunctional lives because they are either:

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Posted in Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , | 8 Responses

Hollywood Hair: Leda Styled By Leonardo da Vinci

Four studies of Leda by Leonardo Da Vinci. In Greek mythology, the God Zeus transforms himself into a swan and travels to Earth to seduce a lady called Leda. She gives birth to two eggs that hatch to be Polydeuces and Helen.

Four studies of Leda by Leonardo da Vinci. In Greek mythology, the God Zeus transforms himself into a swan and travels to Earth to seduce a a beautiful lady named Leda. She gives birth to Polydeuces and Helen, AKA Helen of Troy. The date of this chalk and ink work is 1506, and executed while Da Vinci lived in Milan. The dimensions are 17.7 x 14.7 cm.  The completed “Leda and the Swan”painting is lost.

Years ago, on Shabbos evenings, when our children were little, I would frequently grab an art book, sit in my chair, and one of the kids would climb into my lap. We’d turn the pages, look at the pictures, and make up stories about the figures in the paintings.

Ariel, Z’TL, was intrigued by the Dutch painters of the Seventeenth Century: Jan Steen, Peter de Hooch, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. Offspring #2 and #3, girls, inclined to the High Italian Renaissance: Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Da Vinci, and Michelangelo.

One memorable night, I opened a book devoted to the sketches of Leonardo da Vinci.

Offspring #2 was about 5 years old at the time, and after leafing through a few pages, she grew bored. She wanted lush colors, luminous light, and dramatic figures in mysterious landscapes. Leonardo’s drawings were too stark, too black and white. And Leonardo’s anatomy drawings… totally gross.

Then I turned to Leonardo’s four sketches for the head of Leda.

Offspring #2 nearly fell off my lap.

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Posted in Art, Ava Gardner, Hollywood, Jean Harlow, Leonardo da Vinci | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Responses

14 Planned Abortionhood Organizations Are Obamacare Hucksters

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Obama calls them navigators.

As always, the radical left manipulates language in order to create a new reality. It’s a tactic pioneered by the Bolsheviks, and then brought to it’s logical apotheosis in Mao’s “Cultural Revolution,” which led directly to the murder of 60 million people.

No surprise here, but the Obama zombies who have been appointed Obamacare, ahem, navigators, are — drum roll, please — Planned Parenthood ghouls.

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Posted in Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Responses

Obamacare: The Death Spiral

huckster

 

It would be a mistake for Obamacare’s opponents to focus on the dysfunctional Obamacare websites. The so-called glitches are not glitches at all, but symptoms of 2,7000 pages of Byzantine laws passed exclusively by Democrats — the first stage in the destruction of the finest health care system in human history.

Radical leftists — now the Democrat party — have always wanted a single-payer system: in other words, socialized medicine, where government controls every cell of your body from birth to death.

Inevitably, the Obamacare insurance exchanges will enter a death spiral. That’s when more sick than healthy people sign up. Then the Democrats will declare a crisis, blaming it on the Republicans, the Tea Party, Bush, racism, sexism, whatever — and demand that America switch to a single-payer system in order to save the system.

Y’know, like destroying the village in order to save it.

In light of Obama’s jaw-dropping impersonation of a TV huckster yesterday — including a toll-free number that refers the caller back to the broken Obamacare website — it is worth comparing a few of Obama’s promises with the reality that followed.

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Posted in America, Barack Hussein Obama, Economy, Obama Watch, Obamacare, Taxes | Tagged , , , , | 9 Responses

Muslims Fly Nazi Flag in Israel

Palestinian IslamoNazis proudly wave their national flag.

Palestinian IslamoNazis proudly display their national flag.

To liberals, progressives, peaceniks, social justice activists — whatever you’re calling yourselves this week: please don’t write and tell me that not all Muslims are Nazis, that you, personally, know some very civilized, moderate Muslims.

Those unicorn Muslims are irrelevant.

That Nazi flag flying proudly in an Arab settlement inside Israel is the true face of pan-Arab nationalism.

The so-called Palestinians — a national identity invented by the KGB for their Arab clients in the mid-1960s — have zero interest in creating a viable state.

Their primary interest is in destroying Israel, the Jewish state. The Arab Muslim love affair with jihad, a cult of murder, torture, and death, finds its apotheosis in the Nazi party. Thus, even as the Muslim world publicly denies the Holocaust, behind closed doors it celebrates the German genocide of the Jews and draws inspiration from it.

Note that the so-called Palestinians already have a state: Gaza, home to a variety of competing Islamist terrorist armies, including the Iranian militia Hizbullah. Naturally, the reichlet of Gaza is Judenrein. All too soon the members of its various terrorist groups — adherents of the religion of peace — will complete the ethnic cleansing of Gaza’s Christians as well.

The best Israel can hope for in the foreseeable future is to manage the various IslamoNazis and their chronically unstable nations.

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Posted in Islam, Islamic Terror, IslamoNazis, Israel, Jihad Watch, Muslim anti-Semitism | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Responses

Hollywood Stars and Their Cars: I Drive Therefore I Am Free

The great director King Vidor (The Big Parade, The Crowd) behind the wheel of this unidentified car, 1920s.

The great director King Vidor (The Big Parade, The Crowd) behind the wheel of this nifty unidentified car.

The automobile represents freedom.

You climb into a car and go, go, go, whenever and wherever you want. The car is modern man’s path to liberty.

Contrast cars with trains.

Railroads are an expression of the collective. Individual identity is erased. You are at the mercy of a government-controlled system that turns  citizens into passive cogs, at the mercy of by-the-book bureaucrats.

That’s why democrats/progressives/liberals/ (what are they calling themselves this week?) are obsessed with high-speed rail. The freedom of the road is repellent to big government fanatics. The ruling elite seek to regulate and control tobacco, food, calories, soda, education, light bulbs, toilets, health care, reproduction, cow flatulence, oxygen — every cell of your body.

In short: liberty is constricted by any and all means.

And all in the name of an amorphous, pre-adolescent concept: Fairness.

And you better believe that the chattering elite are the ones who get to define what’s fair and what’s unfair. Funny how that always works out in their favor.

Nazis just adored trains. And hey, the Italian fascists boasted that Mussolini made the trains run on time. Though Italian trains were about as effective and efficient as the Italian army. Which is to say: Not.

At a certain point, one must acknowledge the convergent philosophies of post-modern liberals and iron-fist fascists. Both ideologies assert the power of the state as the final arbiter of human affairs. Hence, the government replaces G-d and family as the center of man’s universe. It’s no surprise that the formal title of the Nazi party was “The National Socialist German Workers’ Party.”

Anyhoo.

Today, Hollywood celebrities make sure to be seen driving a Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, or any of the dopey but politically correct green cars. It is something of an open secret here among my Hollywood colleagues that the garage is fully stocked with BMW, Mercedes, Bentley, and for sure, a few Jags—for real driving.

But once upon a time Hollywood produced great stars who proudly posed with their autos, symbols of glamor, affluence, and freedom.

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Posted in Hollywood, Stars and Cars | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 37 Responses

Website Traffic For Obamacare Exchange Plummets 88%

Welcome to Obamacare.

Welcome to Obamacare.

The Obamacare website is a black hole of government dysfunction.

And Obamacare is a perfect metaphor for Obama’s governance: lots of pretty words, endless utopian dreams that result in achieving the exact opposite of what was promised.

We have been told—gold-plated Alinsky lies—that the high traffic to the Obamacare website is proof that the American public desperately need Obamacare, and as soon as the, um, glitches, are ironed out, we will all live in Obama’s paradise.

The truth is that the allegedly high traffic to Obamacare—does anyone really believe Obama’s numbers?—was due to curiosity. Seraphic Secret logged on several times in order to get the full Obama experience.

Like everyone else, we stared at the spinning rainbow disc.

If, let’s say, the Amazon  website functioned—not!—like Obamacare, it would lose customer faith, and be forced out of business. This is true in any rational market place.

But Obama and his political hacks are not bound by the humane and fair rules of free enterprise. In the face of all empirical truth, they will continue to insist that all is just fine. They will insist that opposition to Obamacare is really, y’know, racism.

Because as everyone knows opposition to Hillarycare was because Hillary Clinton is soooo black.

But, of course, they will continue to throw vast sums of money at yet another Democrat social engineering project that is doomed to utter and complete failure.

Now that the initial curiosity has been slaked, traffic to Obamacare has plunged a staggering 88%.

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Posted in Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , | 4 Responses

Storming the Barrycades

A veteran and a patriot carries a Barrycade back to Barry.

A disabled vet and patriot carries a Barrycade back to Barry.

The U.S. government is not shut-down.

Approximately 83% of the Federal government is up and functioning.

Including the Obamacare website, which fulfills every prediction made by anyone with a lick of common sense about what happens when the federal government colonizes one-sixth of the American economy.

Just wait for Obamacare to be fully implemented. The medical care you or your loved one needs will be riddled with, um, glitches.

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Posted in Economy, Liberal Fascism, Obama Watch, Obamacare | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Responses

Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s: The Manchurian Candidate

Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate, 1962.

Angela Lansbury and Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate, 1962.

We continue our survey of the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s.

For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1950s, click here.

For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1940s, click here.

For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1930s click here.

For the Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1920s click here.

4. The Manchurian Candidate, 1962.

Movies are time capsules.

We view a Hollywood production from, say, the 1930s and we get a series of messages—visual and verbal—that are instant snapshots of the culture from which the narrative was birthed. There are, of course, the fashions, the hairstyles, even the make up, that let us us know that we are in a particular time and place. And of course, the narratives are witnesses to how society viewed itself. The attitudes and values of American culture are on full display, in all their myriad forms, in the movies.

Some movies date better than others. The screwball comedies of the 1930s still play beautifully for contemporary audiences because the battle of the sexes is timeless. Sadly, the women’s weepies of the 40s—take a look at Now Voyager (’42), an amazing Bette Davis film—fare less well because they are seen by today’s women as regressive and misogynistic. Busby Berkeley musicals are fun, admired for their abstraction of the human form, but they are relics, kitch for the priests of high culture.

And this is one of the reasons why The Manchurian Candidate is such an astonishing movie. It is deeply contemporary, post-modernism before the term was invented.

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Posted in Greatest Movies of the 1960s, Hollywood, Twenty Greatest Movies of the 1960s | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Responses