Los Angeles Times


Small Hours: He’s not letting you in

LOS ANGELES TIMES

April 9, 2006

By James Verini

THE closing of Amanda Scheer Demme’s vanity cave Teddy’s last week elicited gasps of fear and bewilderment from the paparazzi and Demme’s 700 newest, closest friends, but for one place and its proprietor, the news was good. The toughest door in town now belongs to Holly’s, restaurateur and club owner Rick Calamaro’s Hollywood lounge.
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Small Hours: Pouring in a purple haze

LOS ANGELES TIMES

March 31, 2006

By James Verini

If you’ve been out in L.A. lately, it’s not unlikely that you’ve seen this: a weird rectangular, purple-shaded bottle of vodka sitting on a reserved table or behind the bar, and on the bottle Jimi Hendrix’s face and his stringy Spider From Mars afro. And near the bottle a tall, very blond, very voluble guy, talking to someone about his newest venture. That someone is probably nodding in browbeaten amazement.
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Small Hours: Bacchanalia gets branded

LOS ANGELES TIMES

March 26, 2006

By James Verini

ON a recent Friday at about 1 a.m., as I stood in a Hollywood Hills mansion rented out by Flaunt magazine, sipping a Patron cocktail near a mannequin outfitted in Hugo Boss, thinking about the untouched Jaguar sitting behind velvet ropes in the driveway, I asked myself whether that most venerable of Los Angeles civic institutions, the extravagant mansion party, had lost its soul.
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Small Hours: At after-parties, the design takes a backseat to celebrity

LOS ANGELES TIMES

March 24, 2006

By James Verini

Among all the Hollywood throwback gowns, the re-upped worship of tortured denim and the Bob Fosse-conjuring underwear, nobody seemed sure, yet again, whether L.A. Fashion Week should be about showcasing L.A.’s real indigenous self or playing into the tiresome images of tawdriness and self-stultification, or — what usually ends up happening — trying to do both.
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Small Hours: The C-list scrimmage

LOS ANGELES TIMES

March 12, 2006

By James Verini

IN Hollywood, those who want to be famous far outnumber those who actually are famous, a tragedy about which none of us need be reminded. Still, it’s a rewarding sight watching the under-celebrated strut and preen as though it’s all they can do to beat back public adulation and keep their own white-hot native glamour from melting the overpriced denim right off.
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Always willing to go on location

LOS ANGELES TIMES

May 12, 2005

By James Verini

Among lovers of early American cinema, there is one indispensable question: Buster or Chaplin? That is, do you prefer the elaborate sight gags and implacable frown of Buster Keaton or the intimate bumbling and sentimentality of the Little Tramp, Charlie Chaplin? Silent film buffs tend to believe you can peer into someone’s soul based on the answer.
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No Thespians Need Apply

LOS ANGELES TIMES MAGAZINE

April 10, 2005

By James Verini

Actors abound in Los Angeles, of course, but there are actors and then there are actors, and then there are improvisational actors like Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and Hugh Davidson, who jump around on a creaky stage, faking voices and limps and tearing off and throwing on preposterous costumes and wigs and handlebar mustaches, for close to four hours a night.
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In the kingdom of the clown

LOS ANGELES TIMES

January 2, 2005

By James Verini

LAS VEGAS – Jerry Lewis, the comedian, misunderstood director, one-time movie star and crusader for ill children, first came to this city sometime in the late 1940s because he and his new partner, Dean Martin, were booked to perform at the Flamingo. He lost so much money gambling it took him 3 1/2 years to pay it back. Nonetheless, he called Las Vegas “the most joyful city in the world.” He’s now lived here for 25 years.
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As more shows feature faith and spirituality, priests, ministers, monks and rabbis are taking on paid roles as religion consultants

LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 26, 2004

By James Verini

Ben EICHER, a teacher in Rapid City, S.D., has been to Los Angeles only a few times and rarely watches television. But when he’s not teaching religion at St. Thomas More, a boys’ Catholic high school, he works as a paid consultant to CBS’ “Joan of Arcadia,” a series about a student named Joan who has conversations with God. Eicher is one member of a small but growing niche industry in television: the professional religion consultant. As religion and spirituality become ever more prevalent in prime-time and cable programming, there is a growing demand for such experts.
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Head turner

LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 24, 2004

By James Verini

As the light waned on a brisk fall afternoon, Sean Penn walked quickly into the barroom at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills in that slightly pigeon-toed half-swagger, and the heads of the patrons — mostly women, as it happened — turned in unison. Penn was wearing a black suit and gray shirt, was clean-shaven (once a rarity for him, but now increasingly the norm) and had his hair in a kind of 1930s-style sideburn-less blaze. The ‘do was suited to his next role: He would soon be leaving for Louisiana to begin filming “All the King’s Men,” an adaptation of Robert Penn Warren’s novel about an opportunistic Depression-era Southern politician. Penn will play the lead.
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The heist film still steals hearts

LOS ANGELES TIMES

December 13, 2004

By James Verini

During a century of cinema, Americans have enjoyed seeing our anxieties about crime and criminals sublimated in the movie theater in any number of ways. After the gritty-gangster-film craze of the 1930s, audiences turned to the more fanciful western. Sometime later a hankering for reality returned, and movies about beat cops and grizzled detectives took hold.
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Celebrities who shoot back at the paparazzi

LOS ANGELES TIMES

September 3, 2004

By James Verini

Here’s the plot of “Paparazzi,” which Fox is releasing today: A newly minted action movie star moves to Hollywood, gets hounded by four irredeemably villainous paparazzi and, after they nearly kill his family, resolves to exact bloody revenge.
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