Tuesday, September 28, 2010


What these lovely locals don't realize, is that I've already started writing about my wretched life ih this dreadful town tarted up as a city, five cow patties away from the Canadian Border.  Oh, at the moment I'm using real names, but those will change to protect the idiots.  Liz Bernstein?  Probably not, because she  is part of the medical community, and anyone who calls themselves an acupuncturist, but leaves needles in your head should plainly be sued.  Same for Dr. Paul Sarvasy, big fat lying "AIDS Specialist, who did a little bit of work in a clinic in Martinez, CA, but moved here claiming to be all these things he is not.  Not to mention his idiot savant daugbter Hannah, who pulled a Doogie Hauser, and got into Harvard at 17, or his lovely wife, Shondra Shondik, Jewish artist extraordinaire who nobody has ever heard of.  Speaking of Interfaith Community Clinic, Corrine Gimble-Levine, Nurse Practitioner, who coasts on her husband Henry Levine's rep as a psychiatrist, which does not a half way decent RNP make.  That bitch, what with her apple core doll face....well, I have an oven chosen just for her.  No, I am not a Nazi.  But I could come damned close considering.  Her hyphenated name is SOOOOO 1983 which galls me no end.  And when I called her "Honey", just dripping with sarcasm, I thought she was going to explode!!!  Now that would have been messy.

Speaking of messy.  Evergreen AIDS Foundation, forever crying poor, is now moving into posher digs.  What really should have happened is Ed Wilhoite should be sequestered away in the Crown Plaza building, where he can do whatever it is he does in the peace and quiet of his own office, far and away from clients and employees.  This pig is not a people person, to say the least, which is pretty dicey for an Executive Director of an agency that serves PEOPLE.  He's brought in a group of his cronies to volunteer, mostly snotty, Fairhaven types, and they are the worst.  There's this one clown that works the front desk on Mondays, and he and his boyfriend are a sight to behold, driving around in a black BMW convertible, wearing diamonds from here to eternity.  I had the pleasure of working there for about a month, and I can tell you this much, Ed sets the tone of that office, and it is mausoleum like.  Actually, Ed would make a great undertaker.  If you walk by his office door, you would swear someone roooooolled the stone from the tomb and stole the body.  I mean, a cold wind blows out of that office.  

Speaking of stealing bodies, Bryan Polinder.  A couple of years back I posted a tribute to him, and boy, did the widow pitch a hissy, which started a whole chain of events on my blog.  Not that I'm prod of my behaviour, but hers was reprehensible.  Needless to say, I realized at that point that all friends linked to Lisa had to be dropped, because after an hour and a half talk on the phone (at 1AM) went from "let''s kiss and make up" to something truly ugly, as the drunken slag proceeded to tell me all about my faults, I resolved to drop everybody.  That began my two year self imposed exile.  Not because I was afraid to run into anyone, I was simply fed up with the town in general.  Have you ever tried to find anyplace decent to eat?  Well don't bother with this burg.  Anything that's decent closes before you can say Jack Spratt, mainly because the locals love nothing more than a $6.99 entree (between 5-7) because this is fossil town, and don't you dare try to charge a penny more than ten bucks unless it's all you can eat.  Very popular that.  All you need to do is drop in during lunch hour at Olive Garden and watch that OBESE fuckers send back empty bowl after empty bowl only to be refilled with yet more pasta.  I mean these are people who cannot slide into a booth without a shoe horn.  And they are a plenty.

Actually, this is the fattest town I've ever lived in.  

So why, Nancy Ramos, have I not been blogging or returning your gawd awful messages?  Because I've been working on other things.  AND you've turned into a nuisance  I could care less about your pathetic life in Whittier.  I moved away from that part of the world at 18!!!  And all because of people like you.

At least my publisher is  thrilled that I'm working again.  I expect to be finished writing this town in a year.

Oh, and Dr. Bernstein, we killed you off after our last Fiesta.  You are officially DEAD to the Curti.  But you know damn well how it feels to be shunned by a community.  The fact that you can't even go to The Temple should tell you plenty.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010


Kinda blowsy, overweight and still a ham past my prime.....

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Ugh.  I do hate this time of year.  For me, from my birthday through the Holidays is horrific.  I've always hated these months because that nagging DOWN feeling, accompanied with booze and pills, always manages to take over.  Frankly, if we could just remove the final three months of the year from our calenders, I'd be delighted.

It started kind of early this year.  In a quel dramatique moment, I took a handful of Ambien, promptly barfed it up, and slept for two days.  Naturally, I ended up in a hospital, which is fine, because those friendly nurses feed you valium every couple of hours, change the sheets, and are nice as can be.  Now our local hospital is a joke, especially when you've spent some time at CEDAR SAINI for chrissake.  Yes, I was in the Elizabeth Taylor Ward.  Why?  Because I got hit by a truck.  But that's neither here nor there.  This time I was in for Medical Detox.  The stooopid fucking Doctor didn't know a thing about HIV meds.  You can't take them piecemeal.  One has to take ALL the meds, or none at all.  So of course, I was deemed problematic, and shot up with Haldol, which they give to psychos.  It takes a month to purge the shit from your system.  Not to mention the fact that the food is GHASTLY, so I wouldn't eat.  I mean, I've been in several hospitals and generally speaking, you get a menu in the morning.  But if you want a breakfast of gruel, go ahead.  Check into Saint Joe's.  Finally, one of the nurses told me that I could order from the grill downstairs, instead of consuming some crap I wouldn't give a dog, even though I know they'll eat it.  Then after day four, and feeling much better, the Doctor urged me to stay on.  Fuck that!

My fabulous therapist, Lisa Harmon said something to me that really stuck.  "You've already written that book.  How about we try writing another story."  She was, of course, talking about the acclaimed FABULOUS HELL, which everyone in Bellingham has read  so my shit is plain to see.  I wrote that damn book after I got the AIDS diagnosis, and the story is pretty ugly, if I must say so myself.  I mean, droning on about drug addiction, falling out of men's beds hither and yon, dissing your Mother, and living like there's no tomorrow (there wasn't) can be a little tedious.  But writing with my usual dark sense of humor and sarcasm made the book palatable.  And also gave me a sense of who I was.  It was like THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY, only I didn't have a portrait stashed away in the attic.  The canvas was me, and it weren't purdy.

Now, if you've never experienced mental illness, and go blithely about your life talking a bunch of happy bullshit, you can just stop reading this blog right now.

So.  I've made a harm reduction plan.  I see Lisa once a week, a drug/alcohol abuse counselor.  My apartment manager and her assistant are VERY supportive, and I got a job!!!  Well, the job fell in my lap, and I'm thrilled with the challenge.  Content Manager for the local AIDS SERVICE ORGANIZATION'S Web site.  Very adult content, and considering that with all the sex I wrote about in my opus, I never talked weenies and the like.  I steered clear of that, believe me.  Plus it's part time, I can work from home, and afford to buy a pair of shoes once in a while.  EVEN underwear, which is the first thing to go when your on a strict budget.  So feeling frisky, with a lovely Land's End gift certificate, I bought three turtlenecks and a pair of cords.  You see, my turtlenecks are YEARS old, and though I take good care of my clothes, the goddam necks are shot, and I wear them up all the way ala Katharine Hepburn.  Oddly enough, as I was quite the clothes horse in my 20s and 30s, I've found a look that suits me.  I am (ahem) 46 after all.  My main expenditure is my hair (sometimes highlighted), and Mandy's not cheap.  But her haircuts last for months!!! 

My birthday went off smoothly, as I only celebrated with La Dragonessa (Mom), and we had a simple day of shopping followed with happy hour at my new fave haunt, SCOTTY BROWN'S, which is about as sophisticated as it gets in a town that's five cow patties away from the Canadian Border.  The servers are model gorgeous, and the bartenders pour a liberal martini.  The yam fries are to DIE!!!  As everyone knows, I eat like a bird, preferring nibbling to gorging.  If every hour was Happy Hour, I'd be happy as a pig in shit.  So anyway, we ordered one appetizer after another.

Yes, the Harm Reduction plan is working, I have more than enough support, and I just don't think I'm ready to die.  Lord knows I've seen my life flash before my eyes more than once.

And why in the hell do I have to go through a seasonal fiasco, drink myself into oblivion, and bitch and moan when they start playing BRING A TORCH JEANETTE ISABELLA on the Muzak system in late October.  I have the unfortunate habit of channeling my grandmother, who whenever she heard some song she recognized, she's say:  "There's old Dino." Or "There's old Perry."  The words just fall out of my mouth, and mom always gives me the same snarly look telling me SHADES OF THAT OLD BITCH, YOUR GRANDMOTHER!  I always retort with SHE WAS YOUR MOTHER.  And mom always comes back with I'M ADOPTED.  She's adopted, I'm a bastard.  Some family the Curti are.

I'm finding that cleaning the psychic house is wonderful for one's head. 

And there's no point in repeating the same mistakes year after year.  I used to be the first one to volunteer to work on holidays.  Hell, it was time and a half, and I didn't have to deal with anything but fussy guests like Dame Joan Plowright, who prefers to be called Lady Olivier, for chrissake.  Lady Olivier was Vivien Leigh!

No, I don't want to die.  Not  just yet.

I have too much to do.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Well, our final fiesta went off without so much as a hitch....77 guest in all, coming in from as far off as Australia!!!  Merrily got THREE offers on her house, which means Portland comes sooner than later.  Will we continue the Tradition in Oregon?  Only time will tell.

More pics to come later....

Monday, August 31, 2009


Would someone please tell me what her secret is?! At nigh on 107, Perennial Emmy Nominee Susan Lucci must be drinking the blood of virgins, or she's has a portrait locked away in the attic that gets older for her. Does she not look amazing?!

Saturday, August 29, 2009




Monday, August 24, 2009



Why in the hell do dog owners feel that just because they own a canine, they are welcome to the party.


Leave your fucking dogs at home.

I hate them.

Look I'm a Cat Person. They're clean, they think for themselves, and generally speaking, will just go away if they want to. They won't hop in the car when they hear your car keys rattling. Cats don't travel well. When cats take a shit, THEY COVER IT UP!!! Dogs just eat it. You can leave a dish out for Pussy, filled to the brim, go away for a couple of days (whilst tweaking out with a trick), come back to The Silent Treatment, knowing exactly what they're thinking (NAFF OFF!!!), then just hopping on the bed and giving a purrr. And that's when THEY decide to. Dogs, like infants, need constant nurturing and attention.

I want neither.

I will admit. I had a love affair with one Abby, a black lab. I think it was because I was the only one around who gave more than a pat on the head, or violent tugs of the ears whilst riding her to the bathrooom. See, I was the governess of a THREE YEAR OLD. Right out of the psych ward. Still dazed and confused by the jolts of electricity bounding hither and thither through my brain. Oh, this was many years ago, dahling, long before I got "normal". Not to get off topic, but a lobotomy can give you the same UPLIFT as a nose job. Try it and see what you'll forget!!! If only I'd had one recently, I'd not remember the terror of those long days with Little Miss Courtney.

OK. Let's talk Courtney and move on. LMC. Oh, she's all grown up and in college, far and away from her lovely Wine Country home in Healdsburg, beautiful as a young woman can be (though too squat to be model material), whatever happened, happened. Somewhere along the line, betwixt bottles of milk and post puberty petulance, LMC blossomed into a swell gal, who I could go drinking with. Yikes. (I'm passing the 45 mark in mere weeks. I never lie about it because as the Sondheim Song Says: I'm still here. If there's nothing better about life, it's Sondheim because if you open a page, you'll find a lyric that suits JUST where you are in Life at any given moment. HOLD YOUR HATS AND HALLELUJAH, CRAIG IS GONNA SHOW IT TO YA...) I don't even want to think of it, but here goes: Try sitting around with a Three Year Old with slightly irritable habits, in the midday sun, as the grapes were-a-ripening. and yer teeth were-a edge because you just ran out of Valium. There's no booze in the house because Papa just checked out of The Betty Ford Center, and moiself, well. It was fairly neurotic sit-comish scenario. Courtney loved the tale of Peter Pan. So out on lounge chairs we'd sit, she with sippy cup in hand, me with Abby in my lap----all 80 pounds of her----she thought herself extremely Toy Poodlish---and off the top of my head, I'd wreck JM BARRIE's fab fable a few paragraphs in. Love Pete. Hate Neverland. I only really like the beginning and the end, simple because it takes place in London during a certain era, when grown-ups went out in tuxes and frocks, leaving their offspring in the hands of Katie Nana, A DOG??? And what happens? Some 50 year old cross-dresser turns up in the window, teaches the kids how to fly off, drop acid and share coke with each other.


Fortunately, before we got that far, LMC is having a fit because her Patent Leather Mary Janes are killing her. Abby would look at her, then sorrowfully up at me as if to say: What have I done to deserve this. My thoughts exactly. Then out would lap this pink tongue, dousing my chin with a schmear of schmutz. Even though I knew where that tongue had been (the cat box) I let her because hell, if you share the same bed, you better lick me someplace. Yes, in the middle of the night, Abby would creep into my room, heave herself onto the bed, and snore. If she were alive, she'd TOTALLY lie, and say "I DO NOT!!! I've NEVER SNORED!!!" just like you'd swear you were only 28.

Abby, Abby, Abby.

When I moved out into more treacherous terrain (the Russian River), I'd still drop over at Ma and Pa's place to do laundry and eat whatever I could find in the fridge. Abby would jump from back paws to front paws. Wish I could describe it better. It was catterpillarish. Ma would say: "She never does that with anyone else." Had I been MOTHER IN LAW BARGE IN MARGE, it would have been a completely different scenario. Yeah, wherever there's a kid involved, you can bet there's a gramma.

I guess I only bring this up because our (me and my real ma) largest party of the rest of my life is nigh. Fiesta Finale promises to be a whopper. But please, when you get the invite, don't be angry if it says NO DOGS ALLOWED.


Monday, August 3, 2009


Back in the good old days before BLOGS were a glimmer on the horizon of publishing, Derek Washington and I published and distributed what was known as a 'ZINE. For those of you who don't remember such things, a 'zine was a mere 5-6 pieces of paper, Xeroxed and stapled together, then distributed, guerrilla style, on the streets. Our beat was West Hollywood, and the people we targeted were the stoopid faggots that crowded those oh so WHITE streets, grandly showing off Nautilus sculpted chests, and drinking Apple-tinis. How BUTCH!!! Anyway, I've written about it before, but yesterday I came across our first issue in a file, and had a wicked, nostalgic chortle. Here reporter Derek Washington recounts an encounter with famed Fag Porn Star, MATT GUNTHER. So let's rewind the clocks to 1997, shall we, a mere few months before the demise of Princess Diana!!!


Sympathy is such a precious commodity. One must be careful where compassion is dispensed. For example, lately I have observed a certain Matt Gunther (you know, sneering, sexless porn star) waiting for the very same bus I take past Check Point Charlie: La Brea. I have often commented to friends on how brave and nonchalant he seems in view of his situation. You see, Matt Gunther is now confined to a wheelchair for reasons I do not know, nor shall I venture a guess. Buster has even bandied his name about as a possible interview. No mas. ON this day, as we pulled to a stop, I noticed Gunther (or whatever his name was in Iowa) and once again admired his seemingly pleasant persona and artfully highlighted hair. After clearing passengers from the handicapped seats, the bus driver (a middle-aged black woman) tried to engage the wheelchair apparatus. Being an MTA bus (if you ride 'em, you'll understand), the lift jammed and the rear door wouldn't open. The driver went outside to explain the situation to Gunther who EXPLODED: "You get you fat black nigger ass back here! Get me on this bus!" That, dear reader, is verbatim. Poor Matt. Imagine how a couple of years in trade school would have changed everything.

Cheers Derisha!

Some things never change.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


IF YOU DON"T READ THIS, A Squirrel in heels, sporting a gun is gonna come after your ass!!!


Sunday, July 12, 2009





Monday, July 6, 2009


As everyone knows, I am ALL about comfort food: Mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits and gravy, chocolate ice cream, MACARONI AND CHEESE. If you've ever made it from scratch, you know there's a few steps involved including making a roux, the cheese sauce, boiling and draining the macaroni, laying it in a baking dish, then baking for an hour. Delish, yes. Clean-up, no. Here's a simple and delicious EASY VERSION of the classic found on RECIPEZAAR. I thought I was going to die it was soooo good.



  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over a medium heat.

  2. Stir in flour and salt.

  3. Add milk and macaroni to saucepan, and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat, and cover.
  5. Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add cheese, and stir until cheese melts.
  7. Serve.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Then you've never heard of society hostess ELSA MAXWELL!!!

Elsa Maxwell, hostess with the mostest, wrote a fascinating autobiography RSVP: Elsa Maxwell's Own Story in 1953. Naturally, I had to special order this ancient volume from the library, but am I glad I did. This old gas bag recounts (coyly) her life and times. Now these were the most fascinating of times, as La Maxwell managed to be in Europe during those heady days of Cafe Society. This stunning tale recounts lavish parties, evenings with Cole Porter, her complete and utter disinterest in cash, jewelry, clothes, The Duchess of Windsor, booze. No, this Zaftig Zelig (who managed to be EVERYWHERE at just the right time!) never touched so much as a drop, preferring to sing for her supper by playing piano at smart dinner parties. Oh, there's a lot of name dropping to be had here, but it's completely delicious! You see, Europe before and between World Wars was the place to be...and it simply wasn't a place for just anybody, unless, of course you were Salvador Dali, Claire Booth, the lesbian author Janet Flanner (AKA Genet), or some second generation American Heiress looking for a title on the cheap. Oh, what SNOBS Americans are! Simply the WORST in the world!!! Of course she brushes shoulders with John Barrymore, is the FIRST to congratulate FDR on his big White House Win, gives insomniac Winston Churchill advice on his wayward son Randolph, and his fetching bride Pamela Digby, arguably the greatest courtesan of her generation. Oh, that yearly free wardrobe by designer Jean Desse! Olivier of the Paris Ritz, who taught her EVERYTHING she knew about fine food and wine (though she never touched the stuff...err...the wine that is). Of COURSE she knew the fate of Woolworth Heiress Barbara Hutton when she got involved with that horrid Prince Mdivani! She convinced Eisenhower to run for president, and predicted he would win handily, FIVE YEARS BEFORE HAND!!!

Run, walk, sleep with, murder someone if you must, but get your hands on this book!

You won't be able to put it down!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


This makes three in a year. Dear Stewart Allingham. Some other guy whose name escapes me, and now the most painful: AUNT CAROLYN MARYCHILD.

Let me tell you a couple things about Aunt Carolyn. More than a couple. She was the coolest, patchouli smelling, San Francisco dwelling Hippette a youngster could ever have met. Especially one who was just plain weird growing up. When I was really young, she told me that all the chaos in my immediate world was not my fault. She accidentally blabbed that I was adopted (some years later) by my father, which made life a hell of a lot clearer to me. She dated this black guy with an afro and his crazy Irish Setter named Kubla; they drove around in a VW Van, chasing the Grateful Dead hither and yon. She changed her name last name from Curtis to Marychild to honor her Mother, because her father had died before she was born. And she didn't change it, even after she married Uncle Rick. She was, after all, still A Child of Mary. Magdalene. Curtis. I swear.

When I was old enough to travel alone (say, oh, about 8), I'd stay with Aunt Carolyn in her flat on Dolores, near the Haight in San Francisco. I can still smell the musky scent of insensce, marijuana, sex. I remember the odd bits of mysterious Eastern bric-a-brac, the female erotica hanging on the wall, her really cool record collection. The bay windows that wouldn't open. The funky ass fridge with the funky ass shit she ate in it. She took me to the Palace of Fine Arts, the windmill at the edge of Golden Gate Park, The Palace of the Legion of Honor, which became my fave museum of all time.

She took me to see my first Bergman Film, FANNY AND ALEXANDER.

She was the first person to tell me that if I was gay, it was OK.

When I was like, oh, 14, she left me alone for the day, gave me some spending money, put me on a bus and sent me to The Castro. How cool is that? In five years I'd be living there.

She and Rick had been married for a while, I was all grown up, and I'd spend weekends with them in Vacaville, a suburb outside of Sacramento. Now, Uncle Rick was a really cool guy. He had this wicked sense of humour, and a naughty cackle to match. Plus he had the best stash box ever! They took me to a Grateful Dead Show. It was a really warm night, and we were completely stoned (like, who wasn't), though I didn't really dig the music, I got swept up in the atmosphere. Then, like magic, a tangerine moon rose above an open air stage.

Once, tripping HARD on a mix of X and coke in Guerneville, on the Russian River, I called Aunt Carolyn collect and told her I was FAAAAH-REEEEKING OUT! She stayed on the phone with me for what seemed like forever, reminding me that it's only a drug, it will pass through you. Well, it finally did, but all in front of the local Safeway Market, hanging on a pay phone.

Then I got HIV. Then it turned to AIDS. Then I moved to Southern California.

Then we lost contact.

Until recently.

She googled me, and up came this blog.

We emailed. She called me her dear tender-hearted nephew of mine. I told her what she had done to make my life what it is today.

Aunt Carolyn died on June 10th.

I love you Aunt Carolyn.

And don't tell me you can't hear me, because I KNOW you believed...

Saturday, June 13, 2009


If you think life is bad, watch THIS!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


By Derek Washington. Recently, I made my way down to my fave shopping destination, The Forum Shops at Ceasars Palace. If you've never been, poor you. It is, hands down, the most luxurious shopping mall in The LV. From it's kitschy talking statues to its cobblestone paths that lead to the worlds premier luxury shops and its ever changing skyscape, The Forum Shops brings a whole new meaning to an afternoon at the mall. Yours truly was invited to the tres chic John Varvatos shop to personally preview the launch of the new Ernst Benz by John Varvatos Limited edition Chronoscope. That's a really cool way to say, majorly nice watch. I was welcomed into the hip, modern space by the killer staff. General Manager Charlotte Moazzami and Assistant Manager Rachel Fox showed me around the shop and introduced me to that aforementioned exquisite timepiece. I was then given the VIP tour by mega well dressed Yoni who pointed out some of the great accessories and the latest Spring Summer 2009 designs. Unlike a lot of high end stores, John Varvatos at The Forum Shops is a welcoming place staffed by friendly folks who delight in showing off their line. The clothes are casually luxurious, perfect for a well dressed guys day or night in The LV. You can go from a private jet straight to your VIP table with a bottle of Dom without missing a beat in John Varvatos. The John Varvatos line is, while stylish and ultra luxe, very comfortable and quite affordable considering the style and quality of work that goes into each piece. If you're a guy looking for a great place to stock up for Spring/Summer 2009, stop in and have the great folks at John Varvatos hook you up in style.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009



Want some cheesy flix from the 1950's? You do? Well, you can't go wrong with anything Lana Turner did. Glossy, Cinemascopey, Lush and Horrid, Turner was on the downturn at 35 when she made:

THE PRODIGAL. Oh. My. God. Turner stars in this $5,000,000 "Biblical" epic wearing almost nothing. Supposedly based on the fable of The Prodigal Son, Lana really, REALLY did not want to do this flick. But it was those waning years of her career at MGM, and she was contractually obligated. So she made EVERYONE miserable, particularly the wardrobe people, spending hours and hours in fittings of scanty-panty chiffon frocks. Lana is just a wreck, but she has that patented MGM walk as she climbs the stairs to the Pagan Altar. Micah (Edward Purdom) is the Prodigal Son, who wanders into Damascus and immediately pops a woody for Turner, Pagan High Priestess. She persuades him to forgo his Hebrew faith, squander his small fortune. This movie is SOOOO awful and cringe making, that by the end, when Turner flings herself into the Sacrificial Fire, you get the idea that she would rather have done it at the beginning of the flick.

Based on the best-selling, scandalous novel by Grace Metalious, PEYTON PLACE features Lana as a frigid widow with a secret. And she takes it all out on her daughter, played by some pert-nosed ingenue from the 50's. Hope Lange (proving herself to be quite the young actress) portrays a beat-about-the-place daughter who also has a secret. Also starring Terry (Mrs Howard Hughes) Moore, David Nelson (can't act, but eye candy), Russ Tamblyn (the son of a domineering mother) and ever present Lloyd Nolan as the kindly town doctor who gives one heck of a speech to a courtroom full of gossipy, prune faced spinsters. This film eventually became a hit, only after Turner's daughter ended up in juvie for killing Johnny Stompanato, and resurrected Lana's waning career. This movie makes Bellingham look like a nice place to live....only not in Technicolor. Or cool clothes.

The success of Peyton Place brought on Lana's next flick IMITATION OF LIFE. I've reviewed it before, and you probably have already seen it, so why bother repeating myself? Costarring Sandra Dee and Juanita Moore.

Next up: Turner plays MADAME X, the many times filmed glossy version of a woman forced out of town by her mother in law, Constance Talmadge. Talmadge steals the show as the arch Mommie Dearest, John Forsyte the mourning husband, and Kier Dullea as the handsome son who ends up defending his mother for murder. Schmaltzy stuff, but OK.

PORTRAIT IN BLACK features Turner as some vicious woman who murders Lloyd Nolan for his dough. Also starring Sandra Dee as her step daughter, and John Saxon as Dee's swarthy beau. This one is not so great, but not nearly as bad as The Prodigal.

Not starring Turner, but Susan Hayward, BACK STREET. This is another of those Ross Hunter productions that pairs aged Hayward with John Gavin. Gavin's married to drunken sot Vera Miles who gives vindictive a great name. When she buys fashion designer Hayward's wedding gown at a charitable function, then wants it packaged and sent to "MISS! RAE! SMITH!" (Hayward, Gavin's mistress) the hoity toity matron's are scandalized. This has a typical tear jerker ending. But quelle effectif!

THE RAPE OF EUROPA is a dazzling educational film of how the Nazis planned and plundered Europe's greatest art collections from museums and Jewish families alike. Ah, but then come the Allies, and they plunder the great works of German artists. Oh, this is good shit. Joan Allen narrates.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009


L.A. Cannabis Club provides relief for many in the HIV community.

Club president Scott Imler talks to Positive Living writer Craig Curtis.

May 1998

"Out of business. Bottom line. The long-range goal is for marijuana to be scheduled and made prescriptively available in pharmacies. Cannabis clubs will no longer be in business."
-- Scott Imler
president and executive director
L.A. Cannabis Buyers' Club

Surprised? I was. But then, Scott Imler, president and director of the L.A. Cannabis Resource Center, is a rather surprising guy.

Having been a member of the L.A. Cannabis Buyers Club since June 1996, I have seen the club go through many changes. Starting out in Santa Monica, they've moved three times (all to sites in West Hollywood). I barely missed the cops during the WeHo bust of September 1996; wandered into a press conference at the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church; gleefully voted "yes" on Prop. 215 in November 1996; and I danced in the streets when it passed. Never has the Club been more important to me than now, having lost 20 pounds after starting combination therapy.

On a beautiful day between rains in early April, I was grateful to speak with Scott in his office at the club. Open since election night 1996, Suite 215 is an ever-evolving, perpetual construction site. Through drastic changes, one thing has not wavered: integrity. Never having had an opportunity to chat with Scott, I was impressed by his honesty in addressing many of the subjects particularly pertinent to these times of uncertainty in the Medical Marijuana Movement. Originally from Santa Cruz, where he was a founding member of California's first cannabis club, Scott talked openly with me about protocol, Peron and "The Big P."

Scott Imler plays by the rules. He made them.

-- Craig Curtis

Scott Imler: We invented the doctors' letter. That was an invention of the Santa Cruz Cannabis Club. Peron never required documentation of any kind. Everybody thinks that Dennis Peron's was the first club, but it really wasn't. The first buyers club was started in Santa Cruz in spring of 1993. Peron didn't open his club until November 1993. I remember when we announced what we were doing in Santa Cruz, Dennis came down for the announcement. After the rally on the courthouse steps [Peron] came up and said, "Good gimmick; it'll never work..."

Craig Curtis: I wasn't sure how far to go on the differences between you and Dennis Peron.

S.I.: I'm not sure it's all that useful other than on a background level. It's been very painful. Dennis was my friend before we were involved in [the medical marijuana movement]. His antics really strained the friendship. It ruined our professional relationship in terms of the movement. We find ourselves at opposite ends of the political spectrum in terms of medical marijuana. [Peron] has a much larger agenda that he feels the need to ply at every juncture. We wrote Prop. 215 together. I wasn't a pot dealer. I grew my own. I came to this through my own use, and my association as a gay person with all my friends dying of AIDS. I guess in some ways I just went out of my way to make things different than how it was in [San Francisco]. Part of it was tactical. Part of it was my gut reaction to what I thought was dishonest...it did not serve the needs of the patients in the long term.

C.C.: Let's talk about your mission statement.

S.I.: Basically, provide information services to patients and the public. To provide legal defense for anybody who's a bona-fide patient registered with the organization...

C.C.: Is that service for patients who buy outside the club?

S.I.: If you're a member in good standing, you automatically have a lawyer should you get in any problems for medical marijuana. Nine of our members got in trouble last year. Eight of them qualified for the (Legal Defense) program. One, who was involved with the Marijuana Mansion in Bel-Air -- it was such a big thing there was nothing we could do for him. [Cancer patient Todd McCormick of Bel-Air was arrested in August 1997 for cultivating more than 4,000 marijuana plants.] But eight members got their charges dismissed because they all had their letters and our lawyer went in and said "Prop. 215." They got off.

C.C.: How have you been received by the West Hollywood City Council?

S.I.: They're wonderful. They've been very supportive... They knew that moved here. They had actually even rolled out the psychic red carpet for us. In mid-December (1996), the city called and said "We want to meet and work out rules." About four days later they called back and said, "Scott, have you got any rules you operate under because we're having a tough time figuring out how all this works," and I said "Yeah, we've got protocol." Essentially the city adopted it lock, stock and barrel.

C.C.: Have local doctors continued to be supportive in spite of the sabre rattling by Dan Lungren?

S.I.: (Laughs) That goes back and forth. Mostly doctors are concerned about the feds. Most of the AIDS agencies have been pretty good... The doctors know we enforce [protocol] because we won't serve their patients without a letter. We call every doctor every time to verify that they really did sign that letter. Even the doctors we know. We call them every single time. We've been so diligent -- they probably say to themselves: Damn, those guys call me on every single letter! Even Dan Lungren's office will tell you that LACBC is the best-run club in the state.

C.C.: Have the police been cooperative?

S.I.: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, the night of the election they came out and gave one last ticket. We call it "The Last Medical Marijuana Ticket." It was issued about 5:15 on Election Day.

C.C.: What about the media?

S.I.: We're to the point where we don't even want to have the media come here anymore. We always felt that we had no secrets; we didn't have anything to hide, so we've always been forthcoming with the media. Time and time and time again, we'll spend four to eight hours with a TV news crew who will come in, film everything -- they'll show our banner, our patients, and then they'll splice in footage of tie-dye hippies straight out of Haight-Ashbury smoking pot at Dennis' (club). Frankly, we're too through... There are only three or four journalists I've come in contact with that really get it. All the rest are interested in the Big P.

C.C.: "Big P," meaning...?

S.I.: The endless ideological debate about the drug war between Dan Lungren and Dennis Peron.

C.C.: Big P: Big Politics?

S.I.: Big Pot. Big Police. (Laughs)

C.C.: How about the recent court order naming cannabis clubs as non-primary care-givers, thereby restricting your ability to consume and exist?

S.I.: Our club itself is not a care-giver. We are an association of legitimately exempt people. Under the legal premise by which we exist, we have to know that every person is legitimately exempt or our legal premise is out the window. In the Peron case, and in other of these Northern California clubs, they're run by people who aren't sick. So they had to find some legal mechanism by which they could be involved. That's why they had to craft this legal fiction of care-giver assignment. Most of those clubs up there are run by non-patients, so they had to spin some interpretation that they were legal. In the process of doing that they're coming close to ruining legitimate patient groups' abilities to take care of themselves through clubs. That's why Dennis Peron did it -- because he's got people in there who aren't sick...

C.C.: I've seen fliers for your Medical Marijuana for patients in recovery groups.

S.I.: The Medical Marijuana for Patients in Recovery Group meets at the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church (Fairfax and Fountain) at 6:15 on Friday nights. We believe that you should be able to use medicinal marijuana if your doctor says you have to, without sacrificing your sobriety or being kicked-out of your recovery program. Recovery is about life and death, too. Some members are into the 12 Steps. Some aren't.

C.C.: You're a practicing Methodist?

S.I.: Yes. And lay preacher. I fill in when the pastor's not there.

C.C.: Let's address requirements for membership. Any limitations?

S.I.: Our only limitation is you've got to have a letter from your doctor. We have other rules -- 27 grams per week limit. You can't give it away, trade it, sell it. If we ever find that out -- you're out of here. Don't smoke in public, and if you get in trouble, show the police your card. Tell the truth. Be polite. And call us right away. Being polite is really important because the police know that (courtesy) is in our rules. So they know who are members of our club and who aren't. No one is turned away for lack of financial resources. Fully 25 percent of the marijuana consumed by our members last year was consumed gratis. I think that's important for your readers to know; the service is here for people that need it.