Archive for February, 2012

February 24, 2012

What Demons?

A certain party was moved to pen this letter to Vanity Fail in response to the Nick Tosches’ interview with Johnny Depp that ran in their November 2011 issue. ‘The Truth About Johnny’s Demons’ read the attention-grabbing headline. The letter, naturally, wasn’t printed.

The truth about Johnny Depp’s demons is that he doesn’t have any demons. At least no more than any average guy. He’s a happily married multimillionaire who enjoys a glass of wine (Chateau L’Evangile 2002) and an occasional flutter at the Ritz poker table. An actor who smokes and drinks: Wow. Are we supposed to worry about him or regard him as some sort of martyr or hero because he indulges in a few perfectly normal ‘vices’ that don’t seem to have any negative effect upon his career or family life? Or do you have to pretend he is demon-ridden to sell this puff piece in which Tosches and Depp sit around telling each other how cool they are and dropping a lot of names in the process?

‘Johnny’ is a fairly gifted actor who got very lucky and enjoys basking in the reflected glory of other celebrity bad boys – “Hunter”, “Keith”, etc. He actually has the audacity to compare his vapid bowdlerization of a bad Hunter S.Thompson novel to Casablanca.

Tosches is somebody that one likes to think of as upholding a certain level of journalistic integrity, but here he lowers himself to the level of any other celebrity-worshiping hack. He is impressed with “the rare depth of (Johnny’s) reading… from Baudelaire to Beckett to Burroughs.” One can’t help but cynically wonder if Tosches would be as impressed with this level of erudition – which, judging by the cited authors, wouldn’t be out of place coming from any literate teenager – in somebody that wasn’t famous.

An actor who reads: Whatever next? Perhaps he’s even a musician. But of course: Johnny’s “a formidable guitarist.” As for Johnny’s apparent ‘literacy’, he can’t seem to speak a coherent sentence: “No, no, no. The idea of releasing that, like – no, no. I feel like it’s for, like, a few, you know?” Thanks for sharing the intricacies of Johnny’s thought processes. Printing this drivel is, in fact, an insult to any literate reader. It’s embarrassing to witness how flattered Tosches is by Depp’s patronage. My respect – for what that’s worth – for Tosches has diminished considerably as a result of this article. As for Depp, I never had any.

And yes, of course I’m jealous of him. What other reason could a man have for not liking Johnny Depp?

February 18, 2012

Laughing at the Artwork

An esteemed critic weighs in with rapturously levelheaded appraisal of lavish Las Cienegas show. Huffington Post 12/10.

February 18, 2012


The footsteps of bored guards echo in the empty galleries.
A homeless patron wheels a laundry cart around.
Despite free admission, the place is empty,
these are the only sounds; and it’s easy to get lost
in the bleak, rural Dutch 17th century.

Beneath a cloudy, unforgiving sky,
two figures tramp down a muddy lane
toward a house half-hidden behind gnarled trees.
Cattle graze beside a river.
Beyond torn fencing fields recede.

Gazing into these serenely battered bygone scenes,
one is reminded of real life, real weather:
that it might still be out there somewhere.
Not here, far removed from European culture,
at the very edge of the western hemisphere.

Where, on a hollow, cloudless day
the collection’s fragile incongruity is quickly wiped away
by the umpteenth oblivious jogger running by
with a head set on.

There’s nothing in the air.
The sun, subtly vampiric, barely brushes against a world
where everything and nothing is in bloom:
a seductive vacuity, of lifeless trees
and lives of ease and loud complacency,
as soothing and beautiful as a cartoon.

February 7, 2012

If you’re looking for a truly romantic way to spend Valentine’s Night

Standard Hotel, West Hollywood. Valentine’s Night, Feb 14th. Complimentary wine served between 7 and 8pm. Readings by Ezrha Jean Black, Zak Smith, Sophie Sills and John Tottenham at 8pm.

February 7, 2012

On The Road Again

A good humor man nurtures a roadside weed
With water from a Dixie Cup; 
Street lights change superfluously in muggy stillness;
In a world of blinding blandness
A poisonous vacancy becomes beautiful.