Archive for October, 2010

Breaking: Nov. 4th at Boston Globe’s Media Matters Conference, Elizabeth Searle discusses and shows the preview of our Celebrities in Disgrace film; details soon on new screenings in Maine, PA and more…

An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin McCarthy has two feature films in development: “Wonder Drug” with director Tom Gilroy (“Spring Forward”); and “Resistance” with director Si Wall (“The Dinner Party,” premiering November 2010) and producer Rebecca-Clare Evans. She also has a TV series treatment, “Free Skate,” which is currently being considered by top production companies.

Hey HBO: Let Michael Des Barres Rock “True Blood”!

By Caitlin McCarthy

I love a good campaign. To me, nothing is more exciting than turning a great idea into reality.

Facebook has enabled the average person to orchestrate a campaign with just a few clicks. But don’t underestimate those clicks – they’re powerful. Take Betty White, for example. She was invited to host “Saturday Night Live” after a successful petition on Facebook, and later won an Emmy for that gig. We love Betty, and SNL got that message thanks to social networking.

After telling everyone that British actor and rock singer Michael Des Barres would make an excellent vampire on HBO’s hit series “True Blood,” I realized that a Facebook petition should be created for this very purpose. So, without further ado, I give you:  PutMichaelDesBarresOnTrueBlood.

Within its first day, scores of Truebies and Des Barres fans clicked the “Like” button. Now over 600 fans (and counting) have signed on.  Gotta like that!

Des Barres, affectionately called MDB by fans, is best known for playing the recurring role of Murdoc on the TV series “MacGyver,” and for replacing the late Robert Palmer in the rock group Power Station, which was partly formed by my tweenage crush John Taylor of Duran Duran. MDB fronted Power Station at the legendary 1985 Live Aid concert.

He is also the ex-husband of famous groupie, actress and author Pamela Des Barres and is written about extensively in two of her books, I’m With The Band and Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart. (more…)

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SHE & HIM meets CELEBS in DISGRACE.  Zooey Deschanel— our longstanding It Girl– took questions from our blog among others when she and Matt Ward gave a freewheeling LiveCast interview on October 18th.  Mark McNutt, producer of our film Celebrities in Disgrace, represented our blog in the interview with Zooey and Matt (aka, She & Him), sponsored by Levi’s Jeans ‘Shape What’s to Come.’

Congrats to Mark for getting two of his questions broadcast and answered; be sure to check out the She & Him song, Shape What’s to Come, recorded for this event.

We are unabashed Zooey fans here on the blog.  Hearing her say ‘Congratulations, Mark’ and making her giggle with our last question: these moments are right up there in Celebs’ best blogging achievements.

To sum up our She & Him exchange: Mark McNutt first informed Zooey that our posts on her and She & HIm are top hit-draws.  Zooey congratulated Mark.  Then she and Matt Ward addressed Mark’s question of why they are ‘so popular.’ Zooey ventured that she and M. Ward ‘just make the music that WE like… and there must be other people like us.”

M. Ward added that they go for an ‘element of suspense’ and do records with ‘lots of twists and turns.’  Zooey mentioned that M. Ward does productions that are ‘surprising and interesting and lush.’

At interview’s end, the last question came from ‘Celebrities in Disgrace,’ stating that we love the name ‘She and Him’ and inquiring ‘What is up with that?’  (Here is where Zooey giggles).   ‘Why not Her & Him or She & He?’  “Funny you should ask,” Zooey told us via Livecast.  After explaining that other bands had ‘taken’ the more obvious names like Him and Her, Zooey and M. decided to go for something ‘more complex.’

As Zooey points out, “SHE is active and HIM is not,’ but she hastened to add that both she and M. Ward are active in their collaboration.  In collaborative comradery, the two agreed that “Him and Her’ sounded like (to M. Ward) ‘Bed, Bath & Beyond’ and (to Zooey) ‘like monogrammed pillows.’  As Zooey observed in the Livecast’s memorable final line: “I don’t want to be a monogrammed pillow.”

Big THANKS to Zooey and M. Ward for answering us and to HOPE, working with Levi’s, for inviting us to join in the conversation with She & Him.  Rock on, Zooey and Matt!

(photos: exclaim.com, 1920×1200.net, cleveland.com, SheandHim.com, flicker.com)

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Watch for a YouTube link to the Oct. 18 LIVECAST INTERVIEW WITH ZOOEY DESCHANEL & M. WARD, sponsored by Levi’s Shape What’s to Come, including questions from the producer of our Celebrities In Disgrace film, Mark McNutt…

Erin Enberg freelances in various film and television productions and has worked for HBO, NBC, The Travel Channel, A&E, MTV and many others. She currently resides in Portland, Maine and will be graduating in January with an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. Her work will appear in the second edition of Kerouac’s Dog Magazine and she is an editor for The New Guard, a forthcoming literary journal based in Portland.  (author photo: Jonathan Grassi).


I am in love with Florencio Avalos.

I can’t get these 33 miners out of my mind–and heart. Thirty-two year old Florencio Avalos was the first one out, and what a looker he was! The dark complexion, the sunglasses, the bravery to be the first to ride up the escape tunnel–no one knew what would happen, only the first rescue worker had ridden down into the shaft, but not up it. Their vital signs were monitored–blood pressure, heart rate, and they had to wear oxygen masks, a girdle and compression socks to prevent blood clots. When they opened the capsule—an underwhelming 1960s-ish metal encasment designed in part by NASA—the world waited. Would he be able to walk? Would he be emotionally overwhelmed? The miners had been “coached” every day by doctors, psychologists and trainers, even having them read a book about how to deal with the media and coping with the difference in expectations between them and their families. Supposedly Florencio would be first because he was the healthiest and most emotionally stable. They didn’t want someone who might have a panic attack on the way up. When he stepped out from the capsule, his seven year old son let his head hang back and wailed into the cool desert air in the San Jose mine in Copiapo. Florencio, without even a smile or hesitation or any sign of muscular atrophy or emotional imbalance, embraced his wife and son. Oh Florencio, your strength of character and bravery! You won me over with your stoic temperament and endurance! And you’re really cute (Creo que eres guapo!). I would’ve chosen you first, too. (more…)

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BREAKING: Our film producer Mark McNutt joined in the Livecast today and two of his questions were included & answered.  We’ll get up the YouTube of the interview ASAP; meanwhile, look into downloading an original She & Him song done for the Livecast… Keep up with our Celebrities in Disgrace film as we discuss it at Boston Globe’s Media Matters conference Nov. 4th & 5th…

SHE & HIM– & US… by Elizabeth Searle

Zooey Deschanel has always been the It Girl of our blog– so we were psyched to be invited to take part in a LIVECAST INTERVIEW with Zooey and her musical partner Matt Ward — aka, SHE & HIM.  The Livecast happened Monday Oct. 18 at 1PM PST, sponsored by Levi Jeans new platform for women who combine passion and profession: ShapeWhatsToCome.

Zooey fans who want advance access to the original song being released for this interview, please visit the Shapewhatstocome site and/or leave a comment here so I can pass on ‘goodies’ information.  Meanwhile, enjoy SHE & HIM ‘In the Sun’ and look forward to ‘what’s to come’ on when we broadcast the YouTube of the Monday the 18th interview, with Celebs in Disgrace firing off questions.

Our thanks to HOPE and Levi’s for the invitation to hang out with She & Him!

(photos: southernfeme.com, flickriver.com)


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Watch for blog news on ZOOEY DESCHANEL & a livestream interview & on our film Celebrities in Disgrace…                  PROGRESS ON OUR CAUSE CELEB… by Elizabeth Searle

As we contemplate Cause Celebs this week, we’re happy to report progress on our own screenwriting star Caitlin McCarthy’s fight for a public apology to victims of the DES drug scandal.

Caitlin McCarthy‘s ground-breaking Guest Post on DES was linked by Diana Bianchini on the Huffington Post and on a DES activist blog in Australia.  Her message was endorsed by rock star John Payne, of ASIA featuring John Payne.  This week, Caitlin reports an encouraging new letter from Senator Scott Brown.  Brown reports that both he and Senator Kerry have taken action.  He told Caitlin:

I understand your concerns regarding the exposure of millions of women and children to DES since 1938.  At this time, please know that I have been working with my Massachusetts colleague, Senator John Kerry, on this issue.  We have sent a letter to Commissioner Hamburg at the Food and DrugAdministration toinquire about an apology from the FDA in recognition of the hardshipsendured by families across the country. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

If you should have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me or visit my website at www.scottbrown.senate.gov.

Readers, please help spread the word.  We’re happy to see Caitlin’s Guest Post on our little blog having a big impact…

For the full MESSAGE FROM SENATOR BROWN TO CAITLIN, continue reading… (more…)

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Film Update: Celebs in Disgrace film scriptwriter ELizabeth Searle (aka, yours truly) will speak about the Celebs short film experience and show the Celebrities in Disgrace preview at the Boston Globe Media Matters Converence on election week, NOV. 4th & 5th…Info. on new screenings coming soon!

CAUSE CELEB. by Elizabeth Searle

The upcoming Jon Stewart rally in DC is upstaging real pol.s and aiming to ‘restore sanity’ to DC– even as the Marine Corps Marathon refuses to share porto-potties with Stewart & co.   I’m all for Stewart, truly America’s ‘most trusted’ name in news.

But increasingly, celeb. ‘experts’ are the most sought-after talking heads to testify before Congress.

From Angelina Jolie to Lady Gaga, speaking up for a ’cause celeb’ before Congress is the latest celebrity status symbol.  Of course, star power draws the kind of media attention that fuels a movement.  But how far can such celeb-based fuel really carry a cause?

Recently, Stephen Colbert ‘testified‘ before Congress on the unlikely issue of immigration; our political commentator ‘Ol’ Bill’ put in a plea for ‘No More Clowns in Congress’:

Mr. Colbert is a very funny fellow– in his usual spot on TV. And his sophisticated brand of humor (with a message) is essential to the balanced maintenance of public sanity. But it’s a total waste in the Washington circus of comic strip politics. It’s beyond the  comprehension of half of them and too scary to endorse by the sellout  hypocrites who go along to get along with the intimidating clown  minority. Not to mention the terribly serious plight of the undocumented laborers that Colbert sought to publicly highlight. How sad.

Thanks for bracing words, Ol’ Bill.  My own feelings are a mix.  Celebrity testimony undoubtedly does draw a crowd.  Does that add to or distract from the celebrity’s chosen ’cause’?  WDYT?

(photos: politicalticker.com, photoshelter.com, newsweek.com, washingtonpost.com)

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IMG_1535Steven Brykman left medical school to pursue a career writing jokes as Managing Editor of National Lampoon. As a writing fellow at the University of Massachusetts, his fiction was awarded the Harvey Swados prize. His work has appeared in Playboy.comCrackedNerve, and the New Yorker, where he was featured in Talk of the Town. The kind folks at Prairie Home Companion once sent him a check in exchange for some jokes. He has written for/appeared on a bunch of TV shows nobody watched or remembers.  He has been thrown out of the Smithsonian Museum and the 2000 Democratic National Convention and has on more than one occasion performed standup comedy naked.

The Time I Got Thrown Out of the 2000 Democratic National Convention by Steven Brykman

dnc9First off, they had it coming, let’s be honest. Seriously. Who gives press passes to the National Lampoon? Whose decision was that? I can just see our application hitting their desk: Deloris, another pass request! Oh for the love of God, Mildred, who is it this time? Who knows? Something called National Lampoon. Sounds kind of familiar…but I can’t quite place it…National Lampoon…National Lampoon. Dotcom. They have a dotcom after their name. And then Deloris brightens up, “Oh, dotcom! Al loves dotcoms. Very green, apparently. Piles and piles of cash, he says. Any dotcoms are a go!

We couldn’t believe it ourselves when the passes arrived in the mail. It was like Willy Wonka and the golden ticket. We literally jumped around the office holding hands and doing kicks and singing (to the tune of ‘I’ve Got a Golden Ticket’): “We’re gonna see Al Gore!!! We’re gonna see Al Gore!!!” There was only one problem. There were two passes. And there were five of us: an art director (Joe) and four editors (Mason, Cummin, Crespo and myself). My editor, our boss: Scott Rubin (ticket holder #1) snapped into action:

Brykman!! You’re the smallest guy here. Tiny, in fact. You’re..you’re like a weasel.

Thank you, sir, I said.dnc14

I mean that in that you can work your way through a crowd.

Lithe would have sufficed.


I prefer to think of myself as lithe.

Whatever. I’m gonna need you on my team. Here’s the other press pass. I mean, nobody can even see you, you’re so little. Er, lithe. Sometimes I don’t even see you and you’re standing right in front of me.

Whisper words of wisdom, I said, hugging my press pass to my breast, Let it be.  (more…)

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Cigar Guy image is popping up in iconic photos everywhere


It would seem that “Cigar Guy” has added a few minutes to his 15 with the announcement of a $1000 reward for anyone who can identify Cigar Guy. CNN.com this morning features prominently on its front door a Cigar Guy update.

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Matthew Quinn Martin is the director and executive producer of the Celebrities in Disgrace movie. His original screenplay Slingshot was made into a feature film and is available on DVD from The Weinstein Co. His short fiction has appeared in Transition MagazineJMWW, The Oddville Press,Big Pulp (with Libby Cudmore) and numerous other outlets. www.matthewquinnmartin.com

The Old Fan Dance?

“I don’t want nobody like that around my kids” or “I totally agree with her; people trade sex for money/things all the time, and that’s her right to do it.” That seems to be what most people are saying about stripper/”hooker” turned Bronx art teacher, turned nascent celebrity, Melissa Petro. And I haven’t heard much from anyone that rises above either of those positions. From an emotional standpoint I can understand to the first sentiment, from an intellectual one the second.

However, after some reflection, I begin to wonder if there might be more at work here than the liberated pronouncements of a self-identified feminist vs. the rash fears of paranoid parents. The more I think about it all, the more I’m reminded of the famous Nazca Lines of Peru. At ground level, they appear as little more than a set of scratches in the dirt. Only when seen from the air do they turn out to be intricate geoglyphs. In the same way, Petros’s actions, when examined from a certain distance, might just turn out to be a brilliantly executed, near-perfect con job.

Here’s what we know. Petro used to work as a stripper in Mexico. In addition, in her own words, “From October 2006 to January 2007 [Petro] accepted money in exchange for sexual services [she] provided to men [she] met online in what was then called the “erotic services” section of Craigslist.org.” After The Huffington Post published an account by Petro detailing her erotic escapades, Petro was removed from teaching and put on “administrative duties.”.

That, as they say, is the sexy stuff that headlines are made of.

Less well-reported, however, is that Petro also holds an MFA in creative non-fiction from the New School University. In addition, she has been hard at work writing a memoir. Setting aside for a moment the fact that her claims are not prosecutable retroactively––no more so than having admitted to snorting cocaine (as our current president has done in his memoir). Her admission is in no way verifiable. Is it possible, just possible, that just made it up in order to spice up a memoir that might not have sold in a market choked with wannabe tell-alls? Is it possible that she exaggerated or totally fabricated this section of her past?  We could ask an expert liar like James Frey. But unlike Frey, there’s no way to prove that Petro didn’t do what she claims. After all, it’s not the type of crime where the police could dust for fingerprints. Sure, one could check the Craigslist archives, but even if those could be traced back to her––which is doubtful, unless she was using her real name––that’s only proof of the advertisement, not the act. (more…)

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Who is the mysterious Cigar Guy?

The Internet is abuzz today about a random guy in a recently published photo of Tiger Woods hitting a golf ball directly into a camera. The photo was amazing, but it is the mysterious “Cigar Guy” off to the right that is getting all of the attention. Probably not a bad idea given Wood’s recent play. Here’s what Yahoo Buzz has to say about it.

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