It has been a very busy week. Last Thursday, the WGA Foundation hosted the screening of a new documentary film about writer Harlan Ellison. It is wonderful. I have no idea when it will actually be released to the public (there's some talk of filming Stephen King and a few other people) but there's some terrific footage with Robin Williams and Neil Gaiman. The historic footage, going back to the days when Harlan still had dark hair and a 28" waist, was well worth seeing. I still don't remember whether my first "in the same room" contact with Harlan was 1980 or six years earlier--I've got to check my negatives--but even in 1980 he was wiry and dark-haired. By 1989, when I photographed him for my Portrait Project, his hair was mostly white and he had grown heavier. His personality, however, had changed very little.
We initially stopped by the Hollywood landmark Pink's Hot Dogs, where Harlan was holding court to a group of about 20 people before the screening. His plan to arrive at the screening in his "Silver Ghost," a 1947 Packard, went awry when the machine began spewing smoke on the way down through Coldwater Canyon. His beloved car was towed away on a flat-bed and we became the ride for the rest of the evening. After the screening, the four of us joined Lisa Jane Persky and Andy Zax for dessert at a coffee shop on Beverly Boulevard. By the time we dropped Harlan and Susan off, it was way past their bed-time, and we did not get home until 2 a.m. For me it was a school night, and I did not get enough sleep.
Saturday night, we went over to Mogo's Mongolian Bar-b-q, Harlan's favorite dinner haunt along the Boulevard, to join him for dinner. Harlan had copped out, sending Susan down along with Josh Olsen (Oscar (R) nominated for scripting A History of Violence) to entertain the remainder of the folks who had come in from out of town for the documentary screening.
Sunday, we went for brunch with Steven Gould, author of Jumper, a sometimes banned book which will be released as a feature film next year. Steve was in from Albuquerque for the weekend because of "The Big Read" honoring Ray Bradbury. We picked him up at Union Station (where he had dropped off his rental car and was killing time until the 6:45 train departure home) and went up to Pasadena, which has a nice, community feel on a Sunday. It gave me an opportunity to window-shop at my favorite gift store, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Store. I was saved from buying an interesting watch with a moving gray-scale only because there was not one with an appropriate band length for my skinny wrist (probably the only skinny thing about me.) Steve picked up gifts for his wife and daughters. We also made a pilgrimage to The Container Store for my never-ending quest to bring order to the Wein-Valada mess.
I guess that's enough name-dropping for one post.
Lunch with the Barefoot Contessa
2 months ago