Tag Archives: stan lerner blog

THE LOS ANGELES BOOK FESTIVAL

The Los Angeles Book Festival named “Sweet Mary” by two time Pulitzer Prize Winner Liz Balmaseda its 2010 Grand Prize Winner—congratulations Liz! My novel “Stan Lerner’s Criminal”, as it did at the London Book Festival received the First Honorable Mention. So “Criminal” has now won the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival and received the First Honorable Mention at both the London and Los Angeles Book Festivals—not so bad for a UCLA dropout, I suppose. In the case of the London Book Festival I wrote a blog that explored my feelings with respect to my expectations of always having to win and ultimately the journey of writing and publishing “Criminal”. If you haven’t read my London Book Festival blog please do so, because the words I am now hoping to conjure up won’t be of the recycled variety.

The results were announced online (Feb 25th 2010) as I sat at my favorite coffee house in Montebello, a suburb of LA and my hometown. A few days earlier I had just returned from the continuation of my much written about journey “Road To Nowhere”. This time the “Road To Nowhere” had picked back up in Missoula Montana and gone as far as Washington DC—I had been planning to write about this affair of the road until the moment the news of “Criminal’s” most recent festival result appeared on my screen. Happily, I did not experience the angst previously described in my London Book Festival blog, rather I felt, for lack of a more literary term, relaxed—basically I’m okay with things these days.

Yes, it would still be nice if the publishing establishment and big booksellers could find a way to work with artists such as myself that don’t exactly fit any kind of mold or formula. And it would be great if the motion picture studios and or production companies sought out award winning artists and their works, instead of relying on simply what’s fed to them by a few powerful agencies that can throw in a star or two as part of a package. And as I mention these major shifts of paradigm I would like to see happen one day, I can’t help but to think of a recent article in the Los Angeles Downtown News, which focused on downtown’s writers, it had a nice picture of them at Metropolis Books on Main Street (I’ve done two reading at this store, lived downtown for fifteen years, and have won more awards than the entire group combined.)—no picture or mention of Stan Lerner though. And I mean this genuinely from my heart—it’s okay. I don’t understand it, but I’m okay with it… Continue reading

NO ENCORE FOR OLIVER

FOREWORD BY STAN LERNER: Downtownster does not celebrate its first birthday until February, but I still feel compelled to post the TEN BEST downtownster blogs of 2009. And while I think all of our blogs have been great, these are the ones that readers read the most and gave us the highest level of props for writing. Of course it should come as no surprise that “The Adventures Of Downtown Oliver Brown” made the list more than once. It was a hell of a year!!! 

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“Whooooo Shiiiiiiit!!! Look what the cat done dragged into Vegas!!!!” screamed the large, handsome, cowboy looking fellow that had come to greet us at the airport.

            I staggered off of Stan Peters’ Gulfstream V and watched as the cowboy fellow lifted Stan off of the floor in a hug that would have crushed a hearty Grizzly, no doubt. Hopefully you’ve read the last blog where the drinking binge that resulted in the flight to Las Vegas with Stan on his private jet began. Because Stan’s Gulfsream is well stocked with fine Scotch the drinking had continued unabated until the moment where our story continues:

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            “James Whiskey Peet the third, I’d like you to meet the best and possibly most dysfunctional writer in Hollywood, Downtown Oliver Brown.”

            James Whiskey Peet the third, crushed my hand with a vice like grip. “Well any friend of Stan Peters the scummiest and most powerful producer in Hollywood is a friend of mine.”

 I pried my hand loose. “Are those real six shooters you’ve got strapped on there, James Whiskey Peet the third?” 

            He pulled the pearl handled, diamond studded, beautiful instruments of death with the skill of true shootest and fired off a couple shots each into the air. “Damn right they’re real—writer boy. And call me Whiskey Peet! Now enough of this shiiiiiit hop in the car and let’s go play some cards!” Then wrapping his arm around my shoulder. “Bet you don’t have any cars like this in that faggot, liberal city you just flew in from.”

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            I took in Whiskey Peet’s Rolls Royce Phantom stretch limousine. It actually made Stan’s normal Rolls Royce Phantom look small. My eyes had some trouble focusing but eventually made their way down to the front of the car where they came to rest on an enormous set of what appeared to be solid silver steer horns.

            “This is a fine automobile Whiskey Peet. I take it that it’s equipped with a bar?”

            He slapped me on the back. “My boy! My boy! Get your ass in there and see for yourself.”

            Whiskey Peet shoved Stan and myself through the back door where we were greeted by a bunch of girls wearing nothing but chaps and cowgirl vests…And a guy named Dave.

            “Girls these are my boys from the coast!” The girls all said, “hi” on cue and made various comments about how cute we were. “And boys that’s my buddy Dave The Jew!” Continue reading

DINNER AND A MOVIE – DOWNTOWN!!!

I once went to Vegas for a weekend and stayed for a year—that would be 2003 to 2004 the year of  “Stan Lerner’s Night Tribe” at the Rio, oh what a year.

My most recent 30 straight days of partying and blogging in Sin City, well a teaser by my own standards. And while I was away I heard the news that REGAL 14 OPENED AT LA LIVE!!!

“Not far from Rock ‘N Fish,” I thought to myself. “Not far at all. Oh, and FIDM is having a little “New Moon” party on Friday at the restaurant before the sucking kicks off. And there’s also my much older sister’s birthday to consider—Saturday night.” And then there was one more thought. “I should probably spend some time with my girlfriend who is less than thrilled…”

So I resolved to head back to the City Of Angels, although I’d been up to debauchery that would have embarrassed Heidi Fleiss back in the day—when I was dating her roommate Dianna.

Down the 15 to the 210, cut through Pasadena, down the 110, off on 9th, right on Flower, cheap parking lot—pick up girlfriend— head straight to Rock ‘N Fish meet with seriously up an coming producer, collect $150,000.00 down payment on three new projects, say goodbye to seriously up an coming producer—order Spicy Tuna Roll and Ahi Tuna with Spinach and Mac ‘n Cheese.

“Edward…Edward…Edward…Do you like Jake or Edward?” the girlfriend ranted on in a “Twilight” frenzy that alleviated all guilt for the things I had just done in Vegas.

“I’m going to head into the party. Why don’t you hang at the bar? Maybe Edward will show his glowing little face that I’d like to punch in.”

“You wouldn’t…”

I walked into the party and looked for Sarah Maxwell—who was responsible for putting together the little soirée. Continue reading

A BLAST FROM THE PAST IN LAS VEGAS – NOT EXACTLY

“So you’re in Vegas staying at Fat Andy’s house?” asked Norm Rosenstein, my accountant, whom I put in charge of all of my former business interests from way back in my empire building years of insanity.

“Yeah, he has an extra bedroom,” I responded…Norm usually gives me the business about my lack of interest in the business around this time of year.

“You have fifty-seven unoccupied houses, two in Vegas, why are you crashed out at Fat Andy’s?”

Frankly, I had forgotten about the houses in Vegas. “That many houses? I didn’t realize…I get lonely, I prefer to stay with friends…”

“Stan, fifty-seven houses, one hundred and four automobiles, a G-4 and a Citation all costing money and nothing you seemingly have any interest in. Besides my fiduciary responsibility as the trustee that you appointed, some of your friends and family are calling me…”

“C’mon Norm you’re stressing me out…Why don’t you come out and have some fun?”

“I read your blog last week along with a million other people…You don’t really think that the ghost of Howard Hughes is riding shotgun with you these days?”

I looked over at Howard who was indeed sitting next to me in the Benz…Apparently he really likes my car. He mentioned, that had he not died, he would have designed this exact car.

“Norm, I was kidding about Howard…I’m delusional not crazy! Anyway, I need to pull into Starbucks and do some writing can we pick this up tomorrow?”

“Stan you have to grow up again…I mean what happened, you used to be a business machine?”

“Money is base Norm…It bores me. To be continued…” I hung up the iphone.

Howard gave me a thumbs-up. “I thought you handled that superlatively,” he grinned that haunting grin.

“Norm means well. And he’s made me like a billion dollars or something, but I just can’t get into it. I like to write, it’s my passion.”

“I know, I felt the same way about flying…You will be confronted with the catalyst for your change (awakening) you know—sooner or later.” Again that haunting grin.

So as I sat at Starbucks updating my facebook status it really was no surprise that the last girl I had wanted to marry, before giving up on the conventional empire building life that Norm wishes I would regain my zeal for, popped up with a comment. I don’t know how Howard knows the answers to everything from curing zombie fever and if I may digress for a moment, I don’t know what’s better, having sex with the zombie girl who keeps on biting me or the antidote of sleeping with the married midget who looks like a mini Megan Fox, but this is, in no small part, why I haven’t gone back to LA…Anyway, Howard was right again, we all have our own path, but there are circumstances that for better or worse influence how we get to where we are meant to go.

Out of kindness I’ll just call this girl G…

“Vegas baby! I’m in Vegas for my Birthday!” Read the comment on my facebook status.

Since we hadn’t spoken, but for a chance meeting ten years ago in Central Park, for fifteen years, I found this to be an incredible coincidence. But the fact that we had become facebook friends surely meant that there was still some type of closure needed…I accepted her invitation to meet her and her friend at Tao for dinner. Continue reading

MICHAEL JACKSON – THIS IS IT

Foreword by Stan Lerner: in general blogs about Sin City / Las Vegas should read fast and fun. This blog won’t, because Michael Jackson “This Is It” is a brilliant film born from an incredible loss to the world—the musical genius of Michael Jackson.

This story, for me, begins with a text message on my iphone that read “Michael Jackson has passed away,” which I received thirty minutes before other media sources. I decided not to break the story. It’s just not the type of blogging I personally aspire to.

After several days of friends and readers asking me to write something about the death of Michael Jackson, I acquiesced and did so. I chose to define the thru line that the media would take, given the enormous amounts of money that would inevitably be at stake. I said that the King of Pop’s personal life would be faded and his music both rediscovered and celebrated. Good business and frankly the preference of the public.

As I sat in Jerry Olivarez’s beautiful suite on the 32nd floor of the Palms Hotel’s Fantasy Tower, Michael Jackson “This Is It” was the furthest thing from my mind. Jerry is the Executive Director of PR for Brenden Theatres and I was there to discuss blogsincity business. But as things go Jerry, Joe and I began to discuss the premiere of  “This Is It”, which was being held at the Brenden Theatre just off the casino in the Palms. Because this particular theatre is home base to Johnny Brenden himself it is by definition the company’s flagship. And although it had nothing to do with what I was there to discuss I accepted Jerry’ s gracious offer to attend the premiere.

The event began as anyone would expect, there was lots of press on hand to witness—Johnny Brenden presenting Joe Jackson with a star on the Brenden Theatre walk of fame. And while Johnny himself could be a Vegas reality show, which I’d gladly produce, this blog really takes a turn in a different direction—the movie.

AEG who put up the money for the “This Is It” tour and myself have butted heads on a couple of issues regarding their LA Live project in Los Angeles in the past. The fact that they sold the rehearsal footage to be used for the movie to Sony for sixty million dollars, well added to my discomfort given AEG’s claim of having no financial interest in holding a Michael Jackson funeral event at Staple’s Center. But all of that being said it’s a great thing that Kenny Ortega was given the opportunity to put the footage together into “This Is It” because it answers a lot of questions. Continue reading

PRIVE, TAO, NOIR – LAS VEGAS GRAND SLAM

Foreword by Stan Lerner: WARNING! this blog is a sexual escapade. If you are offended by promiscuity do not read any further. And for my readers who demanded some Downtown Oliver Brown salacious behavior you owe me because this really tired me out.

Roxy wanted to go to dinner—and I was confident that I could squeeze it in, drop her back off, she lives way the hell out there, and still meet Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson at Prive by 10:30. And that’s how good a time I had the night before—I was going back to the same club two nights in a row—unheard of in Sin City. Oh, and then I planned on going to Toa and Noir…I call this a Las Vegas Grand Slam…I know Alec Silverman is out there somewhere waiting to correct me factually given I’ve only named three places, but a Las Vegas Grand Slam has nothing to do with places, so not going to happen old sport.

What I hadn’t planned on was a sexual encounter with a zombie. See, I decided to take Roxy to Freemont Street and enjoy some fish tacos outside at Mickie Finnz…Out of the gutter boys I really wanted fish tacos. Anyway, it turns out unbeknownst to either Roxy or myself that there was a dance of the dead going on upstairs—and a good dance of the dead is always preceded by a march of the dead, in this particular instance down Freemont Street. So there I was in the bathroom minding my own business taking care of business…

“Excuse me this is the men’s bathroom,” I said to the extremely attractive, mutilated, Catholic schoolgirl. Continue reading

PRIVE – LAS VEGAS

Before there was Prive Las Vegas, there was lunch at Country Club at the Wynn. And this little event disserves some recollection—not easy since I got in at 7:00 this morning and I have to recollect something from 48 hours ago. First, given the thousand room nights I’ve logged at the Wynn / Wynn Tower Suites I don’t know how it escaped me that there was a country club there that overlooked an incredibly scenic golf course. I knew it existed, but I had just managed to not walk down the hallway fifty feet past the buffet. And no, I don’t eat at buffets.

Enter: Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson now known to all from my previous blog “Tao”…If you haven’t read the back story you’re not getting the full benefit of my debauchery—and I sacrifice for you / your reading pleasure.

“Let’s meet up at the Country Club at Wynn,” said Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson. “You’re going to like it, it has a great view…And I spend my whole life in hotels and clubs, so I can use a view of the outdoors.”

“I’m on my way. Oh, and I’d like to schedule some time with Roberto “Chef Dos Caminos” Hernandez to talk about Dos Caminos and his whole chef story.

“He’s sitting here with Roxy and Armando,” replied Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson, satisfied to have anticipated my desire to get to know the destined for greatness young chef. Discovering great things and great, talented people is my thing. It doesn’t pay cash, but it makes me a happy person.

The outside tables had all been taken, the weather in Vegas is gorgeous this time of year, and Jessie “James VIP Host” Gibson, his sidekick from LA whose name I can never remember but he knows a bunch of people or something, Roberto “Chef Dos Caminos” Hernandez, Roxy, and Fat Andy, who I brought along to keep me company, all sat in a large round table in the far corner. But of course there is no table far enough to keep a group like this from clearing the place.

I should mention here that Roxy is attractive, not textbook attractive like most of the girls I sleep with, but there is that something special about her. And she is way smarter than the average person. And her wit, though not quick as mine, but whose is, her wit is keen. And I like that. So when she said to Fat Andy, “I want to teach second grade, but I don’t think I want to have kids.” I said, “You’ll change your mind about that once you get to know me.” She retorted, “I’ve changed my mind already.” Jessie “James Super VIP Host” Gibson’s friend whose name I can never remember with a sweeping motion of his arm cleared the dishes to the floor. “Just go for it!” And for a moment I seriously contemplated having intercourse with Roxy on the table. But then it dawned on my that she was probably just kidding about having my children, which made for a good laugh for all…And some explaining about the dishes—the old allergic reaction excuse came quickly to my tongue. Continue reading

TAO – NIGHTCLUB

I think I mentioned last week that I had a great dinner at Tao. What I didn’t mention was that on this one night little Vegas excursion with James Westbrook, Hollywood deal maker extraordinaire, that good old (he’s not actually old) Jessie Gibson plopped down and joined us for some vittles. Jessie “James” VIP Host as I call him is actually just that. Much like my little brother (we’re not actually brothers) Carlos “Pure” Harper, Jessie is a guy that can get you settled and all comfy with a bottle of the good stuff at Tao and or Prive. And for those not so familiar, two of the better clubs in Vegas. And so it went that Jessie and I resolved to go out and do some merry making—thus I returned to Sin City and Tao, but not before a couple of stops.

“Let’s meet at Don Vicente’s and smoke some cigars,” said Dave The Jew.

“Good idea,” said I, as I plowed down the 15 toward Sahara—completely blowing off a very important meeting with Steve Wynn. Okay, the meeting with Steve Wynn is a complete falsehood, but you have to admit the pretext makes for a funny story.

Anyway, check out my blog about Don Vicente’s Cigars—in fact I’ll repost it on Monday when I will be way too tired from the weekend to write anything. So I sat and smoked cigars, really good cigars, with the boys—Dave The Jew, Fat Andy and others. Andy and I have been friends since second grade; just to throw in an extraneous fact meant to cause an endearing feeling about long lasting friendships. At some point Jessie stopped by. He’s not a big smoker, but I lighted him up anyway and Dave The Jew insisted that he drink some good whiskey…And I did too.

Six cigars and half a bottle later I met up with Jessie “James” VIP Host and a friend of his from LA whose name I can’t remember, but I’m sure he knows everyone. At Dos Caminos, which is located in Palazzo…And last week I gave Palazzo a pretty good review. Strange that I had noticed Dos Caminos, but didn’t mention it because I hadn’t eaten there. Anyway, at Dos Caminos we chilled with Executive Chef Roberto Hernandez and ate an incredible assortment of food. Roberto is all of 28 and he’s been cooking since he’s 4-years-old or something. I’m not going to get into a review here, but seriously my new best friend knows how to make some guacamole and chips. Funny, but just a touch of lime really makes a difference apparently. This restaurant is a sleeper—it could easily be way hot one day.

Tao—Jessie “James” VIP Host whisked us through the line. Continue reading

ROCK ‘N FISH – ROCKS

Torn between readers who want stories about national topics and those who want to know what’s going on in the very happening Downtown LA always presents a conundrum for this writer. Balance being the key to most things in life and the fact that I’ve been desirous of writing about Rock ‘N Fish LA Live for a long time now—this one is for my people in my hometown The City of Angels. And for those readers abroad, you’re going to come to Los Angeles one day, so make a note: eat at Rock ‘N Fish LA live, you’re going to like it.

For the ultra faithful it could tickle your AEG bone that I’m writing about a dining establishment in the heart of LA Live given our stormy relationship, but this place is too good to throw out with the bathwater. And given that I’ve taken to eating at Rock ‘N Fish several days a week I wouldn’t want a Stan sighting to send the observer of such into shock. I should mention here that while most of the restaurants at LA Live are big corporate owned entities, Rock ‘N Fish is one of a chain of two, the original being a beach legend down in the South Bay.

So of all the restaurants in all of the places that I travel…It all started months ago when I ran into Eric / manager of Rock ‘N Fish…I’m leaving out the part about the hot publicist, but the story really begins with me sitting on the very nice patio, one of the best in Downtown, listening to some great rock ‘n roll, thus the name Rock ‘N Fish, and eating almost everything on the menu—not one thing that I wouldn’t order again. But before talking about the food I have to digress for a moment and say that Rock ‘N Fish LA Live is about more than food, Rock ‘N Fish LA Live is about community. All of LA Live combined has not made an effort equal to that of Rock ‘N Fish to be part of what’s going on Downtown and downtownster is all about supporting those that support us.

The food: Rock ‘N Fish much like another favorite restaurant of mine, Continue reading

PALAZZO

Why in the middle of writing a script, “Downtown Oliver Brown”, I would hop into James’ Hummer and road trip to Vegas I don’t know. I miss the “Road To Nowhere”, gypsy, just irresponsible, need change of scenery, all of the above—whatever, I’m in Vegas.

So why not a travel blog? This qualifies as work. But what to blog about? I called the Wynn PR department, no spa reviews on such short notice, I was notified. Too bad because I could have used a day at the spa to go along with not writing. Of course I jest! Somewhere around Barstow, James decided we’d be staying at Palazzo. And I’ve never written about this still new hotel…UNTIL NOW!

Now my regular readers know that the style of my writing varies upon my mood, the full moon, cash or lack there of, and on and on….Admittedly, I’m in peculiar mood today, so let’s call this, yet another innovation to the craft of writing, my fast and loose style. Frankly, this could be dangerous to anyone or anything that falls or in this case, past tense, fell into my bull’s eye…So watch out Palazzo!

Actually, I’ve strolled through the Palazzo a few times since it first opened and to be fair, I held off writing about the new addition to The Venetian because it opened its retail in phases and in general I garnered that it opened a bit sooner than optimum—and in a terrible economy. But there’s been plenty of time to get it together so…

 Next Day—Tired In A Good Way From Vegas

I liked the Palazzo. Continue reading