Archives for category: Malibu

Malibu California

Prologue.

Should I dedicate this blog to affluent, gay, white male: ‘The King‘ Chris Cortazzo?

Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker’s top-selling Malibu realtor.  Remember?  He accused me of extortion when I threatened to blog about him?  Chris and his legal team predicted a felony in my future… an automatic deportation.

Chris wanted to fine me, humiliate me, take away my home and most importantly he wanted to silence me… yet, after months of bargaining with expensive help from his Super Lawyer Bryan Freedman… Chris Cortazzo accomplished no fines, no deportation, no felony.

When all was said and done Chris achieved a wobbly misdemeanor and a recently expired, three-year gag order… as part of a convoluted plea deal.  The ubiquitous plea deal routinely offered to people like me in the USA who couldn’t afford a fair trial.

No.  Chris Cortazzo is undeserving of any dedication.  He is a very, very bad gay.

Instead, I dedicate this blog to every man woman and child presently held illegally in jails and prisons all over ‘the land of the free’.  There are presently 2,500,000 people in US jails.

Two and a half million people.

Private and public US jails and prisons are crammed with brown men, women and children who could not afford a fair trial and under hopeless duress accepted a plea deal.  Worse, there are corroborated stories of pre trial detainees tortured into signing false confessions or incriminated by the police and corrupt, racist prosecutors.

Thanks to organizations like the Innocence Project hundreds of men and women have had their convictions overturned and on occasions released from decades of solitary confinement for crimes they did not commit.

Cowed by PTSD many will not survive their freedom.  Suicide and terminal illness rates are high.  It is hard for them to live normal lives.  They return to unrecognisable neighbourhoods, children estranged, families and friends scattered. In some states they are barred from voting.  For the decades of torture they endured many sue and win handsome payouts but after huge ‘civil rights’ attorneys bills, taxes and years waiting for payment they receive only a little remuneration.

Fearful, white tax payers unquestioningly pay whatever it costs for more prisons, death row, jails, the police and the military.  They believe mass incarceration makes them safer.  They rarely enquire: Who profits from mass incarceration?  They are unaware that the same people profiting from corrupt and illegal wars in Iraq and Libya also own the jails and the prisons ignoring the untold suffering within.

Whilst the 1% get richer on the backs of the poor, hiding their ill-gotten gains elsewhere, avoiding taxation… disenfranchised people of color are radicalized by brutal treatment whilst incarcerated.  The poor know they are easy prey.  Inside the big house they are gouged further by deputies who own and operate vending machines.  A 50 cent pack of noodles sold to those who can least afford it… for $3.  Loved ones forced to pay 1000 times more than you and I to receive phone calls from the incarcerated.

In America… if you are poor, vulnerable or sick… expect to be enslaved by the state.

Black communities are bullied by a police force trained to raise revenue by issuing hundreds of bogus tickets.  In Ferguson MO 80% of the residents had been ticketed for minor infractions, raising millions of dollars for a failing local government.  Private prisons are kept profitably full by agreement between local politicians and prison owners.  Remember Judge Ciavarella, jailed for receiving payment from a prison owner for imprisoning innocent children?   Some of those innocent kids killed themselves.

Two million children are arrested every year in the US, 95% for non-violent crimes.  66% of children incarcerated never return to school.  The US incarcerates nearly 5 times more children than any other nation in the world.

Ferguson and Mark Ciaverella are just the tip of the iceberg.  As in any tin pot dictatorship, powerful Americans use jail to silence whistleblowers and truth tellers.

This is my story: the story of rich, entitled white folk taking down and silencing enemies using the public court system as their personal weapon.

The blog referred to during this post is the blog I allegedly ‘threatened’ to publish if Chris Cortazzo didn’t right his wrongs.  The original blog exists publicly in its entirety as court records, evidence submitted by the prosecution during my pre-trial.

Why now?  Why write this 4 years after the event?  I might have left my story in the past but this story became unexpectedly relevant.  I was recently contacted by lawyers who revealed I wasn’t the only Malibu property owner who had fallen foul of realtor Christopher Cortazzo.

1.

Powerful friends, they say, make powerful enemies.  Chris and his friends proved they could do anything they wanted to me and others. There were times when I suspected my very own lawyer had been bought by the other side.

This is a Hollywood story.   As with any epic Hollywood story it requires a suspension of disbelief.  This narrative snakes in and out of reality tv, multi-million dollar homes, secretive Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and into the many canyons of Malibu, Bel Air and Beverly Hills.  It stars ‘A’ listed talent and their representatives, a cast of corrupt policemen, prosecutors and the judiciary.  It is the story of shameful… affluent, white gay men and their friends.

It is fortune lost and found.

2.

Dear Chris,

Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further.  I don’t want anything from you. Nothing.  I don’t want your money, I don’t want your time, I don’t want your body.  I want nothing from you… never… ever.

This is the blog you didn’t want me to write, the blog you spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to kill.  This is the blog I sat in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail contemplating.  This is it.  This is the blog you wanted me to regret.

Chris.  Are you ready?

Before I start,  I have two words to say to you:  Hiroshi Horiike.



Hiroshi Horiike on the steps of his Malibu Mansion.

This name probably means nothing to your starry friends and clients, your 1% billionaire neighbours or the older Malibu home owners you nurture until they are ready to sell their ocean side properties.  The celebrities with whom you carouse all over the world may not be aware of Hiroshi Horiike.  I doubt if you make mention of his name in the many mansions, yachts and fast cars you inhabit.

Let me educate my readers.

Millionaire Hiroshi Horiike spent two years searching California for a dream home, one grander than any he could find in his native China.

After visiting more than 80 properties in the Los Angeles area with an agent from Coldwell Banker, Horiike paid $12.25 million in cash for a four-bedroom, six-bath Tuscan-style mansion with a swimming pool, spa and guest house on 5.1 acres (2.1 hectares) overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

There was just one catch. After settling in, Horiike found the Malibu home had less living space than he’d been told — a third less. It had 9,434 square feet (876 square meters) instead of the 15,000 square feet shown in marketing brochures from the seller’s agent, who also worked with Coldwell Banker.

You were the realtor repping both Hiroshi and the seller.  You were the realtor.   Chris, you were the realtor referred to in this quote and subsequent court documents.  Sounds dodgy doesn’t it?  No wonder you wanted to shut my big mouth.

Horiike, who also goes by his native Chinese name Peng Hong Ling after adopting a Japanese name as an adult, claimed he was cheated and sued the agent and the brokerage. He won a state appeals court ruling that sellers’ agents have a fiduciary duty to protect buyers’ interests, not just those of their clients, when there’s only one brokerage involved in a deal.

Of course you and Coldwell Banker have been defending yourselves vigorously in the courts… there’s a great deal at stake for Californian real estate agents.

If left standing, the decision could compel disclosure of confidential client information or force brokerages to drop out of transactions where they represent both buyers and sellers, threatening commissions on tens of thousands of deals.

Have you fucked it up for your Californian realtor colleagues?  Have you derailed their gravy train?

Horiike and I have a great deal in common when it comes to you, Chris.

Horiike and I were both US property virgins. We foolishly thought we could trust our realtors. We were naive, we were excited, we were unaware… in the unlikely event we were duped by unscrupulous realtors when we purchased our homes… we only had two years for discrepancies to reveal themselves before a remarkably short statute of limitation kicks in.  I discovered my geological discrepancy after two years… some people must have rubbed their hands in glee.

Hiroshi, he’s the Mensch!  Hiroshi is the man who won’t let go of the bone, Chris.  And you… you are Horiiki’s bone.  He’s taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court because, like me, he had his dream shattered by realtors.

But let’s concentrate on us for a moment Chris.  Just us.  Before this blew up you already had a very low opinion of me.  An opinion you share with many white, affluent, gay men. Chris you described me, after our couple of dates, in court documents as ‘dark and creepy’.

Let’s cast our minds back to happier times.  Chris, let’s remember when I arrived with society photographer Todd Eborle at the annual Barry Diller pre-Oscar garden party a few years back (I sat between you and Helen Mirren) we had a nice enough time.  We ate from the buffet.  We marveled at Rupert Murdoch and David Geffen chatting animatedly at the edge of the garden.

As I mentioned earlier, we’d had a date or two in West Hollywood but it didn’t work out. You claim we didn’t have oral sex.  If you can’t remember sucking my cock, I’m perfectly happy to forget it too.  The next time I saw you?  At the house on Hume Road, Malibu. I loved that house like Horiiki loved his, and a little like Horiiki I’d seen a ton of houses before I found my dream house on Hume Road.

Corey Nelson my dumb, good-looking realtor was sick of showing me property. He had shown me hundreds of homes.  Sometimes… I wouldn’t go inside.   Rude!

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Corey Nelson

The purchase of Hume Road happened before the crash when realtors didn’t have to work very hard to sell a house.  We had given up looking.  Corey Nelson and I hadn’t spoken for months.  So, when I found my little slice of paradise I called Corey because I knew he would appreciate making a sale.  I could have called anyone but I felt loyal to Corey.  I had no clue his inexperience and ambition would severely compromise me.

I was renting an apartment in Hollywood that had once belonged to Joni Mitchell.   Every day I would drive from El Cerritos Place to the Malibu property and sit in the garden, sit on the terrace and gaze at the view.  I was desperate to buy the house on Hume Road.  Indeed, my enthusiasm predicated just how much of a liberty you two groovy hucksters might take with me.

I met the owner of the Hume Road House, Kelly Mormon.  He asked if I wanted to move in before I bought the house.  I moved in.  I explored the neighborhood.  I saw a family of bob cats and eagles wheeling through the canyon.  Humming birds fed from the passion fruit flowers that grew on my terrace.  Walking Las Flores Canyon one warm evening I met a grumpy man from Cal Trans who told me buying a house on Hume Road was a really bad idea. He told me the city should buy the houses in the canyon and demolish them.  I’d heard rumors the land was unstable.  The neighbours denied it of course.  They assured me everything was just fine.

I wrote to Corey explaining my fears. When we subpoenaed his emails it was revealed soon after I wrote that email… Corey Nelson wrote you Chris asking what he should do about my cold feet. Your reply was chilling. “Call me,” you said.  I can’t imagine the plan you hatched during the call.

Corey abandoned his fiduciary duty when he made that call to you, Chris.

PRE-HISTORY

Let’s talk?  You and me?  Can I confide in you?

Do you remember the film?  I’d made a film people loved and I’d been nominated for a British Academy Award.  They warn the foolhardy: never move to LA unless invited.  Industry people (my agent and manager) told me my interests would be best served if I moved to Hollywood.  In 2007, after 35 years, I sold my beautiful sea-side house in Whitstable Kent.  I started house hunting in Los Angeles.

I met Corey Nelson from Sotheby’s a well-known realty company.  He was one of those cute ex Bruce Weber models who would do almost anything to make a sale.  I met him with an older gay realtor who claimed he was fucking him.  We met at Joan’s on Third in West Hollywood.  I love Joan.  She’s a romantic!  Have you heard her story?

Corey and I spent a long time house hunting.  I looked at hundreds of houses, none I liked. Corey was cute and fun.  We spent time together socially, we climbed Runyon Canyon.  I trusted him.  I believed realtors in the USA behaved like estate agents in the UK: with honesty and accountability.

Months into our search I had still not found a house.

3.

My recently deceased friend Jean Perramon lived in The Santa Monica Mountains.  His house had views stretching from Santa Monica to Point Dume.   Walking his neighborhood one evening I peeked past a large For Sale sign through the gates of an abandoned estate. To Jean’s consternation I opened the gates and wandered down the steep drive into two acres of lush, semi tropical gardens.  Huge cactus trees, ancient palms.  Bananas, citrus, plums.  Stone paths weaving through the landscape.  At the end of the path an empty, unlocked 1970’s post and beam family home divided into two apartments.

I told Corey about the house and he introduced me to Chris Cortazzo, Kelly’s agent.

Well, we scarcely needed introducing.

Listen, let’s face it…Chris has done very well for himself.  He comes from a humble Malibu family, his mother is often seen eating lunch in the garden at Cross Creek.  His fireman father is dead.  He sells more real estate than any other broker in the USA.  For a man who is scarcely literate… he has done very well for himself.   Perhaps it is gay mythology but your story includes a romantic liaison with billionaire Barry Diller who, it is alleged, set you up as a realtor and let you sell his property.  Is that true?

He writes this about himself on his own website:

Yes, Chris Cortazzo’s name is everywhere in Malibu, because that’s what happens when you’re “The King.”  It was actually the Bravo TV program Million Dollar Listing, in which CC was profiled among several other L.A.-area top-producing agents, that coined the term “The King of Malibu”. Perhaps it was his incredible production that earned him the title. Perhaps it owes to the type of clientele he often serves, namely some of the biggest names in entertainment and business.

After renting the Malibu house on Hume Road for a couple of weeks I asked Corey to write an offer.  The house had been on the market for a year or more hand had a price reduction. I live in a country where houses languish on the market for years, it did not occur to me that if a house had been on the market for a few months it may be problematic.  Nor did it occur to me that I may be working with a couple of realtors who were determined, at any cost, to sell me a doozy.

My soppy, inexperienced realtor wanted his commission and was sick of showing me endless properties.  We had written offers before but they had not been accepted.  I had never ordered an inspection.

The problem with the beautiful house?  During the past ten years there had been landslides on either side of the property.  There was illegal construction in the garden including un-permitted retaining walls and water tanks degrading the land, making it more liable to slide.

They knew if I had this critical information I would not buy the house and more importantly… it would be worth far less than the 1.4 million dollars I paid for it.

Neither the seller nor Chris disclosed this information.  Information, by law, they were required to reveal.  Corey told me a thorough geological report would cost me $10,000.  So, using the excuse I would save money I needn’t spend, they presented me with an expensive and thorough looking geological report conducted in 2004.   Corey persuaded me this report was adequate for my purposes, advising me I should have a verbal report from another geologist to confirm nothing seismic had happened after the 2004 report.

The difference between 2004 and the year I bought the house?  The house no longer sat on an HISTORIC slide as the report stated.  A historic slide means that during the past decade no noticeable seismic activity had taken place within a thousand feet of the property and the land was stable.   In 2004 the house sat comfortably on the ridge line,  foundations built on bedrock.

However, shortly after that 2004 report was written large parts of Las Flores Canyon including Hume Road began sliding into the sea.  My house now sat on an ACTIVE slide.  This important information was deliberately kept from me.  Moreover, Corey told me that he could not find a local geologist who would come to the house so we hired a geologist recommended by… Chris Cortazzo.  I was assured by Corey that the ‘verbal’ geological report from a geologist was perfectly normal.  Again, abandoning his fiduciary duties.

The young, good-looking geologist sat uncomfortably with us in the garden, Corey at his side.  He held the 2004 geological report.  I asked if there was anything I needed to know that may influence my purchase of the property.  I asked many, many questions.  I needed to know everything before I invested my hard-earned $1, 500,000.  Without looking into my eyes the ‘geologist’ told me the house had a “reasonable half an inch of ‘creep'”  but failed to mention either of the recent slides or the illegality of the un-permitted terracing.

I bought the house.  After we signed contracts at the close of escrow, Chris shook my hand and said, with half a grin, “You’re going to own that house for a very long time.”

Only when I tried selling the house… did I learn what he meant.

The next time I saw Chris Cortazzo he was sitting in a sex addict meeting where he claims he was ‘helping a friend’.  After seeing him at the meeting I wrote a sweet email welcoming him to SAA.  It’s hard to admit a problem like sex addiction.  I wanted him to feel safe when he returned.  That’s what we are taught to do in AA SAA etc… we look out for each other.  We reach out.  Almost immediately the troubled transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane who lead the meeting told me not to contact Chris again… under any circumstances.

Why?

Sean McFarlane chaired the Brentwood Sex Addict meeting (ironically held in a middle school until the school realized a famous pedophile attended the meeting) for over a decade, a serious break from the 12 traditions and frowned upon within the Anonymous community.  McFarlane didn’t seem to care much for the AA rules unless others broke them.  His personal recovery, doubted by many, seemed ‘unsponsored’.  He tells a melodramatic, highly questionable personal story and is well-known (to those within the addict community) to prey upon vulnerable celebrities eager to keep their failing marriages.

Consequently, he has a gang of loyal Hollywood/sports celebrities with whom he consorts in and out of therapy.  He would boast how he taught Mike Tyson’s daughter to swim.  The daughter who tragically… drowned.  Our ‘trusted servant’ McFarlane rarely accounted for the huge 7th Tradition purse he collected every week and handed over to his ‘treasurer’, John Artz.

It is rumored Sean McFarlane would take sex addicts through the 12 Steps… if they paid him.  Again, discouraged within the anonymous cult who pride themselves on sharing their sobriety with newcomers… for ‘fun and for free’.

Sean ‘no shame in my game’ McFarlane is a transphobe.  I never once heard anyone in that Sex Addict meeting challenge his transphobia.  He considered all trans people ‘evil’.  Whenever he had the opportunity he told graphic tales of his own heroism in the face of evil transsexuals.  How he saved one or other of his many trans chaser clients from the grips of an evil ‘tranny hooker’.

The group would cheer Sean’s transphobia.  Lawyers, agents, actors… casting directors.    Collectively witch hunting the trans people Sean considered evil.  Lately, as the Hollywood conversation turns toward inclusivity, color blind casting, gender neutrality… one wonders how Sean and his creepy white guy transphobic friends in the entertainment industry will survive?

THE REVEAL

The last time I heard from the ‘geologist’, he had turned to Jesus.  I was in my bed… at home in Malibu.  It was dark.  He called from a blocked phone.  He was distressed.  He apologized for calling late at night.  He stumbled over his words.  He told me Corey instructed him not to mention anything that would influence me away from buying the house.  The ‘geologist’ felt guilty.  He omitted to tell me the status of the slide had changed from historic.. to active.

He told me the lie plagued his conscience.

People ask: What did you do when he told you?  What could I do?  I tell them. “I listened.”

When we subpoenaed the geologist during my pre-trial… a completely different man (50 years old and morbidly obese) arrived at the court-house.  He didn’t want to be there, he was sweating bullets.  It was all the proof I needed but the pre-trial judge refused to listen to our evidence.  It was one of your triumphs, Chris.  The truth couldn’t help us.  The statute of limitations had long run out.

When I spoke to Corey he said,  “I knew this would come back to haunt me.”  You’re right Corey, if you have any conscience, it’s going to haunt you… the rest of your life.

After the geologist’s late night call I emailed Chris letting him know I’d give him time to ‘do the right thing’ and find a solution including a ‘fair and equitable’ settlement… or I would start a campaign against him… including paid advertisements in local newspapers, national news articles and a revelatory blog.

Soon after writing this email I was arrested and held without recourse to bail in LA Men’s County Jail.

2.

TP… the bug-eyed, ex head of a major film studio and his son were Malibu neighbours and regular faces at my sex addict meeting in Brentwood.  TP’s son described sex therapist Sean McFarlane’s reaction when he heard I’d been arrested,

“Sean leapt out of his seat and punched the air screaming… ‘he’s going down’.”

Bryan Freedman, John Adler (my SAA sponsor), TP and others smiled broadly at the news.  The men in that sex addict meeting coalesced around you Chris, you became one of their walking wounded.

Bryan Freedman, another self identified sex addict/alcoholic I  saw almost every morning at either the 7am Palisades AA stag meeting or the Sex Addict meeting in Brentwood.

Chris, how did you meet Bryan Freedman?  Did you meet him at the sex addict meeting?  Did transphobic sex therapist Sean MacFarlane introduce you?  Bryan is a great fan of transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane.

Bryan Freedman’s firm Freedman + Taitelman would represent your interests against me.

Bryan J. Freedman was selected as one of the most influential entertainment litigators in the country by The Hollywood Reporter in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and in all eight years has been named in the Top 100 Power Lawyers list. Additionally, Bryan was recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, a peer-based award reserved only for the top 5% of all lawyers in Southern California. Also, Bryan has the unique distinction of being 1 of only 22 selected Honorees to Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report.

I know a very different Bryan Freedman.  This is the man who wept in AA meetings because he couldn’t bully his son into being the first jewish NBA basket ball player.  This is the married man who confided in a public SAA meeting he couldn’t stop intriguing with women… looking at small ads whilst his wife slept beside him.  This is the man who would high-five the equally despicable UTA Talent Agency boss Jeremy Zimmer at the AA meeting ‘above the bank’ in the Palisades where we sat together for more than a decade.

How involved was Bryan Freedman?  How much money did you pay him to have me vanish into the jail system?  I’m guessing he was involved with the plan?  He’s a Super Lawyer. His plan might include a cast of corruptible characters.  How much did they have to do with my illegal incarceration in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail?

You and your advisors believed I might bend to your will if you held me in jail long enough.

Remember, we have to suspend our disbelief:

Just about every branch of Ferguson government (police, municipal court, city hall) participated in “unlawful” targeting of African-American residents for tickets and fines, the Justice Department concluded this week.

At first, the plan unfolded splendidly!  We understand  how utterly corrupt American prosecutors are.  Existing in a semi secretive world of grand juries and trumped-up charges designed to protect the rights of the 1%.  County prosecutor Anne-Marie Wise is no different, she played out your rich boy charade very admirably.  Anne-Marie, persuaded there was a case to answer by your impressive lawyer, sent her ZZ Top cops to arrest me.  They kept their cop badges under their waist length beards.

I agreed to meet Chris on the Pacific Coast Highway outside the Country Kitchen in Malibu (opposite the home of Tom Pollock) where he had offered to make his amends for ripping me off.  Instead, as I ate my breakfast burritos the cops arrived.  As I sat handcuffed in the blazing sun a black Rolls Royce with blackened windows cruised past,  it lingered.  Was that you Chris?  I knew the Rolls had something to do with you, Chris… so did the cops.

Did you enjoy watching me handcuffed Chris?  Did you take photographs on your cell phone?

ZZ Top and I headed up Las Flores Canyon to Hume Road.  The crazy bearded cops ran around my property with guns.  Why?  Because this is the melodrama of over paid, over weight, underutilized… LA cops.  Once in the house they meaninglessly tossed furniture and emptied my draws.  They seized my lap top and took me to the Calabasas police station where they interviewed and charged me with a felony extortion.  Extortion (for those who remain confused) is either threatening to reveal a secret or a crime unless money is paid.  It usually accompanies threats of violence.

Even though I had a valid US visa I was informed I could not post bail because of an Immigration Hold.  If an alien in the USA is charged with a felony they can be held for up to 48 hours by ICE to determine if they are a threat to the nation.

Your plan was working.

A day later I was taken to The LA Men’s County Jail.  Processed.  Screamed at.  They gave me a chest X-ray.  They fed me a baloney sandwich.  They asked if I was either suicidal or gay.  I told them I’m gay because I’d heard from Robert Downey Jr this was the only way to survive the jail and anyway I’d been out of the closet for a long time and I wasn’t about to crawl back in.  Not on your account Chris Cortazzo.

48 hours passed.  I was not released.

Whoever flicked the switch… whoever threw away the key did so at this moment.

To achieve this plan they needed a dependable federal government insider: someone prepared to override ICE protocol and keep me detained for longer than the mandatory 48 hour Immigration Hold.  This part of the plan required someone important in Federal Government to break the rules.  At the final reckoning I was held longer in Men’s County Jail on an ICE hold than any other pre trial detainee… ever.

Keeping a pre-trial detainee in jail until they bend to the will of the prosecutor is a common ploy.   It happens all over the USA.  It is happening right now as you are reading this blog.  People agree to anything to get out of jail and they assumed I’d plead guilty to felony EXTORTION and an automatic deportation.

As you can imagine, the jail is a dangerous place.  I had to get a grip.  Surprisingly I was very well equipped to deal with the jail.  AA/SAA had taught me a few simple tricks:

1.  Wherever I am… I am in the right place.

2.  It’s all part of God’s plan.

3.  Acceptance.  Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.

So many of the lessons I learned sitting with Sean MacFarlane, Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman and you Chris in the rooms of SAA and AA… listening to the 12 Steps kicked in and saved my ass.

And so… I sat in the jail.  For 86 days I sat in the jail.  I’ve already written about that, Chris.  I’m sure you’ve read it.

Almost immediately, the plan began to gently fray.  The first part of the plan depended on my finding the situation in jail… terrifying and intolerable.

You thought I was like you and Bryan and Jeremy and so many entitled, affluent white dudes?  You were certain I’d agree to anything to get out… including your terms. You thought I’d crumble.  You thought I’d lay down and die.  But the only thing crumbling… was your plan.

Chris, as you subsequently learned, I’m a stubborn son of a bitch and I wasn’t agreeing to anything.  So, for a few weeks I went back and forth to court.  The first two judges were ghastly and totally on your side.  They refused to listen to evidence, they were rude and surly to my attorney.

Do you remember?  I sat in front of you at the pre-trial.  I was shackled.  You sneered at me Chris.  This is where I learned how much you hated me after our date.  This is where it became apparent to me the rich can do anything they want in an American court.  They can buy the court just like they buy everything else.  Protected by your tame prosecutor, Chris… you looked so very smug.

After keeping me illegally in the jail for 86 days without a whiff of surrender, without capitulating, without giving an inch…. the ACLU started sniffing around my case and someone got scared.  Someone was likely going to be held responsible if something happened to me.  If I died in the jail of cancer… or a gall stone blockage… or fell victim to the violent deputy culture in the jail, which might very well have happened.

I realized two months into my incarceration:  Wow, this situation is illegal and someone… someone is going to have to pay for this!   I’m going to get paid for this.  I relaxed, thinking to myself:  another tough day at the office.   I played cards, I ate pork rinds, I had visitors, I kept myself out of trouble and I waited.

I told my friends on the phone I suspected my incarceration was illegal… knowing I was being listened to.   Then, one evening with a little warning from the Mexican nuns working in the jail for the Esperanza Project, I was called from my dorm, sat in a holding cell for a few hours, handed my clothes and ushered out of a small, unassuming door at the back of the jail.

The puckered asshole of the jail. Shat out onto the balmy LA streets.

At the final reckoning I was paid for every day I was illegally held as a pre-trial detainee without recourse to bail.

Fuck Chris, the day they released me from the jail you were on the phone for hours to your lawyers and the prosecutor and the prosecutor to your lawyers.  My release terrified you and a simple order of protection wouldn’t mollify you.  As I was getting out of the jail and headed home to Malibu and my dog… you were hiring 24 hour body guards.  You were frightened I would come after you.  And why wouldn’t you be scared?  After all, you and your friends had kept me locked up illegally for three months.

I must admit, when I first read this flurry of activity in your restitution claim (you expected me to pay your lawyers fees) and the hiring of body guards as documented in your restitution claim I laughed out loud.  I have no other weapon than this blog. The only weapon I have is so American:  freedom of speech.

Once out of the jail my lawyers and I relaxed into a long wait for you and your lawyers to alter your expectations.  You hadn’t really worked out what would happen if I didn’t capitulate.  You hadn’t worked on finding a corrupt trial judge.  You thought I’d be long gone.

Brian_Turnauer-Profile_Headshot-post_by-Rodezno_Studios-web

BRIAN TURNAUER

Were you assured by ‘Super Attorney’ Bryan Freedman and his unfortunately large featured lackey Brian Turnauer they would find you a sympathetic trial judge?

The catastrophic and totally unexpected final blow to your plan came soon after my release: Ms Wise seemed poleaxed by the judge assigned to our case: enter the unassailable Judge Jessic.  The Judge who couldn’t be bought.  The judge most likely to have integrity.  You should have seen Anne-Marie’s face Chris,  when she realized our Judge wasn’t going to play the game.  My favorite line of Judge Jessic’s to Ms Wise?

“I must admit I’m finding it difficult wrapping my head around this charge.  What’s the difference between threatening to blog and threatening to write a Yelp review?”

The prosecutor hung her head and said quietly… ‘nothing’.  You should have been there Chris is was GREAT.  Just like the time… and I’m repeating myself but it’s worth repeating… when Judge Jessic wondered out loud why I was sitting in the dock and not you.   We all know the reason for that Chris?   Because justice in the USA is reserved for the few who can afford it.

How quickly a felony dissolves into a convoluted misdemeanor when you can’t buy the judge.  At the suggestion of the ACLU I refused to plead guilty to anything and opted for the Californian ‘No Contest’ plea.  The huge restitution claim was whittled to almost nothing.  No fines or costs to pay.  All you were likely to get out of your ‘plan’ was a gag order.  A three-year gag order.

I had to sit quietly on probation for 18 months.  A grimy realtor from AA, the appalling self-promoting/self-obsessed/self-publishing Robert Radcliffe (Sotheby’s Palisades), called the police and told them I had been rude about you Chris Cortazzo.  I read the police interview, Rob.  The lies you told!  The police jumped all over the claim spending hours of their time filing reports.  Jessic threw it out.  He knew what was happening.

Tell me Chris, even though it’s election year and this may be dangerous conjecture.. I’m guessing Hillary Clinton did your federal bidding… just a guess?  To hold me indefinitely in jail… breaking the rules.  Did your billionaire mentor Barry Diller do the leg work?  Did Barry call the Mayor or the state department?   I can’t imagine Hillary would take your call, Chris.

I returned to the Palisades AA stag meeting.  The discomfort on the faces of Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman, John Artz (Malibu based DUI attorney with plenty personal experience of DUI) and the Dutch creep who burglarized my house whilst I was in jail.  I wasn’t disappointed.  They were outraged!  Jeremy complained bitterly I had broken AA laws by blogging about him.  Fuck you Jeremy Zimmer.  Fuck you.  There are no AA laws. There are no leaders.

Chris, this is the blog I must have written a thousand times since I left the jail, I wrote it… then deleted it.  I wrote it… then deleted it.  I must have torn up a million words.  Sometimes, I would frame the blog as an apology, sometimes a roiling river of resentment.   I had months to write it, months to rewrite it.  Waiting for the gag to be removed.

And now?  How did you affect the rest of my life?  As I outlined in my damages claim, I have PTSD.  I deal with it.  The experience inspired a general disgust for affluent, white gay men and specifically a loathing for realtors, lawyers and Hollywood agents.

The extortion law was originally written to protect people who had committed crimes or had secrets from being violently blackmailed.  Of course it’s hard luck when, in life, one gets fucked over.  In America the potential for being fucked over is a daily hazard, most often than not those who manage to successfully do the fucking over are hailed as the winners.  Just look at the Wall Street ‘winners’ rewarded for fucking over the entire nation.

Unlike most people who get fucked over, who cannot fight back…I have this modest blog.  It has proved to be one of the most effective fog horns in the world.

EPILOGUE 

Try as he might, Chris Cortazzo couldn’t keep out of trouble.  Chris faces more legal challenges.  As well as the lawsuit with Hiroki the Chinese Billionaire another grubby lawsuit has emerged… from a desperate Persian family whose property Cortazzo represented.  They are claiming Chris cruelly ripped them off.  The truths Chris feared most have revealed themselves.  A theme emerges: those of us who have publicly aired our grievances with Chris Cortazzo share a common bond.  We are all foreigners in the USA.

As for the legion of Million Dollar Listing fans who couldn’t believe Chris was anything other than a saint?  I ignored the lies written about me all over the internet; I don’t have to prove myself to anyone.  There’s no shame in my game.  With the help of the ACLU I sued LA County and a substantial financial settlement arrived from the City of Los Angeles a year later.  I sold my beautiful Malibu house.  I moved to New York and set about reinventing my life.

Bryan Freedman.  (I’m slowly shaking my head.)  There was a time I held you in such high regard I asked you to become my AA sponsor   It’s hard to forgive you Bryan.  You, Sean MacFarlane, John Artz and Jeremy Zimmer are the worst kind of ‘sober’ people.   Daily celebrating the AA message of humility, espousing the 12 Steps, quoting The Big Book… declaring forgiveness and ownership of ones defects of character.   Your ‘sobriety’ is a sham.  You may as well be drinking/drugging /cheating on your wives.  You remain the same Trump like arrogant hypocrites, behaving contrary to the AA message, as you always were.  The very same men who arrived in our rooms broken and defeated (I remember your stories)  begging for help with their alcoholism and sex addiction.  You have learned nothing… whilst affording me the greatest gift: LA County Jail.

The Brentwood celebrity Sex Addict meeting moved locations.  An undercover journalist sat amongst the sex addict group from a sleazy British newspaper.  He called me, wanted me to help him out.  The SAA attendees scattered. Members of the meeting asked why there was little financial accounting within the group.  Every week the 100 or so the very rich men in that school room would drop five or ten dollars in the ‘7th Tradition’ basket.  No one could account for it.  Where had the money gone?  Sean was removed by democratic vote as the group leader.  His wife left him.  The meeting disintegrated.

The cult of snake oil salesman Sean MacFarlane is not new to the anonymous programs.  AA/NA is particularly prone to charismatic leaders guiding the incomprehensibly demoralized addict and alcoholic out of the shadows and into the light.  Rehabs, sober living accommodation, half way houses and addiction counsellors… facilities mostly run by addicts and alcoholics, the lunatics are indeed running the asylum.  No doubt there will be many other Sean MacFarlanes ‘helping’ other desperate addicts achieve sobriety… of course,  for huge sums of money and little consequence.

1.

While few of us would think to ridicule Jews for still harboring less than warm feelings for Germans some 70 years after the liberation of the concentration camps—we would understand the lack of trust, the wariness, even the anger—we apparently find it hard to understand the same historically embedded logic of black trepidation and contempt for law enforcement in the USA.

Revealed, these past weeks, for the world to see: America’s racist underbelly.  News stories narrated by dumb white folk, binging unashamedly on their justified racism.  The condescending white news anchor asks a black man to explain his fear of the police… then scoffs at his reply.  Others crudely condemn the dead black men “He was no angel.”  “His parents were known to the police.”  “He was resisting arrest.”  The same ‘news’ shows use the millions of crowd sourced dollars raised for the white murderer as proof, as if any were needed, that Darren Wilson and men like him are: “Innocent until proven guilty.” “The grand jury proved there was no case to answer.” “Let him get on with his life.”

The KKK leave cruel and hateful messages wherever they can all over social media, proudly letting the world know: ‘a good nigger is a dead nigger’.  Black men doubly assassinated, in life and death… white supremacists proudly spew vitriol over the bodies of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner.

They demand, “This isn’t about race.”  “Why do you bring race into this?”

White folk have no incentive to let go of their white power, their white privilege, their sense of superiority… their entitlement.  White people remind you with their slippery smiles that slavery was abolished in 1865.  “It’s up to the blacks to help themselves.”  “If we weren’t killing them, they’d be killing each other.”  “They have the same opportunities as everyone else.”

2.

Every Mexican, working illegally in California, is a slave.  White people loathe manual labor.  White people love slaves.  Everybody needs a slave in SoCal.  The fruit growers would have nobody to harvest fruit without Mexican slaves.  Slaves stand outside Home Depot offering themselves for hard labor.   Mexican slaves mow my lawn, scrub my hot tub.  Slaves clear brush in the Santa Monica Mountains under the midday sun.

Serried ranks of plump Mexican women smelling of disinfectant and carbolic soap clean house, serve slim, white wives their afternoon mint tea.  There are thousands of them!  Thousands of enslaved, undocumented maids.

Have you ever seen a white person use a mop, hand wash dishes or polish a crystal glass?  Have you ever watched a white person try removing a stain from a carpet?  Have you noticed how inept white people are?  They don’t know how to look after their own stuff.

“Do you know how to remove a stain from a carpet?  When your dog pees on your rug?”

He shrugs, “Mexican people know how to do that.  I don’t need to know.”

Those Mexican slave women used to be black slave women.

Last week President Obama liberated 5 million slaves by giving them the opportunity to ‘come out of the shadows’.  Watch the white elected officials in Congress and the Senate balk.  Their fat, pink cheeks huffing and puffing indignantly at the partial liberation of more slaves.

Without slaves the USA ceases to function.  The USA is addicted to slavery.  The USA was built on hard work… the hard work of unpaid black slaves.  Conveniently written out of white history.  California’s false economy is carried on the backs of Mexican slaves.

When the black slaves were freed the white folk wanted them to go back to Africa.  “The slaves are free… free to go home.”

Those black folk who thought they were equal to white folk were outlawed, harassed.  If they had entrepreneurial ambitions they were made to think again.  When they opened stores on main street, their stores were looted by white folk whilst the police watched… and did nothing.

There was no opportunity given to black people which could not be taken away.

3.

A black face reminds America’s of its not so distant violent racist past (black neighborhoods were being bombed and burned in Boston and Chicago by white police as recently as 1970).   To liberal white people a black face remains a shameful embarrassment: liberals never did enough for black people.  Liberals turned from the thorny problem of race to an easy fix: marriage equality.

White people who claim to hate racism are privately racist.  Amy Pascal and Scott Rudin at Sony Pictures are revealed to be private racists… when this is discovered from hacked emails they call Jesses Jackson so assuage their guilt.  They publicly call prominent black people to apologize for being private racists… but they merely confirm what we already know: white liberals say one thing then do another when they think they can’t be seen or heard.

For the dogged racists a black face reminds them of an unfinished problem… a problem they tackle every 18 hours when another black man is murdered by the police.  Shortly after the shots are fired, the body transported to the morgue… the excuses begin, the character of the dead black man maligned, the Grand Jury is called and the murder justified… forgotten.

Did it seem this time… after Eric Garner’s Grand Jury refused to indict… fewer people agreed with the decision… or made excuses for the police?  Was it my imagination that after the whole world watched the video of Eric Garner’s murder a million times on TV and the internet that people who might have before… did not want to forget.  In fact they cared a great deal for murdered Eric, his dignified widow and their forgiving daughters.

When the people watch the unnecessary take down and murder of Eric Garner for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on the streets on New York they are forced to acknowledge 350 years of racism:  state sanctioned torture, murder, rape, abuse, theft…

The people (all ethnicities) began to drag themselves out of apathy and onto the same streets.  The people saw a black man bullied to death and none of the usual excuses from the police or the mayor or the kkk were very convincing.  The people saw Eric Garner bullied and murdered by the police in a country where the police are meant to protect the people from bullies and murderers!

Fear underpins the systematic oppression of America’s black minority.

4.

This week people understood that the criminal justice system isn’t broken,  that police brutality, secret and corrupt grand juries, the deliberate disenfranchising of black men and the unreported/undocumented incidence of murder by police force… is not evidence of a broken system but the system functioning exactly the way it was designed.

Did you know that once convicted, in many states (11 southern states) a felon is never allowed to vote again… ever.  Why don’t you know that?  Most people don’t.  When a black man is convicted of a felony in 11 southern states he is never allowed to vote again.  He is excluded from the democratic process.  How many black felons did you tell me presently reside in jail and prison?  How many of them are working for free (cotton picking, uniform stitching) in American jails and prisons?

America’s untreated racist wound stinks like Michael Brown’s uncovered, bloated corpse on a humid Ferguson street… and no amount of Fox News deodorant will take away the stench.

Did you know, that until modest changes were made to the selection process, people of color were excluded from the Grand Jury?  Those modest and unenforceable protocol changes were made within the last few years.

They say, the secretive Grand Jury was originally conceived to weed out malicious prosecutions.  That’s just a big fat lie.  The Grand Jury is now as it always was… a secret court used by the police and police friendly prosecutors to help crooked cops out of difficult situations so they can continue waging war against the black minority.

The cop’s unwritten law of the street:  all black faces are fair game.

The Grand Jury is unknown anywhere else in the world. It works so effectively because there’s no one in the room defending the victim. In the case of Darren Wilson he was presented as the victim by the prosecutor rather than Michael Brown and this wholly spurious narrative persists.

5.

Criticize racists and the police at your peril.

The police say they have been ‘thrown under a bus’ by Bill de Blasio, Mayor of NYC because Mayor de Blasio told the world he advised his black son Dante: should he ever have occasion to be stopped by the police, Dante should be very polite, not reach for his cell phone or make any other sudden movement.  Dante should assume, like all black young men stopped by the police, that at any moment the police may kill him.

The following day white, bull necked cops feign indignation.  They know they’ve been rumbled, their credibility smashed to pieces.  They’ll have to do what bullies hate having to do: next time they’ll have to think twice.

Bill de Blasio has been warned by the police union not to attend Police funerals killed in the line of duty.   The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association posted a link on its website telling members not to let de Blasio and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito “insult their sacrifice” should they be killed. The union posted a “Don’t Insult My Sacrifice” waiver officers can sign requesting the two politicians not attend their funerals due to their “consistent refusal to show police officers the support and respect they deserve.”

Good cop?  Bad cop?

Are there any good cops?  There’s no incentive to be a good cop.  The good guys are weeded out.  It’s a tough time to be a good cop.  Crime figures diminishing, the police have to justify their huge organization, their overtime.  They say policing is a dangerous job.  How dangerous?  Policemen are not all killed by criminals,  30% are killed in road traffic accidents… the police are too arrogant to wear seat belts.

Whilst men like Eric are being harassed and murdered on the streets of New York for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes by police thugs, a couple of miles away in another part of the same city the most audacious crimes this century go unpunished.  Wall Street steals a world of wealth and gets away with it.  They say white-collar crime is too sophisticated for most regular cops to grasp.

The cops protect the rich, protect the 1%… as it turns out they’re protecting them from us…  from you and me.

Cops are used to raise revenue for local government, make politically motivated arrests, used by the rich to silence and poleax their enemies.  Cops illegally hold undocumented workers without opportunity to post bail then deport them after lengthy stays in private jails.  I’ve met undocumented workers who were introduced to their mule (a mule illegally smuggles an undocumented worker back into the USA) by the same border patrol guy who originally arrested and deported them.

The cops take their cut, trafficking slaves.

6.

The conspiracy theorists I scoffed at 10 years ago… well, they got it right.

The jails are kept artificially full to justify more cops.  The artificial wars on drugs and terror are in fact… a war on us.

There is a profound connection between criminality abroad and criminality at home. The so-called “war on terror” and military aggression abroad are linked to repression within the United States.  The drive by the American ruling class to build up the infrastructure of a police state is in preparation for the inevitable confrontation with the working class. This is what lies behind the unprecedented levels of domestic spying, the assault on basic democratic rights, the CIA’s trampling on legality and the Constitution, the militarization of law enforcement and the ongoing police rampage against working class youth.

The Hollywood street performer shot in the head by the police, the Down’s syndrome kid choked to death by the police, the homeless woman repeatedly punched in the head by the police, the deaf guy trying to sign tasered by the police, the countless murders committed by the police remain uncounted.

A pattern emerges, you better be a healthy, able-bodied white male to survive the streets of now USA. You better not be black or disabled or deaf or performing or homeless. You better blend in, become invisible, forget any aspirations you might have to be extraordinary.

White Americans may protest that our racial problems are not like South Africa’s. No, but the United States incarcerated a higher proportion of blacks than apartheid South Africa did. In America, the black-white wealth gap today is greater than it was in South Africa in 1970 at the peak of apartheid.

America: it is still a nation of slaves and slave owners. The system that perpetuates this must be deconstructed and if you are white that deconstruction starts with you… asking yourself this question: am I willing to give up my slaves? My white power? My white privilege? My unfair advantages? Am I willing to acknowledge that implicitly and explicitly I colluded with the historical suppression, bullying, false imprisonment and murder of a minority?

My gay friends believe that winning human rights for black people will be as polite as winning human rights for gay people. They think it’s THE SAME.

There must have been a moment in 1945 after the American’s liberated the concentration camps, when the German people were forced by the allied forces to watch news reels of what was found there… there must have been a moment when the German people collectively owned up.   A moment when they realized what they had done. I’m waiting for white people in the USA to own their part, their collusion with a system that murders, brutalized and demeans a minority… then blames them when they complain.

It never really occurred to me until yesterday that the mass murder and incarceration of black men in the USA is deliberate, systemic, entrenched and unlikely to change until white men learn to share their power.

7.

I bought my first house when I was 20 years old. Remember that cottage? 13 Island Wall, Whitstable. 15 years later I sold it and bought Peter Cushing’s house and the house beside it. 2 and 3 Seaway Cottages, Wavecrest. That was a pretty address. I sold them both and moved to California. 2828 Hume Road, Malibu. Now, it’s time to head east. It’s Time.

I sold my house. Goodbye Malibu. I hope the new owners are happy here. It has been quite a ride up (and down) this mountain… literally and figuratively. This is where I buried my dog and this is where I will leave her. This is where the twins lived, this is the location of many spectacular parties, lovers and probably the worst decision I made in my life… to reply to Jake.   But there you go, it’s sold now. The furniture has been packed, the art wrapped and stowed in boxes. I am relieved.

I am only a few months away from having the gagging order lifted so I get to tell my side of the story… how another rich man used the police and the prosecutor to hide the truth.

Callicoon NY

I’ve been fretting.  Fretting about Gaza, Israel, Ferguson, bad white cops, arming black people, traveling, Alcoholics Anonymous.  I’ve been fretting about one beautiful man.

The Alcoholics Anonymous shit is the usual shit.  The same characters, the same stories, the same mental illness.   I sit in those rooms wondering why I’m there, if I belong to a cult?  Yet,  I never think about drinking.  I mean, I’m not looking for an excuse to drink.   That’s the very last thing I want to do.

Palm Trees Los Angeles

You see, it was one of those weeks when I heard that someone in AA killed themselves.  Someone I heard speak, someone I had spoken to.  Someone I had lunch with, someone I had hope for.  Then he blew his brains out.  No obituary, no news report.  Just another recovering alcoholic who couldn’t take it any more.  I thought about how we collectively accept the plaudits for keeping each other sober yet when a man kills himself it was his problem.  His solution.  Never our responsibility.   He had a six-year-old son.  He dressed very well.  Now he’s dead.

Since getting sober 18 years ago I have known many, many men and not so many women to kill themselves in the rooms of AA/NA.   It is never easy.   Yet, I have become desensitized from these terrible deaths and I hate myself for it.  I’m sorry.  I really am.

This week, I ate a great deal at Gjelina in Venice and these men graciously served me.

Benoit being Read to by Armistead Maupin

Last week I drove to San Francisco to see my friend Benoit Denizet Lewis read excerpts from his book Travels With Casey. After the reading we had dinner with Armistead Maupin and his charming boyfriend.  I told Armistead that I hadn’t read his famous book Tales of the City until I got to The Men’s County Jail.  I found a dog eared copy there. It was a first edition.

That night we stayed in an odd 50’s hotel/ex-motel off of trendy Chestnut Street.  The following day we drove to Napa and had lunch with Gene.  After lunch we wandered the giant redwoods in Muir Woods.  On the way back to San Francisco we watched people flying kites on Stinson Beach.

On my way home to Los Angeles I met up with my Whitstable friend Ben Clayton in Berkeley, we ate brunch then  sauntered all over the UC Berkeley campus.  We talked a great deal about home.  We talked about our mothers.

 

Back in Malibu I picked a huge bunch of bananas from the banana trees at the end of the garden, I harvested (and continue to) an abundance of figs and lemons.   I sold the bananas to my friend Nicolle the pie lady at Gjelina who bruleed them.

 

Yesterday, I went to the Norco Rodeo with Stuart Sandford.  Norco is an hour from Los Angeles.  It was the whitest event I have ever been to.  White people everywhere eating nachos and swilling beer.   The men wore cowboy hats.  The women screamed when the obedient bulls tossed their riders into the sand.

 

We wondered if there were other gays there.  The nearest gay on-line was 3 miles away.  I took pictures of cowboys.  I ate tri-tip sandwiches.  I was looking for bucking bronco Cody Gaines who I met the day before on Malibu beach.   Cody lives in Texas.  Cody loves Jesus.

Cody Gaines

Mostly I have been amusing myself in the garden.  I have been sweeping paths and mending lights and restoring order.  The dogs have been lazing all over the house during the day, finding patches of sunlight to flop into.  At night they spend too much time protecting me from deer and raccoons.  Go to sleep!

 

Michael came to visit from NYC.  He was sweet and charming.  I met the guy with a beard… and here’s a better picture of Stuart.  Stuart Sandford is a very fine artist.  He lives and works at the Tom of Finland House in Echo Park.  My friend Martin arrived from Provincetown.  He’s staying for a few days.

 

All in all it hasn’t been a bad month.  It’s just these past few hours.  I needed to sit down and write a gratitude list… and this is it.  You see, I woke up today and I’m not a hounded black teen on the streets of any city USA.  I’m not a hounded Palestinian in the ever shrinking patch of land they call home.  I’m not a fatherless 6 year old… and lastly, I didn’t blow my brains out this week because I couldn’t take it any more… and for that I must be grateful.

Latex Bondage Wear waiting to be washed at The Tom of Finland House

Latex bondage wear ready to be washed from the dungeon at The Tom of Finland House, Echo Park.

Peter

Happy Sunday

 

Wendell Castle

Lady Rizo

Marc Jacobs Hat

I bought a huge green fur hat from Marc Jacobs.  It’s very warm, very green and attracts many, many comments.

The people who comment fall into three distinct groups.

1.  The people who comment most are African-American men and women who approach me with huge smiles and open hearts and say wonderful things about the hat.

They tell me how happy it makes them.  They ask where they could get one.  They love the color. They hold me at the checkout at Trader Joe’s and ask if they can touch it.  Black school kids holler across the street.

2.  White woman tentatively tell me how much they like it, how warm they imagine it is.  They rarely look me in the eye and their diminished confidence allows them only the slightest… but genuine opinion.

3.  Gay men.  I sighed writing that.  Gay men.  I sighed again.

When gay white men (strangers) talk to me about my hat it is always with sneering disregard.   They go out of their way to say something catty and unpleasant.   They look at me witheringly, their comments infused with: who do you think you are wearing that absurd hat?   They dress compliments up in such a way that confuses the listener.

If the African-Americans who complement my hat had not done so I would have nothing to compare the responses of the gays.  I might think I was going crazy.  But I’m not.

We all know what a heartfelt compliment sounds like and the gays seem incapable of giving one… unless (of course) they want to get laid.

Here are more pictures of our brief stay in Malibu and our trip home.

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Kay Saatchi and Tim Willis

If a woman, an individual woman multiplied by billions, does not believe in her own discrete existence and therefore cannot credit the authenticity of her own suffering, she is erased, canceled out, and the meaning of her life, whatever it is, whatever it might have been, is lost. This loss cannot be calculated or comprehended.  It is vast and awful, and nothing will ever make up for it.

― Andrea DworkinRight Wing Women

I never met Nigella Lawson, not yet.

She is still relevant.  She is the battered wife.  The super woman who drowned her sorrows in cocaine as her former husband lay dying of cancer and her ex husband allegedly emotionally brutalized her.

I only meet women like Nigella when they become irrelevant.

In my distant social orbit, light years from the warming sun of acceptability, circle the flotsam and jetsam of international society.  Isolated by ignominy, the ex wives of current politicians, media titans and corporate mega moguls float in and out of the rooms of AA, expensive treatment centers in the Arizona desert, The San Fernando Valley and Malibu.

Aping the lives they once had with limitless funds, they buy a few stems of bruised tuba rose* from the same florist who once filled their many mansions with exotic blooms.  Sumptuous bouquets placed on valuable escritoire, on silvered night stands, on grand dining tables.

As she leaves, she stands briefly on the threshold, looking down at her guilty feet and apologizes for the frugal fist of sweet smelling blooms.  The florist looks on piteously knowing that her younger, more glamorous successor can spend whatever she pleases.

The lonely ex-wife arranges a slim vase in her well-appointed but humble apartment in Pimlico moments from where she and her spouse once lived on Eaton Square.

These cast off ex-wives, these frosty women, their faces wet with angry tears, looking to half-baked sober life coaches in first-rate treatment centers to recalibrate their lives. Drinking away their sorrows, dumped by men whose power they loved and whose money they spent.    Yoga, sobriety, macrobiotics, spending, using, crying… nothing seems to work because all these women want is the sweet taste of revenge.

This week, one very lucky ex-wife gets her dues. She waited patiently on the sidelines of her ex-husband’s life to witness the crushing downfall of her Nemesis.  Today, American born, Kay Saatchi is not only back in Charles’s life but has had the delicious pleasure of helping dispense the woman who caused Kay pain beyond description: Nigella Lawson.

Kay is delightful.  I’ve met her on numerous occasions in Los Angeles.  Of course she’s delightful!   A man like Charles Saatchi wouldn’t marry an idiot.  Kay is everything a powerful man would want, she is elegant, super smart, she has exquisite taste.  Kay, nowadays, is sober.  Yet, when Kay was drinking, she had an unpleasant habit of blacking out and talking gibberish about Charles.  She couldn’t and wouldn’t stop.  Even her best friend wouldn’t know how to stem the tirade.  Her life, it seemed, could only be nothing… without Charles.

She would disintegrate into a seething mess of Charles Saatchi resentment.

The only hook Kay had in her ex as she watched in increasing horror as Nigella used Charles as a spring-board into her own rock solid career as international domestic goddess… was her/their daughter Phoebe who Kay moaned constantly was ignored by her father.  When I asked Phoebe if her father ignored her over Christmas dinner a few years ago… she denied it, looked sadly at her drunk mother and told me that the only problem parent… was Kay.

Now, things are different.  Kay is sober (unlike Nigella) and Kay’s undying love and loyalty for her ex husband has been rewarded by his begging Kay to help oust Nigella.  Kay will never be Mrs Charles Saatchi ever again but she has made herself indispensable to him during his time of need, once again firmly cementing herself back into his life.

Kay Saatchi

It is hard to explain to ordinary people the intoxicating effect of unlimited cash, how women like Kay and Nigella and now Trinny Woodall would willingly get involved with brooding Charles Saatchi. A man who throttled his ex wife in public.  A man so ruthless he recruits his vulnerable ex-wife to destroy his current wife.

Do yourself a favor and read Andrea Dworkin’s Right Wing Women: the politics of domesticated females.  Money and power are everything to some women.  It defies logic and rationale. The patriarch, the provider, the batterer… do what ever you will to me and for me… I am yours forever.

The harsh glare of media scrutiny is lighting up every dark corner of Charles Saatchi’s famously private life during the trial of his former employees, The Grillo Sisters.  It must be a painful time for secretive Charles.  During the trial there was constant mention of the grown women (who were no more that indentured servants) as ‘family’ yet, as Deborah Orr points out in the only pro Grillo piece on offer this week…

“You cannot insist that someone is in your family, then cry fraud when they behave as if they are.”

The rich are different.  They like to live beyond scrutiny, they operate without care for consequence.  Partially, this week, on a micro and macro level justice was done.  For servants like the Grillo sisters and for ex wives who crave revenge… like Kay Saatchi.

* Princess Diana‘s favorite flower.

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18 Year Old Des Moines Hairdresser

 

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Mountain

Chris

Stormy Malibu

1.

It started with a short message and ended up with a whole bunch of choices I never expected.

Not in my wildest dreams.

I’ve read what you had to say. Now it’s my turn.

Stepping away from the mess. It’s not so messy. It seems like it was planned.

This pantomime. Look at the cast of unusual, freakish characters. Look at them.

Boys and men, trans and women.

Young girls. Yes. They are here too.

So you wrote me a poem. No title… of course.

2.

We were connected .

When it expires we are expired.

The order? It was a good idea. It was a great way to formalize the end of our association. I can only imagine that you feel much the same way I do.

I wish we had never met.

Don’t you shudder whenever you think about it?

I understand why you needed to rewrite the narrative.

I took advantage of you?

You had far more to lose by telling the truth.

When assigning blame, I take full responsibility. I should have walked away.

Everyone I trusted advised me to do so. Everyone I trusted.

I didn’t.

Instead, I pinned my hopes on you. I found your interest in me all at once baffling and inspiring.

A romantic relationship was impossible.

Because I am a broken, sick man. Incapable of intimacy.

You sold me:

A big fat lie.

Yet, we never talked about my lies. Yes, I lied to you about almost everything.

Lies I had held onto for a very long time.

This man is a liar. Just like me. Did you ever think that?

So.

The last time I checked, and that was some time ago, you seemed very happy wearing your new clothes, your relationship, your job and your family.

I am delighted. You will make a much better job of being a gay than I ever could.

It seems to be an exciting time for a young gay man in the USA. Equality on the horizon, no AIDS.

Your ability to form and maintain relationships will mean that you’ll have everything you always wanted. Everything you ever dreamed.

The questions I wanted to ask… I have no reason to ask.

The truth set you free and I am very proud of you… even though I have no desire to set eyes upon you ever again.

May 6th 2013

3.

When did you have time to write that? Was it really meant for me?

Did you wonder if I should reply? Did you think I could?

There are no words left.

4.

It’s 3am.

The storm rattles the house, thunders down the drain pipes. Torrents of rain over the mountain. Hammering down onto the wide, new leaves.

Wide awake.

Make some toast and lime marmalade. Boil some eggs. Stand naked in the warm rain.

Curious

Dark Blue

Stephen N

Stephen N

Lizard

Wedding Dress

Sup. I bought my wedding dress.  Am I wearing it properly?

I am back in Afghanistan next week.

I may take it with me.  Masc and Chill.

I’m going to lip sync ‘Call Me Maybe’ with my Marine Corp bros/buds.

Denver Boy

Brian

Brett Wyman