Difficult to believe it's been three years since I had a story at Beat to a Pulp, but that's exactly the amount of time I've been in Real Writer Hell, aka, the mfa program at a university I despise so much I'm ashamed to put it on my resume and I sure as hell won't mention it here. But enough about that...
I'm back on the right track, writing stories I want to write, as opposed to lifeless shit the "literary" types deem appropriate. The story at BTAP is called No Hard Feelings. It takes place in the fictional town of Haggard, Indiana, a place I've written about several times and will write about a whole lot more. Please enjoy!
I’ve just learned that my friend Steve Parlavecchio died
yesterday. I don’t know the
circumstances. He was 43 years old. I tried to contact Steve a couple of weeks
ago on Facebook. He didn’t respond. I wish like hell that he had.
Steve starred in my first feature film, Mr. Id. The film is not very
good, but Steve’s performance is outstanding.
It’s the only reason to watch the damn movie. Before we shot the movie, I told Steve to
watch every Bogart movie he could find.
He did. And he channeled Bogart
like he was the man’s ghost. There’s a
particular scene where he’s confronting a woman who owes him money and refuses
to pay with cash. If you close your eyes
when you watch that scene, it’s hard to believe it’s not Bogey and Bacall going
at it. I guess Steve was a bit of a
method actor because he really took to the Bukowski lifestyle (the character he
played, Jack Maggot, was based on Bukowski) during the shoot—drinking a lot and
trying to score with every woman on the set.
He didn’t act quite so wild in his normal life (though there were nights
in Los Angeles I had to wrestle his car keys from him and insist on driving,
something he absolutely hated).
I walked off the set of Mr.
Id halfway through the shoot. It was
the nastiest crew ever assembled for a movie and the producer made it clear
that I didn’t have his support. Steve
was the only person who tried to keep me from leaving. He said I’d regret it and, ultimately, he was
right. My “career” as a movie director
never quite recovered.
For reasons Steve would never make clear, his career never
went to the places it should have either.
He starred in Amongst Friends,
an independent film about Jewish kids getting into crime, directed by Rob
Weiss, who was one of the creators of Entourage. For a few moments in 1993, it looked like
Steve would become a big name in Hollywood—this was the final, glorious year of
Sundance, when independent films actually were independent—but something
happened. Steve refused to star in big
budget movies, and I think that hurt him.
His only other major film was Bandwagon,
which a lot of people like. He made
other movies (including Mr. Id), but
he never achieved the success I think his talent deserved.
When I lived in L.A., things were often difficult and I had
few places to go where I could commiserate with other people who were
struggling to pay their bills and find a way into the movie business. Steve was the only reliable friend I had
there. He was a typical actor with
typical actor foibles, but I could see that, underneath the shields he put up
to maintain the attitude required to survive in Hollywood, he was a very good
person. It’s very sad to know his
kindness is no longer a part of this world.
Just discovered The Fall Creek Review, an eclectic site that seems to have a little of everything. Today it's got a poem by Keith Rawson that most of the folks I grew up with can probably relate to. Check it out.