Tag Archives: Hollywood

Arsenal

arsenal

If you are looking for a formulatic action thriller, then Arsenal is not it. The new film directed by Steven C. Miller feels more like an indie experiment. And that’s just fine. Shot in just thirteen days, Arsenal is a fast moving, blood soaked thrill ride that asks “How far would you go to save your brother?”

Adrian Grenier and Johnathon Schaech play brothers bound by the childhood discovery of their uncle who commits suicide by shotgun. Mikey (Schaech) protects JT (Grenier) from the gruesome mess by sending him to the arcade.

Later, I’m not sure why or how,  but Mikey stumbles into gangster Eddie King’s (Nicolas Cage)  plastic draped hide out and witnesses  another instance of brutality. One is left to assume this event ties Mikey to Eddie King as an adult. Some details may have been lost, as I viewed the film at a screening held at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 in Beverly Hills with Schaech and Grenier in attendance.  I was too  busy watching them watch themselves.

As an adult Mikey is no angel. He drinks, has a violent temper and can’t seem to get this life together. JT on the other hand, is a mildly successful business owner who enjoys family backyard barbecues. JT loves and defends his brother despite Mikey’s outburst and shortcomings.

Mikey, in need of cash,  borrows 10K from JT and buys cocaine in hopes of flipping it. This is when the shit hits the fan. The coke is stolen and Mikey is knee deep. Eddie King has his dirty hands in this and kidnaps Mikey in order to extort more money out of JT.

Nicolas Cage, who dons a crazy wig and nose is over the top as Eddie King. The prosthetic nose is kind of distracting, but I told myself it’s because he did so much blow over the years.

It is now JT’s turn to protect and rescue his brother. Adrian Grenier plays the part with conviction. A fine versatile actor who I’d love to see more of. He appears as darling off screen.

Johnathon Schaech is the stand out. He sets the screen on fire – his presence is strong and powerful.  Blood, sweat and muscle, Schaech breathes life into Mikey with a punch. This is not a man you want to get into an argument with. I could not help but envision Schaech starring in a Die Hard-esque reboot.

Schaech has enjoyed a substantial film and television career. But keep a close eye on him – I predict much more success ahead.

Arsenal is in theaters and on demand now. Check it out! http://lionsgatepremiere.com/arsenalmovie

15844138_10154518856414580_7462767225658359319_o

Selfie time with Johnathon. 

15875123_10154518845214580_9054998145020982269_o

Candid shot of Adrian Grenier pictutred with friend outside the theater. 

The Evolution of Jeff Beacher

20160831_jsquared_jeffbeacher_0063f

AFTER LOSING OVER 200 POUNDS, COMEDIAN JEFF BEACHER LAUNCHES THE NEXT VERSION OF HIS INFAMOUS MADHOUSE

Over the years, Beacher’s Madhouse evolved from a comedy show to a vaudeville revue to the wildest party in Los Angeles, frequented by the likes of Mick Jagger and other celebrities. The remodeled Beacher’s Madhouse at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel reopened in September. Drinks poured by dwarfs, anything- goes performances, audience interaction, goats, and monkeys are the norm. Beacher describes the Madhouse as a party for the people, made by the people. “It’s a haven for self-expression,” says Beacher. His motto? “As long as no one gets hurt, nothing is off limits.” Acts like Tiny Kiss, a three “little person” Kiss cover band backed by a 300-pound female lead singer resulted in the show’s popularity.

20160831_jsquared_jeffbeacher_0114f

To maintain a more balanced lifestyle, Jeff has stepped down as president of Beacher’s Madhouse—turning over the day-to-day operations to Head Little Person Donny Davis. Still, Beacher remains heavily involved, serving as chairman with his main priority focusing inward.

The self-described “reformed douchebag,” Jeff made an
enormous spiritual and physical transformation. Today, he reflects on his journey with a sense of calm and clarity. Growing up on Long Island, Jeff was popular, but, being adopted left him with feelings of abandonment. “It’s something most people don’t understand,” he said. Most of his life he was insecure and, in many ways, his insecurities are what drove his success. The “serial entrepreneur” ran several businesses before diving into the world of comedy and performance art. By the age of 17, he sold t-shirts in high school, worked as a nightclub and concert promoter and ran a lucrative flower company. Now, he is CEO of Beacher Media Group, which focuses on consulting and entertainment relations.

That was enough for Jeff, but not for his mom. She had a different vision. While sick with cancer she asked, “When am I going to see you on TV?” The following week Jeff started to do stand-up comedy. He soon began producing and hosting nightly comedy shows. By summer of 2002, he was selling out shows at Madison Square Garden’s Paramount Theater and the Supper Club on Broadway.

When Jeff’s mom passed, he continued to press on with comedy in LA, and with the encouragement of his friend Jeff Pollack (co-creator, writer, and producer of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air), he took his show to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas for five successful years. And in 2010, he signed a five-year, $25 million deal to open Beacher’s Madhouse at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Although Jeff was enjoying tremendous success, he wasn’t taking care of himself and was severely unhappy. He tried to make himself feel better by overeating, binge drinking and gambling. In Oct. 2014, weighing 400 pounds, Jeff was at an all-time low. “Looking over the balcony and wanting to jump,” he remembers. “I was at critical mass, I wanted to kill myself. Thank God I didn’t.” Luckily, Jeff’s friends staged a “fat intervention.” Jeff credits Britney Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph and Larry’s Fiance and Xcycle CEO Jen Barnett as his biggest influencers during this difficult time. “I needed to make a change or I’d be dead,” he said.

He went to a “vegan camp” and began a journey of getting mentally and spiritually healthy. Beacher lost a remarkable 225 pounds, and later opted for gastric sleeve surgery, which decreased the size of his stomach. As he began to feel more secure in himself, the weight continued to come off. He works every day at self improvement and he suggests that anyone suffering addiction ask for the help they need. “You have to ask for help,” Beacher says. “You cannot do it yourself.” Jeff is grateful for his friends and steady support system. He wouldn’t trade them for any of the material objects he is fortunate enough to enjoy.

20160831_jsquared_jeffbeacher_0212f-750x400

Sitting poolside at his estate in Beverly Hills down the block from his idol and buddy Brett Ratner’s and next door to Jay Leno, Jeff appears to be living his best life. Of all the cities he has visited over the course of his career, he says, “There’s nowhere [that] compares to Los Angeles.” From riding with the top down in one of his classic convertibles to riding his bike and running on UCLA’s track to dining at LA’s tastiest restaurants, he loves this city and all it has to offer. Although Jeff is eating much healthier, he can still enjoy a good meal. You can find him dining at Craig’s at least five nights a week, he says.

Through the outrageous shenanigans at the Madhouse and now through speaking openly about his personal triumphs, Jeff continues his work of uplifting and inspiring others. His goal: “I just want to make people happy and healthy.”

 

KEYS TO IMPROVEMENT:

Jeff says everyone can work to improve their health and lifestyle: “Focus on [the] mind, body and soul, meditation, yoga. You need to be in right mind set.”

STAR STRUCK:

“Thousands of celebrities have passed through
the doors. Every one of them is memorable…in a good way. I never had to throw anyone out for bad behavior (laughs). It’s about having the fun. I want my guests to leave feeling like they had the best night ever.”

WRITTEN BY: DAMON GONZALEZ PHOTOGRAPHED BY: JOE MAGNANI & JARED SCHLACHET

*Article originally featured in the November 2016 Issue of LOCALE Magazine.  http://localemagazine.com/meet-jeff-beacher-the-man-behind-the-madness/

www.beachermadhouse.com                                                                 @jeffbeacher

BTS of TNT’s Murder In The First

n-b-0xkrAs an actor, getting steady work for a few days is a blessing in this business. That said, I was ecstatic to get cast as a court reporter for five days on the TNT hit drama Murder In The First. 

When I arrived on set, I was placed directly behind the defendant which meant plenty of camera time. I was given direction to take notes and listen carefully to the testimony.  Not a big deal, right? I’ve served on jury duty a couple of  times and seen enough of courtroom scenes to figure it out.

I spotted a guy who looked familiar but I could not place him. When I  heard him speak, I was able to figure out who it was.  Mark-Paul Gosselaar was standing before my eyes!  I grew up watching Mark-Paul play Zack Morris on the Saturday morning comedy Saved By The Bell. This was beyond surreal. I felt as if I stepped into a time machine or that I was stuck in a parallel television universe where Zack Morris grows up and becomes a big time Hollywood director. Pinch me.

p183938_b_v8_aa

I watched Mark-Paul closely as he gave the principals notes and directed with expertise. A director who is also an actor seems to have a better understanding of the process. Mark-Paul was friendly and funny – a pure delight. I even overheard him sharing stories about his four children keeping him up at night with the cast.

I couldn’t believe where I was – far away from my home in Brooklyn where I dreamed of moments like this. With hard work and determination anything is possible.

The fictional trial ended with a jaw dropping surprise ending! Be sure to pay extra special attention to episode seven. You can’t miss me! I give major face. 🙂

Murder In The First airs Sundays at 10/9c only on TNT.

In other Mark-Paul news….he makes his debut as  Mike Lawson, a confident catcher on the Fox series Pitch – a drama about the first woman in Major League Baseball. The premiere episode airs tonight 9/8c.

rs_600x600-160808125837-600-ptich-cm-8816

Exclusive: Richard Simmons Is Fine!

Richard+Simmons+Richard+Simmons+Poses+Pictures+IhP6NMh1xSpl

Richard Simmons wants you to know he is just “fine!” For 40yrs, the flamboyant ball of energy has motivated thousands of people around the world to lose weight and live their best lives possible.  At 67yrs old,  Richard is taking a much needed break from the public eye. When you give so much of yourself sometimes you need to slow your roll to honor yourself and your body.  As a public servant and advocate for healthy living, Richard is doing just that.

Rumors have surfaced Richard is being held against his will by staff members at his Hollywood Hills mansion. Friends have expressed deep concern since Richard has seemingly cut off those closest and has not been seen at a public event since 2013. TMZ reported police were even sent to his estate but found nothing out of the ordinary.  http://www.tmz.com/2015/12/17/richard-simmons-disappeared/

simmons_gatePhoto: Andy Martino

I too have been concerned. I don’t know Richard personally but I’ve been a fan for years. I can still remember dancing to my parents Sweatin’ To The Oldies VHS tape in our living room. And let’s not forget those Deal A Meal commercials. 🙂

Before celebrities were outed for being gay by bloggers like Perez Hilton, Richard was the biggest cheerleader for being your true self without having to identify who you sleep with. He was and continues to be an inspiration to me.  I was beyond ecstatic when Richard and I became friends on Twitter also around 2013.  He would often send me words of encouragement. Those would also come to a stop, raising my suspicions that something was wrong.

image2

image3

image4

 

I reached out to Richard’s publicist Tom Estey and he assured me, “Richard is fine and enjoying his time away from the public eye while still tending to his flock on a daily basis. His desire to live a more private life for a while in no way will affect his desire and need to help others.”

That is great news – sometimes what we perceive as “wrong” is the right thing for others. It is important to respect peoples’ privacy. Richard’s businesses are doing well, and if he wants to run the show from behind the scenes that is his prerogative! If he has a change of heart, we will be here to embrace him with open arms.

 

Brittany Murphy: Six Years Later

1384874614000-AP-Obit-Brittany-Murphy

Today marks the sixth anniversary of Brittany Murphy’s tragic passing. A Hollywood mystery that has left family members and fans wondering what really happened to Brittany and husband Simon Monjack, who died of the same mysterious circumstances just five months later.

t1larg

Murphy’s elderly father Angelo Bertolotti, has since provided evidence (through independent testing) of unusually high levels of toxic metals found in Brittany’s system. Famed pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, has gone on record agreeing that the circumstances surrounding her death are far from normal.  Bertolotti believes Brittany was poisoned and has accused Brittany’s mom Sharon Murphy of foul play.  Sharon was present at both times of death – allegedly hastily seeking medical attention for her ailing daughter.  The LA Coroner’s office has ignored the claims refusing to re-open the case.

Kevin Mazur (C)2006
Photo: Kevin Mazur (C)2006B

Bertolotti recently tweeted, “been working for months with the Reelz Channel on a documentary.”  Hopefully, the documentary will shed light on Brittany’s case and do a better job of celebrating Brittany’s legacy than last year’s disastorous Lifetime film “The Brittany Murphy Story.”

Here’s a look at Brittany’s “Hits Not To Be Missed” as told by The Hollywood Reporter.  RIP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equality In Hollywood. Just Kidding.

empirePhoto: Fox (Empire). Openly gay actor Jussie Smollett as Jamal Lyon (left). 

For decades, Hollywood has unequally represented the LGBT community. Today even with prominent LGBT characters popping up this season on Fox’s Empire and Scream Queens there is a lack of LGBT characters being represented on television. According to GLAAD’s annual Where We Are On TV report, “there are only 35 LGBT characters being represented, compared to 881 Straight characters.”

As a new gay actor in Hollywood, I’ve discovered not only is there an imbalance of LGBT vs. straight roles, it can be totally confusing figuring out which roles to go for. For example, while combing through countless casting notices that read “30-40yr old males to play role of dad.”  I ask myself, “would I be believable as a heterosexual dad?” I usually breeze over these notices, I automatically think, the “dad” is straight. But in reality, he could be gay too OR be equally played by a gay man!

Although the numbers are stacked against me,  I booked several jobs working as an background actor. For one job, the Casting Director  asked “if I was comfortable” playing gay. I chuckled and  thought to myself “I have no issue with being type cast.” In fact, I welcomed it.

We ended up shooting an additional scene that day and to my surprise, I was paired with a female to portray a heterosexual couple on a date. For some reason, it gave me an odd sense of feeling validated — to think the Assistant Director saw me as straight. Yes, I have the ability to transform, this is acting. However, I questioned why I felt surprised by being cast in the role. I often wonder if straight actors playing in gay roles ask themselves similar questions?

Nick Jonas who played two gay characters on TV this year, recently told USA Today that he doesn’t consider “whether the character is gay or straight, but about what the story is and what the audience is going to get out of it.”

Nick-Jonas-Careful-What-You-Wish-For-capaPhoto: Fox (Scream Queens), Nick Jonas. 

Well said, but there seems to be a double standard.  If a heterosexual actor portrays an LGBT character they are referred to as “courageous.” On the flip side, if a gay actor plays straight they are rarely referred to as “brave.”

Actor Milo Ventimiglia (who took his first LGBT role at age 18), has spoken on the topic. While disucussing his gay following and playing LGBT roles, Milo once told The Advocate a producer said, “It’s very brave of you to consider something like this.” Ventimiglia challenged this notion and replied, “Why? It’s a great role.” “I tend to lean toward a good role despite any stigma that’s possibly attached to it.  The fact that people are still worried about stuff like that just baffles me.”  Milo is right, it is baffling!

Milo-VentimigliaPhoto: Fox (Gotham), Milo Ventimiglia. 

Although there is an imbalance in roles and stereotypes to combat, I’m learning to remain open and not to let anyone’s perceptions (including my own) stand in the way of pursing my dreams. Hopefully, we will continue see our lives equally reflected in the future.

GLAAD’s CEO & President, Sarah Kate Ellis notes, “We’ve witnessed tremendous progress in television since GLAAD began tracking the presence of LGBT characters 20 years ago, but there is still a great deal of work to be done and many new and exciting stories to be told. We will continue to applaud networks and streaming services telling these stories – and hold their feet to the fire when they don’t.”

GLAAD’s full 2015-2016 Where We Are On TV report: http://www.glaad.org/whereweareontv15

From Brooklyn to Hollywood

12029726_10153407516354580_4343731764637427290_o

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind. I never had any doubts about moving to Hollywood. I used to draw pictures of the mountains and palm trees when I was a child. Now, I have that view from my terrace. I’ve settled in nicely and almost done furnishing my new apartment.

12139937_10153409031329580_7907780111522962644_o

I’ve shifted gears and are now focused on work. In fact, Monday  I called into TMZ Live to share my thoughts on Khloe’s ultimatum to Lamar (ultimatums do not work). Harvey agreed.

1025-khloe-lamar-tmz-getty-4

By Wednesday, I found myself lined up at 6:30am at Central Casting. After three hours and fighting off the Scientologists working the casting line, I made it in.  By the way, did anyone see the Leah Remini 20/20 interview last night? Wow, I met Leah a couple of times when I worked for Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. I had no idea she was going through so much. I’m glad she got out and is SPEAKING out!

jennifer-lopez-1024Photo: People.com 

Thursday, I booked my first acting job as an background actor on The Muppets!! Yes, that really happened (pinch myself). A life long dream come true. We filmed yesterday, it was magical.

UnknownPhoto: ABC

11226019_10153418727909580_6997460953894351965_o

A lot has happened in a short span of time and I’m still trying to process it all. I’m looking forward to reporting on all the latest Hollywood happenings soon. It’s been an exciting journey so far.

George Hamilton: The Tan Man

george_hamilton by robert sebree

George Hamilton got his start in acting back in 1952 and over the years has starred in countless films and television shows. But he is most famously known for his suave style and trademark suntan.

At 75yrs old, the “Tan Man”  is enjoying a comeback appearing on the new E! reality series Stewarts & Hamiltons. The show follows the blended family of George and ex-wife Alana Stewart. Alana once married to legendary rocker Rod Stewart, has two children Kimberly and Sean Stewart. George and Alana also have a son,  Ashley Hamilton. Then there’s George Jr.  who George fathered with girlfriend Kimberly Blackford. Wowzers!

2B2D523000000578-0-image-a-75_1438956646135

I asked George his thoughts on doing a television show with his family. He told me, “I never worked with so many crazies but I’m having so much fun!”

After 40yrs of  divorce, George and Alana  are both doing their part to be good parents. They might not always agree but at the end of the day, family comes first. This modern family can get through anything with laughs and a lot of love.

 Stewarts & Hamiltons is on Sundays at 9pm on E!.