TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: 'City of Angles' offers another perspectiveon City of Angels

Although it's the world's movie capital, Los Angeles has been

without its very own celebrity/events column for some time. Not anymore.

Stars and publicists alike have taken note of the Los Angeles Times'

entertainment society column, "City of Angles."



The title is great. Don't be surprised if I use it for my own column

months from now, long after you've forgotten it.



Appearing four times a week, "City of Angles" covers premieres, special

events, parties, and good old-fashioned celebrity sightings. You know:

Mel Gibson was seen here, Drew Barrymore dined there, Ted Nugent shot a

duck over yonder ... that sort of thing. Two reporters cover the Angles

beat, Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug. Ann O'Neill, who headed the column

until her recent her move to the business section of the Times, spoke

with me about the column.



"The column approaches this from the role of the regular person, and

covers Hollywood from a human interest perspective," O'Neill says. "It's

not about the business of Hollywood. It's about what's fun, interesting,

or odd."



In other words, "City of Angles" reporters aren't trying to suck up to

studio bigwigs and agents, angling for development or screenwriting

deals of their own. That peculiar affliction is shared by a fair number

of scribes at the industry trades, Daily Variety and Hollywood

Reporter.



Covering Hollywood's glitterati and working with the people who

represent them can be tricky terrain. Publicists, as I have learned, can

be extremely tight-lipped, considering that they are, well,

publicists.



"The column isn't mean," O'Neill says. "It tries to remain neutral and

amused."



The Angles' reporters receive insider tips and info not only from

publicists, but also from restaurant/bar staff, valet parkers, or John

Q. Public.



They also attend their share of invitation-only events. That's where the

"can't be mean" thing comes into play. Hollywood likes its media guests

to be well-behaved. Only celebrities can act up.



In a recent column, the gals reported on Esquire magazine's launch party

for Kim Masters' new column, "The Industry." (I don't recall PRWeek

throwing me a party for "Tales from Tinseltown." Maybe they did throw

one and I wasn't invited.)



Masters has written for Vanity Fair, Time, and Premiere, and raised the

ire of many a publicist, including me, back when I was a cub press agent

at Cannon Pictures. She is unafraid of the establishment, as her real

money comes from book sales that skewer the establishment. Like her or

not, she has been the Masters of her domain in Hollywood for the past

decade while investigating an industry that hates to take a hard look at

itself. So, publicists, we now have a good cop, bad cop situation in

Tinseltown. "City of Angles" for the fun and fuzzy, "The Industry" for

the down and dirty.



Me? I'll just try to remain neutral and amused.



Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and

writer.



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