TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Blaring horns and lots of scorn signal LA'sreturn to 'normalcy'

There's been much ado about how much nicer everyone in Hollywood

has been behaving lately. A lengthy article by Los Angeles Times

entertainment industry reporter Claudia Eller quoted several bigwigs as

saying more emphasis is being placed on compassion than the bottom line.

Even Scott Rudin, the notorious bad-boy producer, has allegedly mellowed

out. (Even though Rudin is based in New York, anyone who makes movies

with the major studios is part of Hollywood, like it or not.) I had a

couple of Rude-in encounters when I was a publicist at Paramount, and

they were not pleasant. But they were memorable.

Even Hollywood's entrenched adversaries - agents and production

executives, journalists and publicists - are exchanging condolences and

pleasantries before negotiating. But they're still not giving an inch.

For example: Editor: "Not that any of this matters in the least anymore,

my goodness, in the wake of what's happened, but we're not going to be

able to put your client, Steve Steveman, on the cover after all."

Publicist: "Oh, absolutely, what possible difference does any of that

mean now? I mean, a silly cover. Which, by the way, you will give us, or

you're permanently out of the Steve Steveman business."

There's also been talk that show business just doesn't seem relevant

anymore. In fact, it seems so unimportant that the Times devoted no less

than three articles to the subject on one day alone.

Experts say the best thing to do right now is to return to normalcy,

which is why I applaud the Los Angeles Dodgers. They got back to normal

by doing what they do best: hating the San Francisco Giants.

With the Giants in town for a four-game series, and their star

outfielder Barry Bonds chasing the single-season home run record, Giants

PR officials and TV network executives inquired as to the possibility of

having an on-field celebration should Bonds break the record. Fat

chance, the Dodgers said. What's more, Dodger hurlers walked the slugger

repeatedly. He left town three homers short of the record, and to a

less-than-fond farewell. Sure, thousands booed the Dodgers (even though

they were still in the thick of a playoff race), but they're accustomed

to that. So many people here are transplants who root for hometown teams

that when the Mets or Phillies play here, it's hard to remember which

city you're in.

The Dodgers are not the only indication of things returning to business

as usual. A certain high-powered studio communications director failed

to return any of my calls or e-mails this week. That's refreshingly

normal. So was my encounter with an impatient motorist on Wilshire

Blvd., where I was caught daydreaming at the wheel. Honk, honk. "The

light's green, moron."

I smiled, and waved in the rearview mirror. Ah, normalcy. It felt good.

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