Tales from Tinsletown: Clinton feels Hollywood's pain, but Gore still has a lot to learn

The President and his presidential aspirant (Al, not Hillary) attended a swanky $25,000-per-pop fund-raiser in Beverly Hills late last month.

The President and his presidential aspirant (Al, not Hillary) attended a swanky $25,000-per-pop fund-raiser in Beverly Hills late last month.

I suppose 'swanky' is redundant, since a $25K gig ain't gonna be blue jeans and hot dogs.

Clinton's devoting his final months to fulfilling some of the good deeds he promised when elected - better late than never - and escorting his protegee to big money digs where Democratic bread is buttered. And the best bakery outside the Beltway (I promise not to use that term again) is Hollywood.

The usual Democratic suspects showed, taking smug satisfaction in knowing the Leader of the Free World would really rather direct. Not since JFK has a prez been so comfy here - and Clinton didn't even have Sinatra to show him around. Hey, be honest: who would you rather have partied with, Mr. S or David Geffen?

In his remarks, Gore said trading a Democrat for a Republican is akin to swapping the makers of American Beauty for those of Howard the Duck.

Ouch! The intended humor was lost deep in the bowels of gathered execs, some of whom still can't look at fowl without flinching. Gore made this seemingly benign joke assuming that Hollywood, which makes the world laugh, could chuckle at itself.

It cannot.

Clinton made a nice save, quipping that he liked Howard the Duck. It was vintage empathetic Clinton. He felt the pain of those who felt the pain of a monumental box-office dud.

From a PR standpoint, the Veep has benefited from years watching a master work an industry room. But Gore still hasn't grasped essential differences between Hollywood and DC.

In DC, failures are thrown in your opponent's face. Here, they are as ignored as the wart on your aunt's nose. Like two 'straight' acquaintances spotting each other in a gay bathhouse, it NEVER happened.

Box-office bombs simply disappear from bios and resumes. Dare a journalist even mention a failed flick and a horrified publicist will attempt to remove the larynx of the offender with the very fork with which she has polished off the Four Seasons buffet.

I made this mistake. Once. I got an actor's credits off the Internet and failed to get approvals before placing a trade story. I'm not exactly sure what the publicist meant when threatening to perform a 'cranial exploratory' on me, but it sounded painful.

Another distinction between politics and showbiz is that politicians spin fantasy from reality, while filmmakers create fantasy from fantasy.

Or is it vice-versa? Either way, they both rely on lobbyists (i.e. spin doctors) and publicists (read: flacks) to explain which is which.

If Gore wants to milk the entertainment industry cow as well as farmer Bill has, he must remember the town's mantra: there are no bad movies, only failed audiences.

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