Patterico's Pontifications


Yakking Amiably with Scott Kaufer, aka “The Host”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:09 pm

The theme of the current issue of L.A. Weekly is “L.A. People 2007.” One of the prominent people mentioned is Scott Kaufer, who hosts a gathering of fascinating creative people (and me) at the Yamashiro restauarant in Hollywood every month. Scott is known simply as “The Host”:

Hanging on a wall in his immense old office on the Paramount lot is a 1972 photo of a much younger Scott Kaufer interviewing Groucho Marx for The Harvard Crimson. The shot of the young reporter and the old actor grabs your attention — but so does a dry-erase board nearby on which Kaufer has scrawled rough ideas for a TV drama he’s executive producing: “Transplant,” the board reads. “Time Perception. Stroke.”

Kaufer, former editor of California magazine, began his career as a committed newshound and print journalist, but then got nudged into television by his late friend Brandon Tartikoff. With a couple of Murphy Brown episodes to his name, he went on to write and produce scripts for several series, including The Gilmore Girls and The Chris Isaak Show. In his proudest effort, he worked with David E. Kelley as an executive producer on Boston Legal.

Plus, he’s just a hell of a nice guy.

The blurb was written by Jill Stewart, who warned Bob Sipchen and me last Friday that we were going to show up in it. Jill was true to her word:

Kaufer’s had a great ride so far, but the world of one-hour dramas doesn’t provide the kind of fix he gets from the edgier world of news and politics. To get that, he hosts a vibrant intellectual salon — a monthly invitation-only gathering of journalists, authors, screenwriters, bloggers and other creative types who meet at Yamashiro restaurant in Hollywood.

He founded “Yama,” as the event has become known, six years ago with Slate blogger Mickey Kaus and author Steve Oney. The late conservative journalist Cathy Seipp was a regular, but her friend, liberal French blogger and detective-in-training Emmanuelle Richard, is also at home in the group. Kaufer detests political litmus tests and loves to see strange bedfellows getting along. Los Angeles County Prosecutor Patrick Frey, whose blog, Patterico’s Pontifications, often ferrets out bias at the Los Angeles Times, yaks amiably at the gatherings with Timesians Bob Sipchen (a crowd favorite), Richard Rushfield and Matt Welch.

Heh. Well, I try to be amiable when I yak.

Kevin Roderick also gains his own spot in this issue. He is dubbed The Watchman.

Incidentally, the L.A. Weekly has really become more interesting with Jill as the local news editor. Make sure you make it a regular stop if you care about what’s going on in Los Angeles.

The Buffoon That Is Roger Friedman

Filed under: Buffoons — Justin Levine @ 11:12 am

[posted by Justin Levine] 

First, he dares to speak about Anna Nicole Smith’s neighbors without watching the entire Anna Nicole Smith Show, then he says these outrageous remarks regarding one of the best bands still working today:

Rush is back. The big hair, fake falsetto heavy metal group that made the 1980s so irrelevant musically sold 84,000 copies for Atlantic Records last week with a new album called “Snakes & Arrows.” Never underestimate the low standards of the buying public, I guess. Journey, Poison, shoulder pads and perms shouldn’t be too far behind at this rate.

I don’t even know where to start here. Is this guy for real??

[Update: More Friedman ass-ripping over at the Rush Is A Band blog. I am more convinced than ever that Friedman is getting Rush confused with Ratt. A serious mistake to be sure – but perhaps an honest one.]

It’s a Small World After All — L.A. Style

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 5:52 am

So yesterday I discovered the L.A. version of “It’s a Small World.”

I was chatting with a defense attorney, and I asked him where he lives. The area he described sounded very close to the area where some good friends of ours used to live.

If this were Texas, the salient characteristics of the area might have included beautiful tree-lined streets, or a nearby park.

But this is L.A., and something else immediately come to mind.

I said: “It seems like a nice area, but what I remember best is our friends talking how a van was once parked across the street with a body in it.”

The defense attorney knew just what I was talking about, and corrected me on the facts: “Two bodies. Both wrapped in carpeting. This happened maybe 12 years ago? Nobody knew they were there until the neighbors smelled them.”

Once he said that, I remembered the story better, and he was right. I had just misremembered some of the details.

As it turns out, the defense attorney lived (and still lives) just around the corner from where my friends used to live — and from where the van with the dead people had been parked. Small world, huh?

He then told me a long and interesting story about the guy who had killed the people in the van. He went by the name of Shady, and he ended up getting murdered himself.

And this defense attorney later represented a kid charged with aiding and abetting the murder of Shady.

I can’t remember all the details of the story the defense attorney told me, and I can’t vouch for the ones I do remember. But according to his version of events, this fellow Shady lived up to every implication of his name, and then some. He was allegedly good for about 15 murders that the authorities couldn’t prove. He threatened to kill his girlfriend and cut her up into small pieces. He told her that they wouldn’t find her until somebody smelled her, just like those people he’d killed and left in that van on Glyndon.

To protect his mom, her son ended up stealing Shady’s gun. This upset Shady a great deal, largely because the gun was on loan from the Mexican Mafia. He demanded its return, and when his girlfriend’s son returned it, accompanied by his friend (the defense attorney’s client), he ended up returning the bullets separately, by firing five of them into Shady’s head.

I’m looking forward to telling the story to Larry, my friend who used to live in the area.

It’s a small world, all right. When you live in L.A., you never know when you’ll find yourself connected to another person through some rotting bodies in a van.

Jim Tatreau, R.I.P.

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 5:38 am

[Posted by Jack Dunphy]

Los Angeles Police Department Commander Jim Tatreau was laid to rest on Tuesday, gone far too soon at age 58. He died April 29 after a two-year fight with brain cancer.

Tatreau was that rarest of men within the LAPD, a commanding officer who was respected not only by those in the department’s upper ranks, but even more by those who served under him. He was blessed with extraordinary gifts, not least of which were empathy and compassion for the cop on the street. Unlike all but a handful of his peers, he never forgot where he came from. He will be greatly missed.

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