Well, there's always the Hollywood Board of Commissioners' twice-a-month meetings. The drama here isn't canned or airbrushed or predictable. It has the feel of real life, like a dysfunctional family gathered around the Thanksgiving table, with Hollywood's own Little Napoleon, Mayor Mara Giulianti, brandishing the carving knife over the Hollywood turkey.
At last week's meeting, the family bonds were being tested by media scrutiny of the commissioners' generosity to developers. People like Cynthia Berman-Miller and Steve Berman are hungry to build condominiums in Hollywood, it seems, as long as they get millions in incentives from the city.
As executive director of Hollywood's Community Redevelopment Association, Neil Fritz is the naughty boy who squandered his allowance. Or at least that's how the commission's grandmother, Cathleen Anderson, made it appear. She unleashed a high-pitched, non sequitur-filled diatribe that made the audience bust out in giggles.
Fritz, however, broke the rules by not keeping a poker face during his spanking.
"Are you laughing?" Anderson asked, sounding a little like Joe Pesci in Good Fellas. Stammering and blushing, Fritz tried to explain that the city was in much more robust financial shape than Anderson knew. But Grandma had him on the ropes. She raised her voice another octave.
"You need some money, because you're bankrupt!" she raged. "Sara Case is right about that." (Case edits the Hollywood blog balancesheetonline.com, which recently claimed the CRA was operating on fumes.)
Mama Giulianti twitched, glancing nervously at Tailpipe and some reporters sitting in the back of the room.
Enter attorney Rod Feiner, smoother than cooking oil in an expensive suit. He welcomed the commissioners back from vacation, tactfully avoiding any mention of the incentive package his developer clients are supposed to receive for putting up a 326-unit high rise next to the Hollywood Beach Golf & Country Club. Feiner wanted to talk about zoning.
But the family elders, Anderson and Uncle Sal (Commissioner Sal Oliveri) were feeling cantankerous. They wanted to know, damn it: What do the developers of the 14-story Golfview expect from the city in the way of incentives?
Well, that would be $8.31 million, Feiner said delicately, careful to note that it was part of the agreement that commissioners "passed unanimously" he used this phrase several times two years before. Unanimous? Uh, yes, meaning that Oliveri and Anderson had already voted for it.
"I have never been given $8 million as a figure," Oliveri huffed. "I will not approve $8 million in incentives."
This finally shattered Mom's patience. "Well, unfortunately you already have, Sal!" Giulianti said shrilly.
"Well, I made a mistake," Oliveri said. "I'm a human being."
With a subtle word, Mom Mara reminded everyone that going back on promises made earlier to lawyer-loving developers would land the city in a mess of big fat lawsuits.
Looking embarrassed, Oliveri crossed his arms and backed away from his microphone.
Finally, Giulianti marshaled the kids mama's boy Keith Wasserstrom, goody two-shoes Beam Furr, would-be rebel Peter Bober to have the Golfview tract zoned for condos. Anderson and Oliveri voted against it, but great-aunt Frances Russo joined the majority.
Thank you, Lord. Now, Mama, give the Golfview gang a slice of breast meat.
Fire Her Up
A lady friend let the 'Pipe in on a bizarre Internet encounter she had recently. And this auto part has had a hard time stomaching anything since.
Tailpipe's lady pal had run across a guy who identified himself only as Jake4Dinner. He claimed to be searching cyberspace for a woman, preferably a busty dominatrix-type, to put him on a spit and roast him alive. While she was not interested in the least, the 'Pipe's friend did find something intriguing about the proposition.
She looked up Jake4Dinner's profile and discovered that he was involved in a hobby called "Dolcett." This referred to a secretive Toronto artist known for drawing comic strips depicting bondage, torture, impalement, and cannibalism. His specialty is drawing luscious young babes impaled on barbecue spits. Ugh.
The 'Pipe's friend also found that the twisted hobby has fostered an online community with its own government. Citizens of Dolcett, California, post short stories they write about women getting eaten by surprise and eaten by choice. It's a surprisingly folksy crowd.
"Welcome to Dolcett CA and pull up a lawn chair," greeted a Dolcett City Council member when she paid the place a visit. "You're next up on the Fundraiser BBQ. You want Carolina Honey or Spicy Japaleno on that Florida tan of yers?"
Through Dolcett a fantasy town that is reportedly frequented by serial killers she befriended a culinary cannibal, Krbass301. The self-described 21-year-old "punk freak" says he grew up in South Florida and claims to attend the Florida Culinary Institute in West Palm Beach. He's serious about becoming a head chef and is currently looking for a job at a place like Red Lobster, because he finds seafood so, uh, interesting to cook. In class, Krbass301 often finds himself fantasizing about "cooking little things like you... in a brown demiglaze wine sauce."
An only child of conservative parents (a mailman dad and a secretary mom), Krbass301 says he got into bondage first, then pain, then rape. He stumbled upon Dolcett on the Internet when he was 16, and he's had the cannibalism fetish ever since. "You see why I'm in cooking school," he says.
Krbass301 invited the 'Pipe's friend up to Wal-Mart, where he works the graveyard shift. This could be an interesting date, he promised, with maybe some "snuff roleplay" or "knife-fucking."
Tailpipe asked if his friend planned to go.
Ahhh, I think not, she said.
The Manikin Frowned
Tailpipe long ago accepted the notion that people will steal anything. But medical professionals burglarizing colleagues? That's a new one.
In the past 25 years, nurse practitioner Barbara Jones has carved a lucrative little niche for herself in the physical enhancement business. As owner of the Aesthetic Enhancement Institute in Hollywood, she trains medical professionals in all the beautifying techniques she has become expert in over the years. That includes Botox treatments, chemical peels, mesotherapy, tattoo removal all those things, short of nip-and-tuck surgical procedures, that can turn you into a Venus and Adonis. (Alas, she doesn't do tailpipe renovations.)
"I've been working with derms and plastic since the early '80s," she says, referring to dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
Jones' stock-in-trade is the hotel conference-room seminar, in which she and other instructors lecture and give hands-on demonstrations. The biggest challenge is finding a live model to serve as the patient. "Did you ever try to get a manikin to frown?" she jokes.
A few weeks ago, Jones and her staff prepared to conduct a session in the Flamingo conference room of the Hilton Gardens Inn in Dania Beach, for which trainees paid $2,000 apiece. They set up tables with instruction manuals, syringes and needles, and bottles of phosphytidyl choline (PPC), an emulsifier that enhancement practitioners use to sop up little clots of fat in mesodermic tissue. After they left the hotel, a man identifying himself as a doctor told hotel employees that he had left some property in the conference room. When they let him in, he pilfered a manual with descriptions of techniques, some syringes, and some vials of PPC.
The portly man, quickly pegged by authorities as a doctor, was then picked up and driven away by a female accomplice in a white SUV.
For Jones, this was no petty theft but the brazen pilfering of extremely valuable trade secrets. "This is worth millions of dollars to me," she says. "It's stealing everything that's taken years and years of hard work."
On Friday, BSO arrested Dr. Rodolfo A. Perez, a Pembroke Pines endocrinologist, in connection with the case and charged him with grand theft. A woman who answered the phone in Perez' office this week said, "That's being handled by an attorney." BSO said there was no truth to reports that Perez injected the PPC into his own gut so he could look thinner on the beach.
As told to Edmund Newton