Category Archives: Addictions

Everything But Oscar

by Quendrith Johnson

OSCAR FICTION PACKAGE: A screenwriter turned Hollywood blogger obsesses about award shows. 2,673 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


He liked to call her Celeste, after Celeste Holm, because he said, “You are destined to be a character actor of writing.” Kenny was the first screenwriter turned journalist she ever met who really got somewhere. And Kenneth J. Bodemire was incredibly smug about it at the time. Framed magazine coverage of himself with famous film names lined a back wall in his Marina Del Rey stronghold on the beach. It looked like a set decorator had given the place a nautical going over.

Since nobody was making any money from journalism these days, Kenny characterized his career collapse with this line: “When the Internet went up, the price of words went way down. And the price of assholes went way up.” Which referred to professional trolls, he said, as if he’d just discovered this decades-plus phenom.

On this day, she saw him up at Peet’s on Montana near 14th Street, one of his favorite “I’m still here” hang-outs. Next thing she knew, he was walking toward her car. Unbelievable. Zip, window down.

“Isn’t there a law against walking under the influence?” she smiled.

In hindsight, she wished she’d had a body mic to record their conversation. At the time Celeste had no way to help him, even as Kenny poured his Tequila-soaked self into her passenger seat. As soon as he got in the Volvo, he quipped, “If you give me $20, I’ll get out.” That was his new reflexive funny line. Celeste side-eyed him, trying not to think how steep his drop had been. She really didn’t like driving around with this level of manic depression energy in a closed space.

“You don’t know how rotten the whole thing is, all of it. Everybody is in on it. Except Oscar.”

“I’d never pegged you for a paranoid schizophrenic, but I’m warming up to it.” It was meant to be funny, but he tightened. “What’s your objective, Kenny: to bring down the entire Award Show establishment?”

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Kinky

by Alan Swyer

A young executive learns too much information from this studio mogul. 2,243 words. Illustration by Mark Fearing.


“I need you!” Walter Shepherd bellowed into the phone, causing Barry Nash to cringe.

First as an agent, then as a A5B3E0F0-C9C6-486D-B9BF-98B356EAA0EBproducer, and finally as a studio head, Walter Shepherd was a Hollywood legend whose behavior was considered off-the-wall, and whose thinking was deemed out-of-the-box, long before those terms became fashionable. It was Shepherd who showed the movie biz that hits should be separated into two totally distinct categories – those that boys, girls, or sometimes both, saw three, ten, or even twenty times; and those that attracted people who didn’t, as a rule, go to the movies. It was Shepherd who predicted first the rise, then the rapid fall, of the new 3-D technology.

For Nash, who was far from earning V.P. stripes of his own, the chance to work with such an icon as Shepherd seemed like a dream. After hitting a wall as an aspiring screenwriter, then toiling in obscurity as a freelance script reader, the opportunity to learn from a honcho was not just what his friends termed a new lease on life. It also gave Nash the wherewithal to marry his college girlfriend, with whom he quickly produced an adorable daughterplus a chance to see the way Hollywood really worked.

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