Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Anna Farris Gets NZ Apology for "Pothead Stoner" Smear

Faris in "The Young and the Stoned" episode of TV's "Entourage."

Anna Faris was apparently correct when she said New Zealand men were rather loutish in an interview with George Lopez (12/14/2010), where the "Scary Movie" actress told a story about men yelling obscenities at her while filming "Yogi Bear" down under.

Tourism New Zealand spokes-man Ian Long responded to Faris's statements by saying, "In the same segment (of the TV show), she accepts an award for being a pothead stoner of the year... I don't think she has any credibility." (Thus Long felt it was necessary to smear Faris as both a "pothead" and a "stoner," in case one or the other wasn't enough.)

Faris was awarded the bong-shaped Stonette award from High Times magazine for her role in the 2007 film Smiley Face. The Lopez show segment featured a mock acceptance speech with a surprise (but not too surprising) guest.

Now a statement from the Tourism New Zealand agency reads, "The inference that Tourism NZ did not take Ms. Faris' comments seriously is very much regretted and was certainly not intended." She is promised "great Kiwi hospitality" the next time she's in the country.

Stonette of the Year 2010 was Drew Barrymore for Going the Distance.

Her fellow nominees were:

Kristen Stewart - The Runaways
Sarah Silverman - Saint John of Las Vegas
Meryl Streep - It's Complicated
Edie Falco - Nurse Jackie
Megan Fox - Jonah Hex

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday Viewing

Lady Jean Inhales
Yesterday, TCM aired the 1947 film Black Narcissus, based on the Rumer Godden novel about a convent of nuns attempting to "civilize" a village in the Himilayas. One nun goes crazy over a sexy sybarite (Mr. Dean), and another, played by the esteemed Flora Robson, goes crazy over flowers, planting daffodil, sweet pea, chinese lily, tulip, honeysuckle and foxglove where her vegetables should have been.

Sister Phillipa leaves the convent because, "I was becoming too fond of the place...there's something in the atmosphere that makes everything exciting. One must be either like Mr. Dean or the holy man [a hermit who doesn't speak], either ignore it or give yourself up to it."

Narcissus is a kind of psychoactive daffodil. Shown is another esteemed actress, Jean Simmons, inhaling its fragrance in the film.

Following the film was a restored version of the 1937 classic Lost Horizon, complete with a scene of a bacchanal attended by Edward Everett Horton (who did the "Fractured Fairytales" on Rocky & Bullwinkle). Horton plays his usual wracked-with-insecurities character, who finally relaxes after this scene and begins to enjoy Shangri La. "There are moments in every man's life when he glimpses the eternal," is a line from the film that Capra repeated in 1948's The State of the Union.

Shangri La's High Llama, who must have been the inspiration for Yoda in Star Wars, was prescient when he spoke of the modern world, "What madness there is, what blindness..humanity crashing headlong against each other in an orgy of greed and brutality. The time must come when this orgy will spend itself, when the urge for brutality and lust for power must perish by its own sword....When that day comes the world must begin to look for a new life. It is our hope that we will find it here...a way of life based on one simple rule: Be Kind."

Last week, TCM aired I Love You, Alice B. Toklas as part of its Peter Sellars tribute. I was surprised how well the film held up, and on how many levels it worked. Leigh Taylor Young was luminous in her first film role as the hippie girl who bakes Sellars his pot brownies. She was nominated for a Golden Globe as New Star of the Year for the performance.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jared Loughner and Our Sick Society

Fresh from pitching softballs to Sarah Palin about the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, conservative Fox News host Joe Scarborough brought on another rabid Republican woman, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, the following night. In one of his questions to her, Scarborough stated that the alleged shooter Jared Loughner hadn’t ever attended a Tea Party meeting but that he “smoked dope.”

In the fingerpointing and handwringing following the terrible incident that left 6 dead and 14 injured, the Right has been quick to seize on the news that Loughner smoked marijuana and possibly salvia in the years leading up to his decline into madness. Recovery “professionals” have expressed concern about “how easy it has been for this mentally ill young man to get marijuana.” That a troubled young man like Loughner could easily purchase a semi-automatic pistol with a 33-shot clip has met with “pushback” from conservatives even to the idea of reducing the clip size to 10 shots, even while Sarah Palin has quietly taken the map down from her website that had “surveyors marks” over Congressman Giffords’ district.

Time magazine and others have tried to tie marijuana use to schizophrenia, citing statistical studies that link the two. But all that can be said is that marijuana might trigger schizophrenia is someone predisposed to it, just like binge drinking or a myriad of other events could do.

As friends and neighbors of the Arizona man come forward, pieces of the perplexing puzzle that is Jared Loughner have emerged. One neighbor said on ABC This Week that she used to enjoy the music coming from the Loughner home when Jared played saxophone in a jazz band, but that about four years ago, the music stopped. "Something changed," she said. She asked the family about it, and was met with silence.

It was in May 2006, about four years ago, that Jared Loughner was taken to the emergency room by his high school nurse after he showed up “extremely intoxicated” for school that morning. Loughner told a sheriff’s deputy that he’d stolen a bottle of vodka from his parents because his father had yelled at him.

Not long after that, he dropped out of the band. One high school friend who’d tweeted that Loughner was a “pothead” when she knew him said he’d changed after the alcohol incident, became more withdrawn. His music teacher Doug Tidaback said Loughner was a bright kid with talent, and that he didn’t remember ever seeing his father at his concerts. Others thought perhaps his parents were divorced, because his father was seldom seen. Whether Jared’s father was neglectful or even abusive remains to be known, or may never be.

Loughner’s troubles escalated in September 2007 when he and a friend were caught with a pot pipe just before his 19th birthday. It’s unknown what effect this incident had on him, whether it alienated him more from mainstream society, or angered his parents. The effect of the other 500,000 yearly arrests in the US for marijuana on young people’s employment and education prospects, and the damage to their self esteem and family relationships, is incalculable.

Jared Loughner’s unsupervised mind-expansion experiments took him to dangerous places. He became obsessed with the movie Zeigeist and its implications for government collusion in the events of September 11, 2001. He attended a meeting with his Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and was disappointed and angry that she was unable to respond to his strange question. It seemed he was looking hard for answers.

Loughner seemed to search everywhere for communion with a tribe, even trying to join the US Army, which rejected him when he told them about his marijuana smoking. He couldn’t keep a job, or a girlfriend, or assimilate his thoughts and experiences into everyday life. Yes, he is sick, but so is the culture that made him.

In The Power of Myth, Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell had this exchange:

MOYERS: Do you ever think that it is this absence of the religious experience of ecstasy, of joy, this denial of transcendence in our society, that has turned so many young people to the use of drugs?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely, that is the way in.

MOYERS: The way in?

CAMPBELL: To an experience.

MOYERS: And religion can do that for you, or art can’t do it?

CAMPBELL: It could, but it is not doing it now. Religions are addressing social problems and ethics instead of the mystical experience.

Modern society demonizes what was once a religious experience: the partaking of psychedelic plants. The Greeks called them the Eleusinian Mysteries and their psychedelic sacrament kykeon brought communion to its initiates, who made a pilgrimage to the ceremony following months of preparation. Communion has now denigrated into a hollow ceremony performed by a cult that has condoned pedophilia. And laws against marijuana have sent teenagers trying untested substances like salvia for the experience they naturally seek. No wonder they’re confused.

It’s time we came to grips with the fact that adolescents will forever demand the kind of rite-of-passage experience that entheogens provide. Instead of offering information and guidance to our youth, we basically tell them what we used to when they asked about sex, “Learn about it on the street.”

We must learn to educate, not incarcerate. The cries for help are getting deadlier all the time.

Diaz and Lopez Get Green

Lopez Tonight (midnight on TBS) seems to be the latest place stars come clean about being green. Cameron Diaz guested on 1/19 to promo The Green Hornet and chat about driving a Prius and being a Cuban from the LBC (Long Beach) where she "had to have" bought weed from Snoop Dogg. "So you were green even in High School?" asked Lopez. "Oh yeah," the starlet replied.

Diaz has been photographed passing a joint to Drew Barrymore, and told GQ in December 2007 about her life as a weed-smoking surfer in high school: "It took two hours to get [to the beach] on a bus. You stayed all day, ate corn dogs. We only had two dollars for a joint."

Something (everything?) about Diaz made Ben Stiller chase her across the country in Something About Mary, and when the characters reunite, they smoke a joint together. The stunning actress, who catapulted to fame in her first movie role opposite Jim Carrey in Mask, was surprisingly convincing as the dowdy housewife who suggests smoking a joint with a dinner guest in Being John Malkovich

Diaz also joked with Lopez about smelling skunk on Green Hornet co-star Seth Rogen, who she calls a comic genius. But my favorite sequence was then they imitated the Telenovelas while munching Cuban food.

UPDATE: Diaz is the pot-smoking Bad Teacher.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adieu to Joe

From The Capitol Steps CD Papa's Got a Brand New Baghdad

Green Green Grass at Home
(with chords from "Green, Green Grass of Home", written by Claude "Curly" Putman Jr.)

Well this (C)year won't be the same
As the (F)'92 campaign
When those who (C)ran denied that they smoked (G)marijuana
Years a(C)go a guy would (C7)be a goner
(F) Now it's like a (Dm7)badge of honor
To (C)say you smoked the (G)green green grass back (C)home.
Yes, you'd be a fool to (C7)grab a boobie
But (F)it's real cool to (Dm7)light a doobie
Like (C)Kerry, Dean and (G)Edwards did back home

There's not a sound from Wesley Clark
So he might just be a narc
And though Joe Lieberman won't smoke
We think he needs to
Though Al Sharpton says that pot's a dumb thing
His barber must be high on something
He's wearing reefer madness on his dome.

Now it seems that the people long
For the days of Cheech, and of Chong
And the voters they just want their candidates to like 'em
So there's no need to hide that sweet aroma
Or to say you've got glaucoma
If Democrats can call the White House home
Cause the Democrats have got a stealth plan
Marijuana's their new health plan
They'll give you pot, but then you're on your own.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green Goddesses at the Golden Globes

I wasn't the only one to notice the tribute to the color green that took place at the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

First, Catherine Zeta-Jones appeared in a stunning, off-the-shoulder gown with an antebellum-style skirt in a deep emerald color. Next, Angelina Jolie shone in a glittery green gown that was reportedly chosen by the actress herself and not her stylist.

Zeta-Jones and Jolie are shown in this photo with Catherine's hubby Michael Douglas grinning behind. Douglas seems to be making an amazing recovery from his cancer, and I wonder if the gaggle of green is a tribute to something green that has come to his aid.

Also gracing the red carpet in green were Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss and Mila Kunis, the actress from the pot-friendly That 70s Show who speculated on the George Lopez show that it was marijuana and not salvia that Miley Cyrus was toking up in that YouTube video. 

Kunis and co-star Natalie Portman were impressive dancing and acting in The Black Swan, for which Portman took home a Globe. (Too bad it turned into a creepy slasher flick by the end.) Portman is producing a film called Best Buds about friends who save their girlfriend from marriage by bringing her weed.

Betty Boop

Ah, darn. Just when there might be a reason to watch "Hot in Cleveland," which debuted last year with Betty White playing a caretaker smelling of pot, this season's debut is a pot-party pooper.

Seems White's character hasn't been smoking pot at all, but has instead been using it in an "herbal mixture" to polish stolen silver items her late husband hid in their basement for the mob. Really. Because, that's so much more wholesome than smoking pot.

Makes ya want to return to yesteryear, like the Garden of Eden skit Betty performed with Johnny Carson. Says Johnny, "That Garden of Eden Gold is dynamite."

Joan Rivers said she smoked pot with White and others back in the day. "We had fun," she said. It seems Betty forgot. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lillian Hellman Nominated as Very Important Pothead / Tokin' Woman

Writer Lillian Hellman has been publicly nominated as a Very Important Pothead / Tokin' Woman by journalist Fred Gardner, who wrote in Counterpunch that he helped Hellman get marijuana to treat her glaucoma in the 1970s.

Gardner wrote me in an email, "I knew her very well '61-'71...The drink at the Huntington [when he suggested she try medicinal marijuana] was probably '77 or '78." He added, "Lil said she used mj when she was around people who used it. As in 'Whenever I'd be at a dinner with Gene Krupa...' "

According to the 1986 book Lillian Hellman: The Image, The Woman by William Wright, Hellman was a bit of a cougar in her later years, enjoying the company of young single men in New York in the mid-1970s "with a leaning towards the sort of outrageousness that produced the hearty Hellman belly laugh." At one gathering, Wright writes, "one of the company persuaded Hellman to smoke marijuana." The evening was "a raucous success" and Hellman had to be dissuaded from taking a walk down Park Avenue at 2AM by herself.

Hellman's most famous plays include The Children's Hour (1934), The Little Foxes (1939), and Toys in the Attic (1960). Tokin' Woman Tallulah Bankhead starred in the original production of The Little Foxes, a revival of which starring Anne Bancroft was directed by Mike Nichols; Elizabeth Taylor earned a Tony nomination for her performance in the play in 1981 (her Broadway debut), and Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon co-starred in it in 2017. Hellman's memoir Pentimento (1973) was the basis for the 1977 movie Julia, in which Jane Fonda fittingly played her. (The film also features an early appearance by Meryl Streep.) A cocktail party she gave for George McGovern may have given him the idea to run for president. 

Hellman had a 30-year relationship with "Thin Man" writer Dashiell Hammett, and the two lived in a hotel managed by VIP Nathanael West in LA. She was blacklisted by the movie industry after telling the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1950: "To hurt innocent people whom I knew many years ago in order to save myself is, to me, inhuman and indecent and dishonorable. I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year's fashions." (This quote was rephrased and put in the mouth of a man in the film Trumbo; Hellman once got angry at Sue Mengers for quoting it in a lesser context.)

Hellman died in 1984 but remains current: On the red carpet at the Golden Globes on Sunday, "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss said she's appearing in London with Keira Knightley in Hellman's The Children's Hour.

Read more about Lillian Hellman. 

Photo (reportedly Hellman's favorite) by the late, great Irving Penn.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roseanne Tells It Like It Is

Reading at Books Inc. in Berkeley on Sunday from her new book Roseannearchy Roseanne Barr laughed, she cried, and she displayed more compassion and common sense than all the politicians in Washington put together.

Barr has been making the talk show rounds, appearing with everyone from Joy Behar to Bill O'Reilly (she got Bill on board with a Charity Farm). She implored politicians to "stop dividing us against each other so you can rob us." The solution, she said, was to be kind to each other. "We can break free the minute we start sharing."

The no-nonsense Roseanne said she's gotten off Facebook because she realized it's "Satanic....I was thinking I was doing something when I wasn't." Instead, she blogs at Roseanneworld.com and invites all to meditate with her at 2AM on Friday night/Saturday morning (she posts her present time zone on her site). She spoke of the Sufi phrase, "That which occurs before that which transpires" and said, "Let's be that something."

Barr's hilarious HBO special "Blonde and Bitchin'" contained her trenchant observation, "The War on Drugs is a war on poor people using street drugs waged by rich people on prescription drugs."

There are a couple of references to the "Herb of the Goddess" in Roseannarchy. I recommend all buy and read the book to find them. She calls weed "the only drug that should be legal. In fact, it should be mandatory" (a line she borrowed from the great Bill Hicks).

  Read more about Roseanne.

Hempy New Year!

I've decided to merge my award-winning, faux blog, The Very Important Potheads blog with this actual blog, starting in 2011.

To see past VIP blogs, visit:

The Very Important Blog 2010
The Very Important Blog 2009
The Very Important Blog 2008
The Very Important Blog 2007
The Very Important Blog 2006
The Very Important Blog 2005

See the www.VeryImportantPotheads.com main page with over 200 stories of famous folk who've consumed cannabis. (Click on the name or photo for the full story.)