The art director for the movie ‘Inherent Vice’ works with the mural of Gaspar de Portola in Pynchon’s book. I suspect Tom is paying homage to our ex-wife, Mary Ann Tharaldsen, who is an artist in the same family tree as the Benton muralist, who are kin to ‘The Trailblazer’ John Fremont. Above is a mural in my local post office where I got my pass port. These doors are entrances to another dimension that art directors are hired to locate. I thought about being a art director so I could be someone, and thus not make folks around me, nervous with my unlimited imagination and talent in many fields. Calling me insane allows folks to come in my being, and take all they can!
My late brother-in-law was the muralist to the Stars. He was married to the actress, Harlee McBride, and acted himself.
At the top is a photo of my ex-girlfriend, Karen Holly, an artist like her father. She is standing on a bridge in Venice California where ‘Inherent Vice takes place. We had gone down to LA in 1986. I asked my friend, Paul Drake, to reserve us a room in a sleazy hotel in Santa Monica. The Flamingo is a art director’s dream that Karen got wise to, she doing a rendition of a skid-row movie star. In the background is a sight-seer bus. Paul used to drive one in San Francisco in 1978. At my wife’s suggestion he took up acting, and became a famous villain in Clint Eastwood’s ‘Sudden Impact’. As Mick, he gang rapes Susan Lockley under the pier at Santa Cruz.
Here is Paul in Beverley Hills Cop. My ex told Drake he looks like the actor, Stacey Keach.
“Why don’t you take up acting?”
When I told Paul the portrait Susan did in the movie, looked like him, he got defensive, and weird.
“That’s a self-portrait!” the non-artist said, trying to get us back down to reality.
“Yeah. But you, as Mick, raped her and her sister, and her undying hatred of you is consuming her soul. She is – becoming you!”
“I don’t see it. You’re full of shit!”
That’s a photo of me with Dottie Witherspoon, a kind of Reese Witherspoon, who stars in Pynchon’s WORK OF FICTION.
EXTRA! I just discovered that my ex-brother-in-law, Rick Partlow, was very close with Lana Clarkson, the actress murdered by Phil Spector. Rick was at my wedding reception. He is an actor who won an Emmy for his foley work. Add to this the drama of the screenwriter of The Rowdy Girls, you got quite a Hollywood story – full of real vice!
Garth Benton, a Los Angeles native who moved to Carmel in 1981, studied art at UCLA and Art Center College of Design. He found his artistic niche when he saw an 18th-Century-style mural at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
“I was 22 at the time, and I knew that was what I wanted to do,” he says. “I’ve always loved art history, so it was perfect.”
Rather than pursue a trademark look of his own, he learned to emulate art of many different periods. “My style is not to have my own style. Instead, I assimilate characteristics of the period I’m depicting,” he says. “Here at the Getty, the murals are part of the ambience. Nobody is supposed to say they are better than the art in the museum.”
The Getty murals are re-creations of paintings discovered in a country house near Pompeii and now in the collection of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Norman Neuerberg, a scholar of Greek and Roman antiquities, researched the motifs, which Benton executed in acrylic paint on the plaster walls.
Water damage, concrete shrinkage and seismic movement have caused cracks and flaking in the murals over the past two decades. Returning to the Getty this past summer, Benton has filled fissures and repainted damaged areas of the most elaborately decorated garden wall. During the coming year he will refurbish remaining sections.
Repair work might seem to be a bit of a bore, but Benton is delighted with the project. “This is like going home,” he says.
“To master artist Garth Benton, and his two talented daughters, and with gratitude for your beautiful additon to our new home.”
– Rhonda “Mann” Flemming
Mr. and Mrs. Bob Hope
Pres. and Mrs. Gerald Ford
Ms. Barbra Streisand
Mr. Sidney Sheldon
HRH Prince Saud Al Faisal
Ms. Carol Burnett
Mr. and Mrs. David L. Wolper
Ms. Jaclyn Smith
The J.Paul Getty Museum
M.H. De Young Memorial Museum
Mr. Danny Kaye
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Singleton
Mr. And Mrs. Mickey Rudin
Mr. Dean Martin
Mr. Hugh Hefner
Ralph M. Parsons Company
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Firestone
The Beverly Hilton Hotel
Squaw Valley Inn
Mr. Richard Cohen
Lily and Richard Zanuck
Mr. and Mrs. George Doheny
Princess of Iran
Ms. Polly Bergen
Mrs. Walt Disney
Ms. Pamela Mason
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Knight
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Spelling
Mr. and Mrs. Kirk Douglas
Mr. Jerry Magnin
Mr. and Mrs. Warren Clark
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Maguire
Mr. and Mrs. Stewart Resnick
Ms. Danielle Steel
Mr. David Nutt, Esq.
Harlee McBride is an actress and the wife of actor/comedian Richard Belzer since 1985. She is best known for Young Lady Chatterley (1977), an R-rated film based on the erotic classic Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and its 1985 sequel.
She has occasionally appeared in TV shows and movies, including as a medical examiner on Homicide: Life on the Street, which starred Belzer.
Lana Jean Clarkson (April 5, 1962 – February 3, 2003) was an American actress and fashion model. During the 1980s she rose to prominence in several sword-and-sorcery films. In February 2003, Clarkson was fatally shot by songwriter and producer Phil Spector in the lobby of his mansion. Spector was charged and convicted of second degree murder on April 13, 2009.
Set during the days of the Roman Empire, a simple village is preparing for the wedding of their king and queen. Suddenly, it is raided by Roman troops, and most of the people are whisked off to be slaves or killed. The queen, Amathea, (Lana Clarkson), and two of her best female warriors survive the attack and set off to liberate Amathea’s sister (Dawn Dunlap) (who had been raped in the raid and is set to become the Roman centurion’s concubine) and king Argan (who is sent to the gladiator arena).
RUTH DE JONG, ART DIRECTOR: The Gaspar de Portolá painting in Pynchon’s book is just a small piece in a hallway. But we decided it would serve well as a backdrop to a scene in which the mysteries of Los Angeles unfold. We liked the idea of having Doc look completely out of place in a private club. When we didn’t find an existing location, we re-dressed the lower lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre in downtown L.A. The room had a combination of wood and plaster paneling, and we added the booths, tables, chairs, and drapes.
DAVID CRANK, PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Paul really wanted to include the painting described in the book. He liked the idea of magnifying this explorer who led an 18th-century expedition through what is now Los Angeles. We found a mural of Portolá at the Compton post office. It matched the book’s description, down to the vegetable crates. I went to the post office one day and hoisted up a ladder to photograph the thing. I reworked the center portion of the mural and had it reproduced on canvas.
Set in 1970, as the counterculture is beginning to curdle, Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice revolves around a perpetually stoned private eye named Doc Sportello. Tripping through a smoggy fever dream of Los Angeles, he runs across drug-trafficking dentists, white-supremacist bikers, corrupt cops, and utopian surfers. This surreal noir turned out to be ideal source material for the filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson. Inherent Vice belongs to a long line of Anderson films, like Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, and The Master, that tells the shadow history of California.
To capture the look and feel of Pynchon’s alternative Los Angeles, Anderson turned to production designer David Crank and art director Ruth De Jong. The two have collaborated not just on several Anderson films but also on Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life and To the Wonder. In addition to rummaging through archival photos, Crank and De Jong pored over films from the period (The Graduate and John and Mary) and traveled throughout Southern California — in search of images and locations that evoked the ’60s as they came to a mythic and tawdry end. — Cameron Bird
After becoming friends on Facebook, my ex-wife, who was married to Thomas Pynchon, said we could communicate again but “No drama!”
In the third photo from the top we see Marilyn in the dress she made. Behind her, sitting on the grass is Joan, Mary Ann Tharaldsen’s best friend, who arrived late for Thanksgiving, and found seven members of her family blown away by Black radicals who used shotguns. Joan’s father was a CEO for Standard Oil, and was chosen to deliver a message. Marilyn’s sister was a radical in France and co-authored ‘Fela – This Bitch of a Life’ that is a musical off-Broadway. Fela was befriended by the Black Panther. Bryan Maclean was supposed to show up for our wedding reception after he sang at our wedding – if he could get away from a prior engagement. He was a no-show like the night he was supposed to show-up at the Polanski residence, the night the Manson Killers butchered Sharon Tate, Bryan’s friend.
Not in these photos is Tim O’Connor and his French girlfriend. They have gotten Robert Miles, my father-in-law, to talk about the grizzly things he did in Vietnam. They were renegades who went out and collected necklaces of Vietocong ears. Tim’s father is the famous actor of the same name. Tim knew everyone in Venice where my brother-in-law lived. Christine lived there for a while. I dramatically saved Rena at the Venice Pier. My second girlfriend, Malinda Frank, was the lover of a twenty-four year old Venice Beat, whom her father had killed. My brother-in-law, Rick Partlow, was an actor who won an Emmy. Tim’s father gave his son a boat that he sailed thru the Storm of the Century and lives on it in Holland. I taught tripped with Tim and taught him the four chords Bryan taught me. Three if this songs were in the movie ‘Dead Calm’. Tim lived with my family for a while, and in the Victorian house with the Loading Zone, whose lead played keyboard in the Beach Boys last album.
Tim played with Peter Shapiro, lead guitarist for the Loading Zone at the wedding reception we held at our Oakland home where Peter stayed for a couple of weeks.
There were so many very dramatic stories present at my brother’s house in Venice, where he hosted a dozen dangerous people. There was a real risk in bringing them together. My mother grabbed my arm before I took Rick outside and kicked his ass.
The woman under the Flamingo Motel sign is Karen Holly, an artist who I believe gave birth to my son. My friend, Paul Drake booked us in the Flamingo after I asked him to surround us with NOIR. Paul played Mick in Eastwood’s ‘Sudden Impact’. He got into acting at Mary Ann’s suggestion. M took Paul on a tour of his art and he begged her to help him find a creative craft. She suggested acting, saying he looked like Stacey Keach. Paul rapes a female artist on the beach, and beats up Dirty Harry on the pier.
As my ex is telling me “No drama!” her ex is making a Dramatic Movie about hippies and surfers in Venice during the Manson Murders. Thomas is allowed “drama” because he is famous and rich. My claim to fame is that I screwed Pynchon’s ex who told me her hubby was a bore – who had no friends – and shut himself up in an old hotel in Mexico. I tried to discover if Pynchon and M did LSD together, or, smoked pot. M told me she promised Thomas she would not reveal anything about him. Well, it looks to me there was nothing to reveal! It looks to me I was doing all the HIPPIE DRAMA, surrounded by friends who invented Pop Culture.
Meanwhile, Pynchon is alone in his room playing with his imaginary, make-believe hipster buddies.
“She came along the alley and up the back steps the way she always used to. Doc hadn’t seen her for over a year. Nobody had. Back then it was always sandals, bottom half of a flower-print bikini, faded Country Joe & the Fish T-shirt. Tonight she was all in flatland gear, hair a lot shorter than he remembered, looking just like she swore she’d never look.” first paragraph, Inherent Vice”