Standing on the linoleum of giantsThe best thing about my job is that I never know quite where it will take me.

For instance: In December of 2004, I spent half an hour with a six-month-old Siberian tiger because Universal was promoting the DVD release of “Two Brothers“. The movie was charming but ultimately forgettable; petting a tiger cub will stay with me until my brain turns to paste.

And in September of 2002, I sat down with Joe Hunter, Jack Ashford and Bob Babbit at the Toronto film festival, for “Standing in the Shadows of Motown“. Lovely men full of great stories, and more than willing to indulge me by telling them all over again; it only hit me as I was shaking theirs hand afterward that these were the fingers that actually made the music I love so dearly. Awe is a marvelous thing.

(So is memory: It wasn’t until the next day that I realized the film’s director, Paul Justman was the same Paul Justman who’d edited the legendary Rolling Stones documentary “Cocksucker Blues”, and that he surely have had some very interesting stories of his own to tell if I’d asked.)

Anyway, the reason I bring this up now? I took the above photo in Frank Sinatra’s bathroom about four hours ago.

In the future, all stereos will look like thisSinatra called it Twin Palms, but it’s The Sinatra House now, available for rent for $2600 a night (with a three-night minimum) and everything about it is pretty amazing. The twin palm trees in the front yard that shoot at least a hundred feet straight up, the swimming pool shaped like a grand piano, the gorgeously archaic hi-fi in the audio cabinet in the front room, which didn’t seem to be connected to anything, but still worked: You could smell the dust burning on the big old vacuum tubes inside.

Most of the furniture is era-appropriate replica stuff, intended to re-create an image of Sinatra cool that Sinatra himself probably never achieved — and then we have the DLP projection television above that magnificent stereo, and the Bose Wave systems in the bedrooms, because if you’re paying $2600 a night you expect high-quality audio and video — and he’d have hated the hippie crap the poolside DJ was cranking out. Cat Stevens? Not in this house, baby.

But the bathroom is the real deal, buffed up but unretouched, complete with the famous cracked sink from that time Ava Gardner came home to find Lana Turner in that pool, triggering a fight that ended — so the legend goes — with Sinatra throwing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s into the sink with such force that the porcelain cracked in four different directions.

I’ve heard the story of the sink a few times. (In some versions, it was a Champagne bottle that did the damage, but the Jack seems somehow more likely.) Never in my life did I think I’d see it for myself.

This is a great gig … if you’re strong enough to survive the movies.

Oh, and also I met Udo Kier at the Netherlands gala, and that was pretty cool.

(Special thanks to Dave Kehr for cluing me in to the wonders of Photobucket.)

9 thoughts on “Ring-a-Ding-Ding”

  1. Nice to see you livin’ it up in sunny Palm Springs darling. If you see Lilo, can you slap her upside the head for me please? Oh, and tell Cate that I love her.

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