Either Michael Lohan has no luck, or he has no sense of integrity. Or maybe he’s just doubly cursed. The ill-fated father of teen starlet Lindsay Lohan has accumulated a raft of headlines for separate incidents in which he was accused of beating up his brother-in-law, a sanitation worker and fellow patrons at a strip club. Now he’s being blamed for dropping his daughter’s name to get out of a fender bender.
Almost a month and a half ago, as the buxom actress was filming Herbie: Fully Loaded, about a NASCAR-racing Volkswagen bug, her dad was playing a real-life speed demon on the streets of midtown Manhattan. On the afternoon of Sept. 20, while driving a rented yellow Ford Mustang, the 44-year-old father rear-ended an investment banker’s Subaru at the intersection of 53rd and Third. “He got out of the car asking, ‘Are you O.K.? Are you O.K.?’ He clearly knew that he was responsible. He admitted that he’d been on his cell phone when he hit me,” the other driver told The Transom. When our source asked Mr. Lohan if he wanted to report the accident to his insurance carrier, Mr. Lohan said that he didn’t and then proceeded to play the celebrity card. “He asked, ‘Do you know who Lindsay Lohan is?’ And I said yes, and he said, ‘Well, that’s my daughter, so you know I can pay.’”
Before parting ways, the two exchanged information, and Mr. Lohan gave our source what he believed to be a bogus number. “Every time I called it, it was a fast busy signal-like a phone that’s been disconnected. It was impossible to get in touch with him. So I went to his lawyer and, over a month later, nothing’s been done. I’m getting sick and tired of being blown off. All I’m asking for is what it cost me to replace the bumper.”
Mr. Lohan insists otherwise. “There weren’t any false numbers-that’s ridiculous!” he said when we reached him on his cell phone (a different number from the one he’d given the other driver). “I had another number, but that phone was lost weeks ago and Nextel gave me a new number. Tell him to call me on this phone. He can call me directly and I’ll just deal with this myself!”
Of course, this isn’t Mr. Lohan’s first encounter with car trouble-or the law, for that matter. This past May, after the family celebrated the first communion of Lindsay’s 7-year-old brother, Dakota, Mr. Lohan reportedly followed brother-in-law Matt Sullivan home, tailing the bumper of his car for the duration of the ride. Once in his relative’s driveway, Mr. Lohan attacked his relative, who received 16 stitches in his head at the local hospital. Michael Lohan’s blood-splattered car was reportedly impounded by the police-as was Mr. Lohan, who was later released on $14,000 bail. Meanwhile, the same week he was playing bumper cars on 53rd Street, Mr. Lohan was kicked out of the topless club Scores for belligerency, and pled guilty to assault charges for an altercation with a New York City sanitation worker.
While the $700 it will cost to replace the damaged bumper is chump change for Mr. Lohan’s daughter, who now has an $11 million-per-film asking price, the figure may be too much for her father and his financial woes. Since 1986, Mr. Lohan-who served a four-year federal prison term for securities fraud-has accumulated nearly $30,000 in civil judgments from close to 20 creditors.
Despite the damage estimates, Mr. Lohan contends: “Nothing even happened. There was no damage or anything. We didn’t even file a report with the insurance companies. My lawyer just got the letter about this.”
Mr. Lohan admitted that he’s been difficult to reach this past month. “I just got out of the hospital. I had a minor heart attack. And before that, I was on vacation.”
Adult-video stars and their admirers crowded into the Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea on Oct. 30 for the book-release party of XXX: 30 Porn Star Portraits, a book of photographs by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders that features the big guns (and their glorious endowments) of the porn world in nonexplicit poses-both clothed and sans wardrobe.
While there were plenty of overexcited men, the attire was less stained-sweatpants-and-five-day-old-beard than it was Chelsea-clone-meets-downtown-chic. Instead of housebound, overweight, socially retarded couch potatoes, the porn-starlet admirers were, for the most part, as attractive as the objects of their attention, albeit not as saucily dressed.
Chad Hunt, gay porno actor extraordinaire, was nattily attired in a tailored black button-down shirt over a green stone necklace, shaking hands and signing copies of his picture while young, middle-aged and older men tried getting face time with him. Mr. Hunt, known for the gargantuan dimensions of his genitalia, was gracious, extending a wide smile and warm handshake.
“It’s a great experience,” he told The Transom about posing for the book. “I’m not used to being posed while I’m dressed.” Was there any difference between posing in flagrante delicto and a straightforward, non-pornographic nude? “These pictures are more revealing than in standard poses-a lot more real than the adult videos,” he said.
Mr. Hunt gave a sex-positive endorsement of John Kerry, adding that after John Ashcroft leaves the Justice Department, “there will be a lot more dirtier and nastier things we can do on video.”
Across the gallery, blond and curvy porn starlet Jesse Jane wandered around the gallery and pouted aggressively when approached. “I’ve only been in the business for two years, and its really wonderful to be part of this show,” she said. Ms. Jane’s photographic diptych shows her in college gear-a numbered T-shirt with blue jeans and pigtails, followed by the obligatory nude shot that attracted several enamored passers-by. Wearing a tight, plunging dress-what else?-Ms. Jane elucidated on her work schedule. “I’ve just finished shooting Island Fever 3. We shot it on Bora Bora, and it’s the first porn delivered in H.D. [high definition].” What is it about, Ms. Jane? “Boy-girl, girl-girl-girl, boy-girl,” Ms. Jane giggled. “Oh, and I just got back from the Venus Awards in Germany. I won best actress for Loaded. It was really exciting.” The movie? “Yeah, that was hard work.” What, too many sex scenes? “No, that part’s easy. There was a lot of action scenes, and I did all my own stunts.” Asked who she thought was kinkier in bed, Mr. Bush or Mr. Kerry, Ms. Jane said, “I bet you Kerry’s more kinky. He gives you that vibe, that he’d tie you up and twist you around. Bush seems like more of a missionary guy.” Ms. Jane, a Texas native, said that she was, of course, voting for the straight-shooting missionary guy.
Later, at the after-party in the penthouse of the still-unfinished Rivington Hotel, the wine and liquor were flowing, loosing the lips of gawkers. John Waters, oddball filmmaker and éminence grise of the weird, was sitting on a sofa nearby, surrounded by a coterie of young men. “I think they’re great-they have great dignity,” he sighed, describing the photos. The Transom, feeling the effects of several glasses of red wine and sated on the foie gras, prosciutto and sushi hors d’oeuvres provided by Chanterelle, finally felt confident enough to approach a pretty woman and ask her about porn. Kelly, a stylish African-American woman casually dressed in a tight-fitting black blouse and slacks-who lives in Manhattan but preferred to not give out her last name-said that porn is really mainstream these days, but “we’re all hiding it. We’re afraid of the human body!” Asked if the acceptance of porn in the mainstream world bodes well for John Kerry on Election Day, she shook her ponytailed head. “Nobody thinks about voting when they’re jerking off.”
You Can Call Me Al
Three days before Al Goldstein was fired from the Second Avenue Deli, the 68-year-old former publisher of Screw magazine was in the back room there, taking a break from his two-month-long stint as a “greeter.”
Mr. Goldstein, wearing a Salvation Army pinstriped jacket ($6), a button-down shirt ($2) and a silk tie (50 cents), didn’t have that naughty spark in his eyes, but he looked better than he has in the past, having lost 150 pounds after getting his stomach stapled.
“I’m starting to feel that there really is an Al Goldstein,” he said. “I was suicidal, you know-I wanted to die. When you’re making $4,000 a week and then you’re down to $10 an hour? I was up high and I fell low.”
For 34 years, Mr. Goldstein had a soapbox on his cable show Midnight Blue and wrote 1,800 editorials for his magazine.
“I never sold out,” he said. “I tried to be honest. I made fun of myself, my weight, my cock, my grandiosity. I think what I am is the antithesis of Donald Trump. I am a human being who struggles, who feels pain, who cries easily, who has fought the urge to kill himself, who lives in a homeless shelter-in Florida, I lived in a car. And on a certain level, I survived.”
He listed some recent lowlights: Screw magazine bankrupt. Sued for sexual harassment. Lost his townhouse on East 61st Street, then his $2.5 million house in Florida. No more chauffeured limousine and bodyguard. No more bylines in The New York Times and Forbes. His fifth wife sick with Crohn’s disease. His teeth are falling out. Estranged from his lawyer son. And so on.
“Power is an aphrodisiac,” he said. “People would suck up to me. They all dumped me when I became poor.”
Except, that is, for a handful of people, including porn star Ron Jeremy.
“He’ll be here in two weeks,” Mr. Goldstein said. “He made me promise I’d give him a sandwich as tall as his dick. So we’re talking an 11-inch sandwich. And the pig’ll eat it-he likes anything. Her doesn’t taste, he devours.”
Recently Mr. Goldstein reread George Orwell’s classic memoir Down and Out in Paris and London, “because I didn’t think I’d wind up this pathetic,” he said. “But it was good to know that when you hit the bottom, there’s no lower to go and you can be resilient. I’m trying to bounce back. I’m trying to bounce back.”
Mr. Goldstein looked on with disgust as The Transom slathered mayonnaise on his pastrami.
“You’re a fucking retard,” he said. “It’s despicable. Before you eat pussy, do you put mayonnaise on the pubic hair?” He gave a lengthy tutorial on how to perform the best cunnilingus.
“Bottom line is, go slow,” he concluded, as a buxom waitress named Marsha sat down next to him and took his hand.
On Oct. 25, Mr. Goldstein was let go from the deli, having spent the night in the laundry room one too many times.
“He’s not here anymore,” a manager told The Transom. “It just didn’t work out.”
“Now I have nothing,” Mr. Goldstein told the New York Post’s Page Six on Oct. 29 from the homeless shelter at Bellevue Hospital. But by the next day, he had a new gig at the Bellevue bar on 40th and Ninth. Owner Tracy Westmoreland paid him $100 to hang out there for an hour. Dressed in conservative hip-hop attire, Mr. Goldstein was a big hit.
Tears were in his eyes as patrons lined up to shake his hand. Mr. Westmoreland introduced him to 22-year-old girls and signed him up to perform comedy there in the future. (“I thought he was going to be an old, crusty scumbag,” he said later. “He was a total gentleman.”)
That weekend, there were more job offers for Mr. Goldstein. A friend in Florida said he’d take care of him if he promised “to turn to a world of spirituality,” and another guy said he’d pay him $100,000 a year to run his strip club in Liberty, N.Y.
But he decided to take the third offer, to work as a greeter at J&R Cigars on 45th Street, the middle ground between the world of God and the world of flesh, he said on Nov. 1.
“It’s the first day, I haven’t been fired yet-I love this job!” Mr. Goldstein said.
“They gave me cigars! I have the only job where I can smoke. Smokers are hated more than if you were a leper-if my fingers were falling off, I’d be treated as badly. They’re so civilized and nice here. And the best thing: In three months, if I don’t get fired, I get health insurance. This is a real job. I’m so excited, I mean, I feel the way some porno guy would feel working at a topless club.”
Did he have any “fuck you’s” left in him?
“The only ‘fuck you’ is to you for wasting my time,” he said as his co-workers laughed in the background. “Not buying me a meal and being basically a typical journalist-a useless parasite.”
“I don’t want to alarm anybody, but I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to say,” actor Johnny Depp told the crowd at the Actors’ Fund of America gala. “Hopefully I won’t pass out, vomit or soil myself. It’s been done before.” Fortunately-or perhaps unfortunately-Mr. Depp did nothing of the sort; however, he did pick up the Lee Strasberg Artistic Achievement Award, and raised a million dollars for the AFoA with the help of Whoopi Goldberg, Marty Richards, Bernadette Peters and other “nonorees” who crowded into Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom on the night of Saturday, Oct. 30. Mr. Depp, 41, had flown in from England, where he’s on location shooting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When The Transom asked the soft-spoken actor what he considered his greatest achievement, the father of two replied, “Being involved in the creation of my children.”
Fellow honoree Angela Lansbury took home a lifetime achievement award for her work in films like National Velvet and The Manchurian Candidate, plays like Sweeney Todd and Mame, and her long-running television series, Murder, She Wrote.
Mr. Depp drew laughs during his acceptance speech when he joked, “I’m admitting this for the first time in public, but when I did the film Sleepy Hollow a few years ago, Angela Lansbury was the main inspiration for my character of Ichabod Crane. So I thank her for that.”
Retired Motion Picture Association of America president Jack Valenti was on hand to present an award to J. Nicholas Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
He recalled one of his favorite stories from his tenure as head of the MPAA: “I wanted to let Russia see all the pictures that we had, and their government only wanted the pictures that made us look bad. For instance, they wanted Grapes of Wrath, which for years our State Department wouldn’t allow to be shown because it’s about poor people. Finally I said, ‘By God, I’ll raise a stink about this-let them have it!’ And we did; we showed it there. The USIA had Russians doing some exit polling, and what impressed the Russians was not that Americans were poor, but that the poorest Americans had a pickup truck!”
Back onstage, Mr. Depp was coming to grips with his reputation. Holding his bulky glass award, the actor told the crowd, “You know, for years I’ve been listening to people say that the choices I’ve made in my career are weird and bizarre and strange, and I’ve never understood what they were talking about … until I saw THAT!” Mr. Depp gestured to the video montage showcasing his life’s work. “And, yeah-apparently it is weird!”