Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Saturday, May 21, 2005

Pleasure of My Company to be a movie?

May,2004, Vol. 117 Issue 5, p8-9.


"I know I will never be perceived as a novelist," says actor and author Steve Martin. "If I wrote the greatest book in the world, I know I'll never be taken seriously." Yet, as if to counter his onscreen persona, Martin writes serious books, including Shopgirl and the recently released The Pleasure of My Company. "I'm not trying to be a novelist," Martin tells The Washington Post. "I'm only writing when I have something to say." Nevertheless, he notes, "I am an entertainer. I have a sense of audience. I want them to like it. I'm invested in the book."

Neither book was written with the intent of turning it into a movie, yet both are now being filmed--and Martin has written the screenplay for each. But he finds a special pleasure in writing fiction. When Martin's housekeeper and assistant leave and it's time to close the door and work on a novel, he thinks, "Oh, goody!"

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Steve's Mark Twain One-liner
12/05/2005 08:57

ROXANNE star STEVE MARTIN has been chosen to receive the eighth annual MARK TWAIN PRIZE for American Humour.

The 59-year-old comedian will receive his honour on 23 October (05) during a ceremony at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.

In a statement, Martin says, "I think Mark Twain is a great guy and I can't wait to meet him."

Past recipients of the award include LILY TOMLIN, WHOOPI GOLDBERG, RICHARD PRYOR and CARL REINER.

Steve to attend auction?

The New York Post
May 8, 2005 Sunday
All Editions; Pg. 19


The most anticipated painting on sale is Edward Hopper's "Chair Car," which depicts several people sitting in a train and is expected to sell for $15 million.

"People relate to this painting," said Cappellazzo. "It captures so clearly the metropolitan life and the relationship of anonymity and people in the city."

More than 800 people, including dedicated Hopper collector and comic movie star Steve Martin, are expected to show up to duke it out over the art.

If your art budget is a mere $10,000 or so, Christie's also plans to auction lesser-known works on Thursday.

Spamalot, Steve?

The New York Post
April 29, 2005 Friday
All Editions; Pg. 53
Michael Riedel

QUICK hits today from the theater world:

* "SPAMALOT": The very funny Hank Azaria is departing the hit Monty Python musical right after the Tony Awards in June to shoot "Huff," his Showtime series.

The departure was always in the cards, and Azaria will be back in the show in November for at least another six months. Meanwhile, the search is on for a replacement.

A host of comedians and funny actors has been in to see the show, including Jerry Seinfeld, Oliver Platt, Kevin Kline, Garry Shandling and Steve Martin.

But the favorite, at least according to backstage gossip, is Robin Williams, who's seen "Spamalot" several times.

A bit of Steve in La La Land

Chicago Sun-Times
May 4, 2005 Wednesday
FACE TIME Q&A with Martin Short
Bill Zwecker

Martin Short breezed through town the other day to talk about "Jiminy Glick in Lalawood," his totally improvised film (opening Friday) based on the bizarre celebrity interviewer he created -- best known from three seasons on his Comedy Central mockumentary show, "Prime Time Glick."

Q. You filmed at the Toronto Film Festival. How did celebrities react to you on the red carpet?

A.The stars were fine. It was their handlers who were actually funnier, saying things like, "Martin Short is here doing one of those characters of his. You don't have to stop if you don't want to. There's really nothing in it for you." That certainly shows how Hollywood works, doesn't it?

Q. What's Jiminy's appeal? He really can be kind of insulting to those huge Hollywood egos.

A. Jiminy is exceedingly complex. He's as endearing and huggable as a Teddy bear, and then he can turn into a maddening little viper -- all while asking the same question. I think he actually made Steve Martin nervous [during the interviews in the film]. Poor Kurt Russell needed Goldie [Hawn] to talk him into talking to me -- uh, I mean Jiminy!

Q. How much time in makeup to play Jiminy and David Lynch?

A. Ninety minutes for Jiminy, but nearly four hours for David. We gave the makeup and wardrobe people top billing in the credits -- for good reason!

Transcript on Disneyland opening

ABC News Transcripts
May 5, 2005 Thursday


I've been looking at some great facts about Disneyland. They get two million calls every year. The largest number of calls? To Mickey Mouse, of course. He doesn't talk, though. Lets go out to Robin Roberts who's in Town Square in Disneyland. Robin?


(Off Camera) Good little tidbit there, Charlie. Thank you very much. I'm here at Disneyland. And talking to the people here, they all have like their favorite memory. And it's amazing. It's like, it's like going back in time here. It's also like frozen in time. If you've been here at Disneyland, you know that this is the location of "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln." Well, President Lincoln is going to take the next 18 months off and in its place is "Disneyland, The First 50 Magical Years." Now, it is a movie that goes from the very beginning of Disneyland to today. And one of its stars, I think it will be surprising to you, somebody who used to work here at Disneyland, former cast member Steve Martin.


I was probably 15 when this picture was taken. And this was from the Fantasyland Magic Shop. And that's the little outfit not that they asked me to wear, but that I wanted to wear. So, it was a lot of fun working there. It was my first experience in show business.


(Voice Over) Today, Steve Martin stars with Donald Duck in a new movie and exhibit called, "Disneyland, The First 50 Magical Years," unearthing a treasure chest of Walt Disney's dreams. Models, sketches, clay sculptures before they became cartoon characters on public display for the first time.


For all who come to this happy place, welcome.


(Voice Over) In 1955, Disneyland was unveiled to America in a live TV broadcast.


And this is Frontier Land.


(Voice Over) The hosts included actor Ronald Reagan and TV personality Art Linkletter.


Frank Sinatra. Hello, Franko. Who's driving? Frankie, Jr.?


My son, yes.


It was so exciting. Before we opened, the painters were painting trees green because the trees had died, they hadn't been watered properly. And there wasn't enough food. And it was a hot day and there were, visitors were getting stuck on, the asphalt was soft.


(Voice Over) But after half a century and half a billion visitors, Sleeping Beauty Castle still stands, the symbol of Disneyland and theme parks around the world. Orlando, Paris, Tokyo, and this September, Hong Kong.


It's bringing the Disney culture and a little bit of the American culture to one billion people.


(Voice Over) Shanghai is reportedly being considered, too.


China, in general, is growing by leaps and bounds. So, it's possible one day there will be a Disneyland there and we're spending time analyzing it.



Although people know the Disney characters and know the Disney name in China, they don't really know the stories that go along with those characters. They know Pooh, but they don't know he lives in the 100 Acre Woods. So, we really have been working hard to help educate that market on Disney stories.


Exploring the future and the unknown ...


(Voice Over) Just as stars turned out for opening day in 1955, Hollywood returned to Anaheim yesterday to celebrate Disneyland's 50th.


If you think about it, it's going to be around for a very, very, very long time, hopefully, for generations to come. And I'm very happy to be part of it.


(Off Camera) And a little bit later here at Disneyland, we're going to take you to Walt Disney's apartment. He had an apartment here, a very exclusive look.


(Voice Over) Not many people have been inside.


(Off Camera) But when we come back, we're gonna go "Around the Watercooler" here at Disneyland. So, come on back to "Good Morning America." Want to go? Let's go -okay. Okay, who's going?

commercial break

On Steve's recent Disneyland movie

Copley News Service
May 15, 2005 Sunday
Disneyland rolls out the welcome mat for 'Homecoming'
Christine Huard, Copley News Service

The "Happiest Place On Earth" will be even happier as it celebrates five decades of magic during its "Happiest Homecoming On Earth," an 18-month-long bash to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the place where dreams come true - Disneyland.

Kicking off the global celebration - special events are planned at each theme park around the world, as well as for the Disney Cruise Line - was Mary Poppins herself, Julie Andrews, who hosted a star-studded ceremony May 5 in front of the beautifully updated Sleeping Beauty Castle. With "Welcome Home" as the theme, park guests will relive childhood memories and make new ones as they enjoy plenty of nostalgia along with brand-new attractions.

Carrying the golden-anniversary theme throughout the park, visitors will find that several of the original attractions have received a "Midas touch" - a golden vehicle on "Autopia," a golden tea cup on "Mad Tea Party," a golden boat on "Jungle Boat Cruise," just to name a few.

What else is new? From parades to pyrotechnics, the entertainment is bigger and better than ever. Sleeping Beauty Castle has been reborn in glittery new tones and turrets topped with sparkling crowns fit for a princess. An interactive ride allows guests to blast targets and score points. Space Mountain reopens after a complete overhaul that features brand-new special effects. A heartwarming film hosted by Steve Martin and Donald Duck showcases the park's first 50 years. And everyone's favorite sprite, Tinker Bell, gets an extra sprinkling of pixie dust to perform some new magic.


The landmark castle has undergone a remodel that has transformed it into a shimmering crown jewel. Dressed in swaths of golden fabric, decked out with regal banners and crowned with five bejeweled tiaras that highlight the castles most prominent spires, the majestic centerpiece also serves as a brilliant backdrop for the new "Remember ... Dreams Come True" fireworks show. Disney Imagineers even created its one-of-a-kind paint, which contains copper and prismatic glitter to give it a special sparkle.


Classic songs and iconic characters are the heart of this new daytime parade. The seven elaborate parade units act as stages for the more than 100 performers who don't just dance but do acrobatics as well.

Tinker Bell leads off the parade on the "Gateway to Dreams" float. Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts join other "Beauty And the Beast" characters in inviting everyone to "Be Our Guest" on the "Dream of Enchantment" float. Leaping "marionettes" come to life in Geppetto's workshop to the tune of "I've Got No Strings" on the "Dream of Laughter" float. On "Dream of Another World," Sebastian the Crab takes us under the sea to "The Little Mermaid's" kingdom, where Ariel waves from high atop her perch and the evil Ursula towers over the crowd. On "Dream of Imagination," the crew from "Alice In Wonderland" celebrate at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. "The Circle of Life" is celebrated atop Pride Rock while cast members representing the creatures of the Pride Lands join Rafiki in dance on "Dream of Adventure." And, finally, the Disney Princesses - along with their Princes - join the royally dressed Mickey and Minnie for a "happily ever after" on "Dreams Come True."

The 30-minute parade is performed twice daily and features three show stops along its route at Small World Mall, Central Plaza and Town Square.


The most elaborate fireworks show in Disneyland history, the 17-minute spectacular was developed by creative director Steven Davison. Along with a new musical score and familiar audio clips, the show tells the story of Disney's past with dramatic pyrotechnics - some of which were developed in China just for Disney - lasers and lights.

Davy Crockett lights up the sky, and a pirate battle rages overhead. The beloved Main Street Electrical Parade is remembered, and there are plenty of surprises to commemorate other favorite attractions.

And Tinker Bell gets a new flight path - she's now able to zip back and forth, and stop in the middle of the sky, though Davison is staying mum on just how she does that. Must be that pixie dust.


In Tomorrowland, park guests will go to "Infinity and beyond" on "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters," an interactive adventure in which riders become Space Rangers and help Buzz Lightyear defeat the evil Emperor Zurg by using laser guns to shoot targets and score points. Unique to this attraction is its virtual component - online players are paired with riders via Web cam. Players at home help increase the scores of riders by raising the value of targets along the way. Scores and a photo of riders are available at the end of ride, too.


After a two-year renovation, Space Mountain reopens July 15 featuring a whole new generation of special effects. Opened in 1975, the re-"Imagineered" ride now boasts a new rocket design, an onboard audio soundtrack and a lot of new technology that delivers even more "wow." But it's not so different that it's lost its original theme.

"Space Mountain will be the classic attraction that our guests know and love but better than anyone remembers it," says Matt Ouimet, president of Disneyland Resorts.

Ouimet promises a high-speed outer-space adventure that disorients and exhilarates like it did before - only better.


Talk about a magical match - Steve Martin, who as a teenager honed his talents at the Magic Shop on Main Street, hosts this film attraction that gives viewers a humorous overview of the park's history. It features photos of Martin in action as a youngster in the Magic Shop, and he also shows that his prestidigitation skills are as good as ever.

Using archival photographs, newly discovered film footage and familiar music, Martin and co-host Donald Duck present a heartwarming retrospective that features the park's very beginning - an orange grove - and journeys through five decades of moments everyone will recognize.

The attraction temporarily takes the place of "Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln" in the Main Street Opera House. Inside the Opera House is a detailed display of models, concept artwork, layouts and maps the show how Walt Disney turned a dream of place for parents and children to enjoy together into his first theme park.


Next door at Disney's California Adventure Park, a new street parade has been unveiled starring the Pixar Film Pals. Led by the Green Army Men from "Toy Story," this high-energy performance features dance music that will get everyone moving to the beat along with their favorite characters from "Toy Story," "Monsters, Inc.," "A Bug's Life" and "The Incredibles."

The fast-paced parade features young performers who dance, do acrobatics, run around on jumping stilts and zip by on electric scooters. Audience participation is encouraged, with guests being chosen from the crowd to take part in the fun.

More on "Steve's" House

The Herald (Glasgow)
May 16, 2005
NEWS; Pg. 9
A house with all mod cons . . . except weather;
Americans ask pounds-13.5m for Scots mansion after just one winter

COUNTRY PILE: An American buyer is being sought for Middleton Hall, which comes with its own helipad, lake, acres of ground, lodges, stables, and a cottage.

A MANSION has been put up for sale for more than pounds-13m because its owners do not like the Scottish weather.

Middleton Hall, just outside of Edinburgh, belongs to a reclusive Californian couple who bought it last year for pounds-2.25m.

William and Anne Carrington have spent millions of pounds on extensive refurbishments to the house. But after just one winter they have decided to sell the mansion in Borthwick, Midlothian, and move somewhere warmer.

The property includes an eight-bedroom country house, two lodges, converted stables and a cottage. It boasts its own helipad, lake, and a 113-acre garden.

The land is enclosed by a 10ft high, two-mile perimeter wall.

The owners have already had significant interest in the property.

Steve Martin, the American comedian, is understood to be interested in the house.

He has said he would like to buy a home in Scotland and his representative is understood to have contacted the estate agents handling the sale of Middleton Hall.

The A-listed neo-classical mansion was built in 1710 and is comprised of a central section and two symmetrical wings.

It has an oak-panelled reception hall with a gallery on the first floor, a library, formal dining room, aerobics room, billiards room, spa, sauna and cinema room.

Its garage has space for five cars.

The 70-acre lawn has been used by Runrig, the Scottish rock band, to rehearse for outdoor concerts, and has also been used as a training ground by the Scottish rugby team.

The house was once owned by the Scottish Office, which had hoped to convert it into a training school for prison officers.

The sale is being handled by Audree Mevellec, an estate agent based in Richardson, Texas.

A source said: "The owners are from California and they are selling up because they just don't like the weather. They have done a huge amount of work on the house, which is absolutely stunning.

"It is being marketed exclusively in the States because that's where the big money is for a property of this kind."

Locals said they knew little about the owners.

Anne Ruffel, postmistress in the neighbouring village of North Middleton, said no-one living nearby knew who the owners were. She said: "Vans of workmen come in and out of the house but we have no idea who owns it.

"They never come down to anything we put on at the village hall."

Jamie McNab, estate agent at FPD Savills, who sold the property to the Carringtons, said he believed the pounds-13.5m asking price for the property was realistic.

Mr McNab said: "Our office in Sloane Square in London has sold a house for pounds-60m, so I think there is a room to push prime Scottish values significantly higher.

"The price may be staggering for Scotland but it may not be for someone from America who may regard a house going for pounds-13m as cheap, " he added.

Steve's San Remo Apartment gets a book mention

The New York Post
May 17, 2005 Tuesday
All Editions; Pg. 14
Cindy Adams


STEVEN GAINES' last book "Philistines at the Hedgerow" peed on the Hamptons. Now he's back with "The Sky's the Limit: Passion and Property in Manhattan" about the billion dollar real estate on our tiny 12-mile island.

And he skewers everyone. Like apartment-shopping Warren Beatty who only asked if Robert Redford lived nearby. Like broker Alice Mason saying classy buildings don't like Jews and: "This is the way it works. One Jewish person on every co-op board vetoes all the other Jewish people." Like Steve Martin who combined two flats when marrying actress Victoria Tennant then separated them with a soundproof wall after a divorce.

At the party in Alex Kuczynski and Charles Stevenson's pitiful little $30 mil Park Avenue hovel-plus-terrace, Gaines said what's up with N.Y.C. realty:

"Manhattan, where you live represents who you are. Lower East Side, you're poor, you're pale, you smoke. Chelsea, you're gay. Central Park West, liberal. Park or Fifth is the Goldcoast, but young people flocking in don't care about Park or Fifth. They're creating their own status. They'll do TriBeCa or Wall Street where office buildings are now condos. Sutton Place is dead. Isolated. You can't get a cab.

"Real estate here is like Holland's 1850's tulip craze where people paid hundreds of thousands for one bulb. Desire has outpaced reality. In '76, I bought my West 11th townhouse for $62,500. Today it's multimillions. Prices can't keep going up and up. When the market soon freezes at whatever its high, it will remain that way for decades until we catch up to its worth."

Meanwhile, Little, Brown publishes this June 1. And if you have anything left over from your maintenance, it's $26.95.

Steve gets Mark Twain

thanks, kmt
Kennedy Center Taps Steve Martin For Mark Twain Prize
POSTED: 2:37 pm EDT May 10, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A wild and crazy guy has been named the recipient of this year's Mark Twain Prize for Humor.

Steve Martin, who played one of the "Wild and Crazy" Festrunk brothers opposite Dan Aykroyd on "Saturday Night Live," will be honored this fall at the Kennedy center in Washington.

Center Chairman Stephen Schwarzman said Martin's comedy has been a "joy for all Americans."

Beginning in stand-up comedy (he coined the phrase, "Well, excuuuuuse meeeee!"), Martin has gone on to make films ("The Jerk," "Roxanne" and "Cheaper by the Dozen"), written plays, novels and has hosted the Oscars.

Through it all, however, his quick wit seems to have remained intact.

"Mark Twain is a great guy and I can't wait to meet him," Martin joked.

Martin's fellow comedians will take part in his tribute, which will be held Oct. 23.

The event will be taped for broadcast on a later date.

Steve celebrates Mamet

thanks kmt
By LIZ SMITH, Page Six
Sun Apr 24, 3:29 AM ET


THE BRITISH invasion of Broadway is recessed, for the moment anyway. The buzzed-about revivals of the American classic plays "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Glass Menagerie" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" are all directed by Brits, but now the foulmouthed American salesmen of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" arrive on May 1 and are directed by our very own Joe Mantello. Yes, take back Broadway, Joe! Ironically, "Glengarry" began its career in the U.K., as it was first produced at London's National Theatre in 1983. . . . AND speaking of David Mamet, "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman hosts the Atlantic Theatre Company's 20th anniversary gala honoring founders Mamet and William H. Macy on May 2 at the gorgeous Rainbow Room. (Huffman is married to Mr. Macy.) Steve Martin, Julia Stiles, Bob Balaban, Patti LuPone an! d Jeffrey Tambor will toast the celebrated off-Broadway company that Mamet founded in 1985. Call (212) 691-5919, ext. 105. His world premiere hit comedy "Romance" finally ends its run at Atlantic on May 1.

thanks kmt
By LIZ SMITH, Page Six
Sun Apr 24, 3:29 AM ET


THE BRITISH invasion of Broadway is recessed, for the moment anyway. The buzzed-about revivals of the American classic plays "A Streetcar Named Desire," "The Glass Menagerie" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" are all directed by Brits, but now the foulmouthed American salesmen of David Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross" arrive on May 1 and are directed by our very own Joe Mantello. Yes, take back Broadway, Joe! Ironically, "Glengarry" began its career in the U.K., as it was first produced at London's National Theatre in 1983. . . . AND speaking of David Mamet, "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman hosts the Atlantic Theatre Company's 20th anniversary gala honoring founders Mamet and William H. Macy on May 2 at the gorgeous Rainbow Room. (Huffman is married to Mr. Macy.) Steve Martin, Julia Stiles, Bob Balaban, Patti LuPone an! d Jeffrey Tambor will toast the celebrated off-Broadway company that Mamet founded in 1985. Call (212) 691-5919, ext. 105. His world premiere hit comedy "Romance" finally ends its run at Atlantic on May 1.

Mark Twain Prize
Washington Post
Arts & Living
Martin to Receive Mark Twain Prize
By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 10, 2005; 3:24 PM

Steve Martin, the "wild and crazy guy" who has spread his comic skills throughout all areas of the performing arts, has been selected to receive this year's Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

The Kennedy Center, which has given the award for humor for the past eight years, said Martin embodies the American zest for versatility and funny, as well as biting, portrayals.

"The Kennedy Center is pleased to give Steve the Mark Twain Prize for an extraordinary career," said center chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman, who announced the award today. "His creations, be they on stage, on film or in a book, have created a collective memory of humor and joy for all Americans."

Martin issued a statement saying: "I think Mark Twain is a great guy and I can't wait to meet him."

Martin, 59, born in Waco, Tex., but raised in Southern California, started his career writing for television and soon won his first award -- an Emmy for his skits he created for "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour."

Martin made his first impression on American audiences through the late-night TV circuit. He has hosted "Saturday Night Live" so frequently that many viewers thought he was a member of the cast. He was not but he brought down the house in the 1970s with his "wild and crazy guy" routines and fully-costumed King Tut. He repeated this success on Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show."

He developed not only the physical interpretations -- with the lopsided shoulder walk -- but also a droll approach. When a close friend from childhood wrote a book about their early lives, Martin said, "Finally a book about me! I loved this book and fell deeply in love with the central character."

His film career started with a short called "The Absent-Minded Waiter," which was nominated for an Oscar. Then he teamed with Carl Reiner, a previous Twain winner, on "The Jerk," "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man With Two Brains" and "All of Me." In the later he played opposite Lily Tomlin, another Twain recipient, and won best actor awards from the New York Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review.

His hit comedy work includes "Parenthood," "Father of the Bride," "Father of the Bride Part II," "Cheaper by the Dozen" and "Bringing Down the House." This summer Martin ventures into the risky territory of recreating a role associated with a comic legend. He will play Inspector Clouseau in "The Pink Panther," made famous by Peter Sellers.

Martin has won Grammy Awards for two comedy albums and another Grammy for Best Country Instrumentalist; he played banjo in the Earl Scruggs video "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" He also sat in with B. B. King in his video of "In the Midnight Hour."

"The Jerk," he may or may not be. Martin has shown a substantial serious side in his two best-selling novellas, his Off-Broadway plays and his assembly of a remarkable art collection that includes Picasso, Hooper, O'Keeffe and deKooning.

The Twain award will be presented Oct. 23 at the Kennedy Center. Previous winners, in addition to Reiner and Tomlin, were Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart and Lorne Michaels.

The essence of comedy is notoriously illusive, but Martin once took a stab at defining it: "What is comedy? Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke."

Background on Steve

umm... is at it again
The Washington Times
Analysis: Renaissance Martin
By Pat Nason
UPI Hollywood Reporter

Los Angeles, CA, May. 12 (UPI) -- When the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts presents Steve Martin with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, it will be honoring one of the most prolific and versatile performers of the last four decades.

Kennedy Center Chairman Stephen A. Schwarzman said Martin's creations -- on stage, on film or in books -- have made "a collective memory of humor and joy for all Americans."

Schwarzman might also have mentioned that Martin is an accomplished banjo picker and magician.

Martin achieved stardom in the mid-'70s with appearances on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and memorable stints as guest host on "Saturday Night Live," but his professional experience dates to the 1960s -- when he entertained crowds at Disneyland. By the late '60s Martin joined the writing staff of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," which earned him an Emmy in 1969.

Martin subsequently received Emmy nominations as a writer on "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" and "Van Dyke and Company" and as the host of the 73rd Annual Academy Awards telecast. He has also won three Grammy Awards -- for the comedy albums "Let's Get Small" and "A Wild and Crazy Guy" and as part of an all-star lineup of musicians that included Earl Scruggs, Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Leon Russell on "Foggy Mountain Breakdown."

John McEuen, a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, was a classmate of Martin at Garden Grove High School in Orange County -- and the two were co-workers at Disneyland. McEuen told United Press International Martin already knew in high school how to get laughs.

"During the high school morning announcements he would often be on the P.A. system doing something funny a couple times a week," said McEuen. "He is the only cheerleader guy I ever heard of who did cheers in a ballet tutu."

In 1971 McEuen's brother, producer William E. McEuen -- who was by then managing the Dirt Band -- agreed to manage Martin's career.

"He made the deal for the record albums at a time when Steve was taken around to every record label in town and turned down," said McEuen. "Warner Bros. said yes, finally, and he proceeded over the course of his recording career to sell about 9 million albums."

Martin's single "King Tut" went gold, selling in the neighborhood of 1.5 million copies.

After featured roles in the late-'70s movie musicals "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "The Muppet Movie," Martin co-wrote and starred in "The Jerk," directed by Carl Reiner -- who received the Mark Twain prize in 2002.

"I can't wait to go to Washington (for the Oct. 23 Twain prize presentation) just to hear what's going to be said about him," said Reiner in an interview with United Press International.

Martin was on the program when Reiner received the prize, and Reiner recalls especially one of Martin's jokes from that night.

"I have a lot of wonderful things to say about Carl," said Martin onstage at the Kennedy Center, "but this is neither the time nor the place."

Martin has managed to specialize in that kind of cerebral humor as well as the goofy physical comedy featured in "The Jerk" and three other collaborations with Reiner -- "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," "The Man with Two Brains" and "All of Me." Reiner said it's the versatility that makes Martin interesting.

"He's a one-man band," said Reiner. "He does more things in comedy in different fields, and then when it's all over he can do you a card trick -- which a lot of great comedians can't -- and then he can juggle."

Reiner said the first time he met Martin, Martin was already writing comic essays.

"They were hysterically funny," he said. "The development was interesting to watch. It went from that to a book, 'Cruel Shoes,' to (a novella) 'Shopgirl,' to (Martin's latest book) 'The Pleasure of My Company' -- that was a really wonderful piece of literature."

Martin has also written the plays "Picasso at the Lapin Agile" and "The Underpants" and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Yorker.

The Twain prize is awarded specifically for outstanding achievement in humor, but its recipients -- Reiner, Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart, Lily Tomlin and "SNL" producer Lorne Michaels -- are generally thought of as comedians.

Comedy and humor may be two variations on the same form, but Reiner said there is a distinction.

"When I think of comedy, I think of the whole person doing something physical -- plus it could be a funny word happening at the same time," he said. "But humor is something that I think is gentler and it makes you smile. It's good humored. Comedy doesn't have to be good humored."

For Martin, the honor comes after years of plying perhaps the only trade that ever interested him.

"When he was my new friend," said McEuen, "and he was coming over the house after we finished work at Disneyland at midnight, my mother made the comment, how come that friend of yours Steve is always on? She wasn't sure she liked him because he always seemed to be acting something or doing something."

Martin will receive the Twain Prize in Oct. 23 ceremonies at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, to be videotaped for broadcast at a later date.

No word on what the new style is

thanks again, umm...
Army Archerd: Just for Variety
Posted: Wed., May 11, 2005, 10:00pm PT

'Empire' strikes
A glimpse at HBO's premiere party


[Fred]Schepisi is now involved in confabs with Steve Martin to film his "Picasso at the Lapine Agile" -- in a new style.

Steve is nesting again --- maybe

thanks to umm...
Edinburgh Evening News
Mon 16 May 2005
US star tipped to buy £13.5m Scots mansion

HOLLYWOOD star Steve Martin has been named as a potential buyer for Scotland’s most expensive private home.

The Father of the Bride actor is believed to be interested in shelling out £13.5 million for Middleton Hall, near Edinburgh.

The house comes equipped with a helicopter pad, ten-feet high perimeter wall and 70 acres of lawn.

Last year, William and Anne Carrington, a reclusive couple from California, bought the 18th-century mansion designed by Robert Adam, for £2.25m.

They are understood to have ploughed millions of pounds into the A-listed neo-classical 1710 property in Borthwick, Midlothian, which features an eight-bedroom country house, two lodges, a cottage, converted stables and a loch.

James Macnab, the estate agent with FPD Savills who sold the property to the Carringtons, said he did not believe that the £13.5m asking price was unrealistic.

He said: "The price may be staggering for Scotland but it may not be for someone from America who would regard a house going for £13.5m as cheap."
Saturday, May 14, 2005

New interview with Steve
Special Coverage>Media Culture

Famous Just Right

By Meghan Daum, The Believer. Posted May 13, 2005.

Steve Martin: "There's a moment when you're famous and it's unbearable to go out because you're too famous. And then there's a moment when you're famous just right."

Everyone who ever had a crush on Steve Martin developed an even bigger crush when he started writing for the New Yorker almost 10 years ago. His first piece, a satire of middlebrow art world pretensions in which the narrator claims to own a birdbath sculpted by Raphael, reminded us of what we already kind of knew: that Steve Martin is a serious person who conveys his seriousness by sending it up.

No matter how much recognition he receives as an art collector and patron--he recently donated $1 million to the American art collection at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.--and no matter how many times he appears in the New Yorker or at the 92nd Street Y or anywhere else that we don't expect superstar comedians to appear, his voice will always carry traces of Navin Johnson in The Jerk. Martin is nothing if not the embodiment of the fusion of high and low; a wacky, broadly comedic entertainer who cleans up astonishingly well. But unlike most of the affable, suburban characters he now tends to play (his upcoming turn as Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther notwithstanding), Martin seems coiled with ambition, focus, and an utter lack of goofiness.

Martin's screenplays for The Jerk, Roxanne, and L.A. Story led him to begin writing stage plays, which include The Underpants and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. In 1998, he published the humor collection Pure Drivel, which was followed in 2000 by a not-so-comic novella called Shopgirl (which is currently being made into a movie for a late 2005 release). A quiet, smoothly arced love story between Mirabelle, a young woman with a melancholic disposition, and Ray Porter, a mysteriously aloof older man, Shopgirl is like a tiny box of very dark chocolates, a meditation on loneliness and detachment that is simultaneously bleak and hopeful.

Martin upped his own thematic ante in the next novella. The Pleasure of My Company, published in 2003, is like a slightly larger chocolate box into which someone has slipped Quaaludes. Here he introduced us to Daniel Pecan Cambridge, a marginally functional eccentric living a highly regimented life in Santa Monica, Calif. Unable to drive a car or step over curbs, Daniel walks miles out of his way (always counting his steps) so that he may cross streets only where there are driveways. He secretly yearns for his social worker, Clarissa, as well as a pharmacist at his neighborhood Rite Aid named Zandy.

Steve Martin gave this interview at his home in Los Angeles. At one point, a bird flew through a window into his dining room and he spent several minutes trying to coax it out without frightening it. He also played "Sleigh Ride" on the banjo and apologized for messing up the tricky part.

--Meghan Daum

I. Depression is like the flu

Did you always think of yourself as a writer? It seems that being a comic actor is so rooted in sketch comedy, where there's a definite writing element.

Writing has a lot of definitions. I always thought that writing for my comedy act was writing. It was a very simple progression for me. When I was in high school and college, I loved poetry. And I was very moved by certain poems and certain sentences. And then I became a comedian and a comedy writer and that was a whole other form. After I'd done my comedy act during the late 70s, I started writing a screenplay for The Jerk. And that went on and I started writing more screenplays. I remember being in New York and seeing a comic play, and I thought, "I should be able to do that. I've written screenplays and I've performed live." So I started fooling around, writing my first play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile. The play had more, let's say, thoughtful passages. And those thoughtful passages encouraged me to be able to write. For example, in Pure Drivel there are a few stories that are more thoughtful, and I have these thoughtful sentences. And those few sentences encouraged me to be able to write Shopgirl.

Did it feel natural to you to write the more thoughtful sentences?

Once I got a little bit of confidence, yeah. Because you don't know if it's the corniest thing in the world until you put it out there in the world.

How dark would you consider your sensibility on a color scale with darkest on one side and lightest on the other?

Certainly not the light side. But I am a happy person. I don't know anymore. You go through periods of your life where you're skewed more dark and you're skewed more light. Right now, I'm sort of dead in the middle.

In Shopgirl the main character, Mirabelle, suffers from some form of clinical depression. Your description of what it's like to be in that state seems so accurate. Are you writing from firsthand experience?

I haven't been depressed in that way. I've been depressed situationally, but the information comes from talking. Well, it comes first from experiencing temporary depression. But it's also from talking to people who have experienced it. I knew a girl who was depressed and I asked her what it was like. She said, "The closest thing I can compare it to is having the flu." And I thought, "Oh, I can kind of understand that." You don't want to get out of bed, you don't want to do anything. She made it a real concrete thing rather than, "Oh, I feel this or I feel that."

Both Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company are pretty dark. Did that tone emerge as your natural voice?

I guess it's my natural voice when I'm writing prose. I believe both books end confidently for the characters. In fact, there were a few critics of Shopgirl who asked, "Why did she meet somebody else after her relationship with Ray ended?" Usually those criticisms came from Germany. At the time, I thought that having her not meet someone else would have been a lie, because in life, you bounce off relationships and time goes by and you do meet someone new. So it would have been a dark cheat to not have her revive herself.

But it seems like in both books, you're presenting a philosophy of relationships wherein they're very fluid. The message is that they're inevitably fleeting, which strikes me as a pretty antiromantic stance.

Well, I don't know how to answer that. Because, first, so what? But, two, in Shopgirl there's an implication that their [Mirabelle and Jeremy's] relationship is going to go on. And in The Pleasure of My Company, there's an implication that his relationship with Zandy is going to go on.

I guess what I mean is in both cases you seem to be suggesting that the purpose of a relationship is to make us more of what we need to become in order to have the next relationship. They're building blocks.

There's a similarity in both stories that I never recognized. They're about relationships that prepare and lead you into another, where the neurotic elements of the previous relationship are fixed.

Do you believe that personally?

Yeah. But I don't mean like it's a perfect match. Or that you meet one person and then the next one is perfect. Sometimes it takes ten people. I have friends who've been married for thirty years and they're in love.

Do you think it's a matter of chance or is there something about an individual's brain chemistry that hard-wires him or her to need a certain number of relationships before finding a good match?

I think some people are just set up to go, "Hey, I love you and here we are and we're together and it's great." I do think that. And it probably gets less fixed as you move toward the big cities. In a big city, you're being introduced to new things all the time. In small towns, you meet who you meet. In a small town, there may be eight appropriate people.

II. Every mental aberration is unique

It seems like a lot of the essays, the ones in the New Yorker and Pure Drivel, were influenced by Woody Allen's early short stories, like "The Whore of Mensa" and "The Kugelmass Episode."

Well, they're really more influenced by--see the book right there? [He points to a small book, My Brother Was an Only Child, on the coffee table.] That's by Jack Douglas. I just bought it on eBay about a month ago because that was a book I read when I was like eighteen or nineteen. You open it up and all the pieces are like a page or two. I wanted to reread it. He was a comedy writer.

It looks a lot like [your 1977 humor book] Cruel Shoes.

It is.

I read that over the weekend. That's a really weird book.

It is. It's really weird. The publisher asked me if I wanted to reissue it and I said no.

It was number one on the New York Times bestseller list, but it's just so weird. It's surreal, quite literally. How did people react to it when it was first published?

I think younger people really adored it. Beyond that, I have no idea. I think it was a celebrity-driven purchase. It was stuff I wrote in college. And back then, somebody was looking to publish a book and I was like, "Oh, okay." It wasn't my main interest. I kind of just pieced these things in, put them together.

Was Pure Drivel in some ways an attempt to build upon or transcend Cruel Shoes?

No, Pure Drivel was a collection of essays for the New Yorker. And I wrote some other pieces for it that weren't in the New Yorker and that's what that was. It was not an effort like Shopgirl or The Pleasure of My Company. Let's put it that way. I worked very hard on the novellas, I really did. And I had an editor who came out here and we worked and worked and worked and rewrote even from the New Yorker.

In The Pleasure of My Company, the narrator, Daniel Pecan Cambridge, is something of an eccentric, to put it mildly. But he also exhibits signs of mental illness, most notably obsessive-compulsion. What exactly is his diagnosis?

I would not call it obsessive-compulsive. I think that many people who behave in an odd way are doing it by choice. And that's what I was trying to say about that character, that he knew what he was doing. He was kind of like an alcoholic in that he was thinking, "I could stop at any time." But he couldn't. I felt that if I were sick, it would be like this. So I was making it up. Every little mental aberration and every personality is unique. So I felt I was really on the right track creating an honest ill person rather than studying symptoms in a book.

But his pathology seems kind of difficult to nail down. Were there things you knew about him that you weren't disclosing?

I don't totally believe in the very specific back-story. It never really helped me as a writer. I don't think it helps in movies either. They're always talking about backstory, backstory, backstory and you can't express it unless it's completely boring exposition.

You showed the same resistance to backstory in Shopgirl. I felt that you knew more about Ray Porter than you were giving up. I wondered what his job was, what his marriage had been like.

I always find that stuff boring. There's enough in the book that suggested he'd made money writing computer code. He's like a minor multimillionaire from Seattle. He said, "I wrote a piece of code that they just can't seem to do without." He was a symbolic logician. That was his career and he probably did it when he was twenty or twenty-two, I'm guessing. You're asking me stuff I don't know, really, but it was in the back of my head. He made a lot of money and has a steady income stream.

How fucked up is Ray Porter?

I don't think he's fucked up. In fact, I wanted this story to be about three people who are actually quite nice. And yet in spite of that, they're still paying, even though everyone's trying to do their best in a way. The way it's written, first you explore Mirabelle and then you explore Jeremy and then you explore Ray Porter. They start interacting but there are chapters dedicated to who they are, especially Ray Porter. I absolutely knew what to say about Mirabelle. But when I got to Ray Porter, it was much harder. Being a man myself, I didn't know what was interesting. I knew what was interesting about being a woman. But being a man, I was like, "Is that common knowledge?"

When you say, "what's interesting about being a woman," do you mean what's interesting to a man?


But it doesn't seem voyeuristic.

About Mirabelle? No, no. It's hard to explain, because all that information comes from observing and knowing. When some information is revealed about somebody, what peaks your interest? What do you remember? Because there isn't a specific character that Ray Porter is based on.

So he isn't based on you?

Well, some of it, absolutely. You can't help that. But also from talking to men and listening and listening and listening. I just didn't know what to reveal, what to say about him.

Were you trying to prevent people from thinking he was you?

It's sort of the author's right not to reveal how much of a character is him. Because who knows? But I was definitely trying to work something out.

III. How many steps does it take to get to the Rite Aid?

You're a movie star. How are you able to write about regular people with regular problems?

Well, half my life I've been a celebrity and half I wasn't. I do have knowledge of what it means to live on a dime.

You have an aura about you that makes you seem more normal than many celebrities. Somehow you've managed to live a fairly normal life.

I don't know. I made two decisions that I suddenly recall for no reason. One was, when I was like eighteen and had a car, I said, "I'm never not going to go anywhere because of the price of gas." And the other thing I remember thinking, when I was starting to become famous, was, "I am never not going to go anywhere because I'm famous." Although I do choose not to go some places because I'm famous. But I travel alone. I don't have an entourage. I don't want that.

I guess that makes your life easier.

It's really easier. You know, there's a moment when you're famous when it's unbearable to go out because you're too famous. And then there's a moment when you're famous just right. [Laughs] And then there's kind of a respect or distance or something, but you have a little bit more grease.

When did the "just right" occur for you?

I would say mid-eighties. There's a kind of heat fever that just dissipates. You're not someone who's constantly being followed.

Where can't you go?

It's not where I can't, it's where I don't want to.

In The Pleasure of my Company, Daniel, the narrator, knew exactly how may steps it took to get to the Rite Aid. Does that come from personal experience, or did you just take a lucky guess?

I abbreviated the distance in my head. The actual street I mentioned is not the street in my head. The apartments I needed to imagine a different way. I didn't do any research. I picked the Rite Aid because I've been to the Rite Aid and I know exactly what's inside. I picked places I'm familiar with to write about. Except the Texas thing. I was born in Texas so I have a vague memory of it. But I did research the kind of trees you'd find there and what a pecan tree would look like and would they overhang or erode and did they create shade.

In Shopgirl, the description of Mirabelle's apartment in [the Los Angeles neighborhood of] Silverlake, with the parking space she can barely maneuver her car into, is so dead-on. Did you make that up?

That book is based half on fact, half on fiction. No, I should say a third is fact, a third is fiction and a third is based on talking to people throughout my life.

Have you been in an apartment like that?

Yeah. In fact, I just saw the movie of Shopgirl, which is done, finally. And the director [Anand Tucker] did a great job of picking that location. I mean, I know that when certain young men and women see the movie, they're gonna go, "That's my apartment." It's where we all were at one time.

IV. Critics and comedy

Shopgirl is written in the third person, but it seems like it could have been in the first person, from Mirabelle's point of view. It's very much in her head.

Being my first book, I thought it would be much easier to write in the third person.

Smart man. Many first time novelists make the opposite mistake.

I didn't know if I had enough words. I needed to be in everyone's head. I didn't know if it would be long enough otherwise.

But it is mostly in her head.

I wanted to be able to make observations, though. There's very little dialogue in the book and I enjoyed writing the observations about the characters.

That's why it feels essayistic to me. I really like that you step back from the story and discuss the characters at length.

I enjoy that form. It's almost like the couplet at the end of a sonnet. You know, where there's like a little bit of a summary. You've said all these things and there's a winding up. You become slightly philosophical at a certain moment.

How long did it take you to finish Shopgirl?

A little over a year because I started it and stopped in disappointment. And then I picked it up again and liked it and kept going. I had gotten some negative feedback from someone I shouldn't have allowed to read it, because I was very nervous, you know. It was essentially my first prose work, and I was afraid of making a fool of myself.

Did you rewrite the initial part that had received the negative feedback?


So that person was wrong.

I believe they were.

Given that the novellas aren't overtly comedic, were you worried about how they'd be received?

I was very nervous about Shopgirl being destroyed. I was very, very nervous about that.

Was there a certain review that made you able to relax?

Yeah, reviews started to come in that were good. Reviews for someone like me come in three packages. One is justifiable praise, the second is justifiable criticism, and the third is, "This is only published because he's a celebrity."

Does that hurt?

No, not at all. To those reviews, I'd say, "No it wasn't." I'm looking at my own work and that's not the reason it was published. I mean, it might be 10 percent. But that's a different issue from whether it's any good or not.

What if a critic trashes something that is really close to you?

It depends on the nature of it. You know where you missed and you know where you hit. So if a review comes out and it criticizes where you missed, all you can say, "Yeah, I know I did." I think the biggest frustration about reviews is when they criticize your best bit. And then you go, "What the--?" I remember when I was a comedian, I'd get a bad review and they'd always fail to say that the audience was dying laughing.

Do you think the culture's sense of humor has changed? Do you find that people have a hard time understanding satire, of realizing that something is supposed to be a joke?

I haven't noticed it. But, for example, I just wrote a piece for the New Yorker called "Osama Begs Off the Flight." It's a dialogue between Osama and a group of his terrorists. He's explaining the plan and one of the guys asks, "When will we meet you there?" And Osama says, "Well, I will come later." Do you understand what I'm talking about? "I'm sure I'll be there, but I have some stuff to do first. If I'm not there--"

"I'll meet you at the gate."

Yeah, right. "If you don't see me at the gate, that means I'm already on the plane." Now, to me that's really about cowardice. But I know that someone, if it runs, will say, "How dare you?"

Do you think that problem would have come up in, say, the 1970s, if you were joking about something taboo?

It probably would have if you made a joke about the Kennedy assassination or something. But you're right, everybody does seem to be... Well, the thing is, these days everyone has a voice.

It's because of the Internet. Everyone can post their own opinions.

I was talking to a friend of mine--we love to talk about this stuff--and I said, "I think the world changed when the news media, during a big event, would turn to a bystander and ask him what he thought." I remember watching a news report once after someone was killed, and they asked a six-year-old how she felt. Suddenly the voice of the irrelevant party has equal importance to the relevant party.

V. Something to discuss

How do you manage your time? You seem amazingly productive.

I don't really manage my time. I really just wait until I'm inspired to do something. And when I'm inspired to do something, it just happens. I know it seems like a lot, but, you know, a movie takes three months, right? And during that time you're sitting in your trailer a lot. So I'll learn a song on the banjo or maybe I'll write an essay if it comes up. But only if it comes up.

You can do that in the trailer? You don't need the whole day in front of you to write something?

No. For example, when I wrote that piece on Johnny Carson [that appeared in the New York Times shortly after his death], I was sitting there playing Internet poker. There's a stupor where you're thinking and thinking and thinking and then suddenly you switch over to Microsoft Word and you start writing it down. You get into it or you don't.

How long does it take you to write one of those essays? Do you agonize over it? Are you tortured over writing, in general?

No, because I do have one luxury, which is that I don't earn my living from writing. So I can afford to wait, even emotionally, until a really good or impassioned idea comes along.

I never thought of the money factor having anything to do with the torture factor.

But I wait until it's actually a joy to write it.

For a lot of writers, that would be never.

If it's something that becomes torture, then I put it down.

But there are moments in Shopgirl, and even more so in The Pleasure of My Company, where there's really blood on the page.

But that's a pleasure. To me, torture would be, "I can't think what to write in the next sentence. I'm stuck." Torture would be if you didn't have the next idea.

When you were writing these novels, did you say to yourself, "I'm going to get up and do this a certain number of hours a day?"

No. My process is, I get inspired to write the first couple of sentences and I just keep going with it. I try to think about where the next bit is before I stop. Then I'll stop at a natural place, either because I'm tired or because I get distracted. And then the days go by and I know that my mind is like churning and churning and churning and churning, and then I'll go back and it comes out freely. I don't mind waiting until it does come out freely.

Do you feel guilty while you're waiting?

No, because I believe when I'm not writing--and when all of us aren't writing--we're thinking.

What if it goes on for years?

Well, I think that there can be a moment where the writer becomes confident. It may take 15 years, or it may never come, but I think that's what that block is about. The other thing is, as life goes on, you have more to say. I remember once David Geffen said to me--this was after I'd done my stand-up act and I'd quit--he said, "You should go back on the road, you should do your stand-up again." And I said, "David, I don't have anything to say." You've got to have something to say. And by "something to say," you might not even know what it is. You just know it's in there, trying to get out. I guess I should clarify. It's not necessarily "something to say" but "something to discuss." "Something to say" is a myth. That's like an aphorism.

I always think of it as "something to suggest."

Right. Or a topic or an area that's sparking you.

How do you know when it's funny? Are you confident about that?

No. In a movie, you don't know. You might think you know, but sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. I'd say you're right like 50 percent of the time. And things you don't think were funny were hugely funny. An audience changes everything. In a book, I don't know. There are passages in The Pleasure of My Company that I thought were really funny, and then not one person has mentioned them as being funny.

What section are you thinking of?

The moment where he goes jogging and the next day he's so sore he can't even move. So he gets some Mentholatum and rubs it on his thighs, and then they osmose on to his testicles. He says something like, "You can't wash it off. The more soap and water you put on it, the more it burns." [Laughs] I thought it was going to be really, really funny. But no one really, uh, has really ever mentioned it.

Meghan Daum is the author of the essay collection "My Misspent Youth" and the novel "The Quality of Life Report." Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, Vogue, and the Los Angeles Times.

UPDATE: Another site for this article (and probably the original one) is:

A personal note

lately, i have been behind on posting here. i'm going to catch up, so you may get a flurry of things you've already seen. but part of the purpose of this blog is to archive information, so please bear with me.

also, several people are very diligent in sending me tips on where new articles are. especially active are KMT and ummm... . i try to always give credit, but sometimes i forget. so let me thank you publicly now for your contribution and hope you'll keep on keeping on.

finally, the site will continue because three people in particular were very generous in donating to help with the hosting costs. thank you so much.

Powered by Blogger