On Sunday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present its awards for the year’s “best” cinematic achievements. The Academy Awards is a celebration of success. It’s well worth remembering that for most who live in Hollywood, such success is elusive, and the Academy Awards ceremony offers a distorted view of life in the shadow of the dream factory. The following expose is an unflinching and thought-provoking look at the all-too typical of the experiences of Hollywood denizens.
In a rundown bachelor apartment in Hollywood, there lives a dream. A dream denied and battered, scraping by on memories of might-have-been, at that cold intersection of Loneliness and Possibility, but actually closer to Yucca and Las Palmas, literally speaking. For $750 a month, one man who is the living embodiment of Hollywood watches from his window as the traffic, which is a metaphor for the world at large, passes by.
“They’re heading to Chateau Marmont,” he says, knowingly. His voice is gravelly, with the age that comes from wisdom, of having seen and experienced much in pursuit of that elusive dream of Hollywood fulfillment.
I ask him how he knows this, and he replies, “Because it’s where I’d go, if I had any hope.”
His name is Heiney Spitstarsky, I think. That is what it sounds like he calls himself. He becomes severely agitated when asked to repeat himself. 40 minutes before, I first met Mr. Spitstarsky at a Laundromat on Cahuenga. I was doing a load of whites; hot wash, cold rinse. Mr. Spitstarksy came in wearing a shabby LA Dodgers baseball cap (just what is he “dodging”? certainly not life, that’s for certain) a stained polo shirt with a Ralphs logo, tattered jeans and sneakers that were at least five years old, and worn through in places, leaving visible the leathery skin of his feet.
As he approached me, his pungent odor announced him, and I took my eyes from the book I was reading. The Day of the Locust, if you must know.
Mr. Spitstarsky claims to have worked on the classic film "A Thimbleful of Prune Juice," which features Burt Reynolds, William Shatner, Pam Grier, and Jo Anne Worley. Go figure.
Anyway, the whole piece can be read here.