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Gary Baum

Senior Writer

More from Gary Baum

The Many Lives and Dying Words of Aesop Aquarian

When Aesop Aquarian returned from acting class to discover an acquaintance dead of a gunshot wound in his spare room, he let it go. Perhaps it had been a game of Russian roulette, or a suicide. At least these were the theories offered to him by his new Venice Beach housemates, members of what the […]

‘Rust’ Rallied Hollywood, But Has Spurred Limited Action So Far

More than eight months after the Rust tragedy put a spotlight on gun safety on set — especially at the lower-budget level — there’s increased awareness, but real change has been limited and halting. What modest shifts are detectable appear to be propelled by the newfound liability concerns of business affairs departments at the studio level. And […]

The Cheech Marin Center Opens in Riverside, California Spotlighting Chicano Art

Cheech Marin — who gained lasting fame as half of the pioneering stoner-comedy duo Cheech & Chong starting in the ’70s before making his own way acting in film and television — thought it was kismet. He had just learned that the “beautiful midcentury building” he’d been offered to house his leading collection of art […]

Los Angeles Mayor Race: Karen Bass and Rick Caruso Will Face Off In General Election

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) and billionaire local developer Rick Caruso are headed to a November run-off election for the Los Angeles mayoralty after the Associated Press called the race on Tuesday night. The top vote-getters in the open primary go on to face each other in the general election in November. Their candidacies — […]

Post-Dramatic Stress: Ex-Students Decry Nightmare Acting Coach

The students thunderously applaud — an ovation of rapture, beaming smiles on eager faces. At last their acting teacher has arrived. For years, Gloria Gifford, 75, has been relied on to keep the faithful waiting at her conservatory. How long? Maybe 30 minutes. Perhaps an hour, even two. Pre-pandemic, she choreographed each day’s grand entrance […]

Unhoused Sweeps Become Flashpoint for Film Shoots in Los Angeles

“Stop the sweeps! Stop the sweeps! Stop the sweeps!” On March 17, a group of protesters chanted at downtown L.A.’s James K. Hahn City Hall East complex, holding handwritten signs reading “Stop War on the Poor” and “Encampment Eviction Kills.” Then a director called cut on this scene from Freeform’s drama Good Trouble, about 20-somethings […]

‘I’ll Have What She’s Having’ Exhibit Charts Jewish Deli’s Cultural Influence

The idea for I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Jewish Deli, which opens April 14 at L.A.’s Skirball Cultural Center, was fittingly hatched by its curators over lunch at Langer’s, which serves what the late Nora Ephron described in The New Yorker as “the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world.” The exhibit is an […]

Jay-Z’s Oscar Gold Party Picketed by Labor Union Outside Chateau Marmont

Protestors picketing Jay-Z’s Gold Party on Sunday evening, March 27, warmed up by having a party of their own. They erected a step-and-repeat at the end of the Chateau Marmont’s driveway, projected a logo reading “Boycott” in massive blade lettering across the hotel’s exterior, strung lights along Marmont Lane, donned glow sticks, led raucous chants […]

Black Clergy Leaders Urge Jay-Z to Move Chateau Oscar Party Amid Hotel Boycott

Black clergy leaders joined veteran Chateau Marmont workers on Friday morning at a press conference held outside Roc Nation’s Hollywood office to urge its founder Jay-Z to reconsider his plan to host his exclusive Gold Party, the most coveted Oscar night invite, on the grounds of the legendary Sunset Strip hotel. L.A. hospitality union UNITE […]

Jay-Z Oscar Party Draws Criticism for Flouting Chateau Marmont Boycott

Pre-pandemic, Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Oscars afterparty in the Chateau Marmont’s parking garage had become the most coveted invite of the big night. Revelers at the 2020 event, known as the Gold Party, which features a no-phones policy, included Rihanna, Reese Witherspoon, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Travis Scott, Gabrielle Union and Charlize Theron. Now, after a […]

Hollywood Military Advisor Supplies Gear for Ukraine War Effort, Urges Solidarity: “I Know What the Studios Have”

Former Marine Jon Barton has a new mission. The seasoned technical advisor for Hollywood productions (JAG, NCIS) and celebrities — including Tom Cruise, Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth — has been coordinating shipments of military gear to aid Ukraine’s resistance to Vladimir Putin’s Russian invasion. The Iraq War veteran briefly considered volunteering for the International […]

How the Academy Museum’s Jewish Exclusion Became Exhibit A

Producer John Goldwyn turned down his invite to the September 2021 opening gala for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The grandson of Samuel Goldwyn — an industry founding father whose executive endeavors a century ago led to the formation of both Paramount and MGM — had been astonished to learn, before the institution’s debut, that […]