Frank Owen’s Article on Chris Paciello Reveals All, Q& A With Owen Inside

How does that song go? I can never get it right: "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind…" Something like that. I can’t seem to get away from old acquaintances and the weird thing is, I can’t remember why I should want to never bring them to mind… but something tells me I should. The Limelight movie now out on DVD has made me a movie star. I am recognized in restaurants and get a few Facebook shout-outs a day because of it. A couple of days ago, old acquaintance Frank Owen alerted me to an article in the Miami New Times he wrote about my old acquaintance Chris Paciello . When Chris got out of prison, he had a good run out in LA, did something or other in Vegas, and is now bringing all the celebs and beach beauties to the bar at the restaurant Bianca at the Delano South Beach. I haven’t talked to him in years, but remember we were on good terms last time we met. I always liked him even though it has been reported we had some beef.

There was a time when he reportedly wanted some guys to beat me up, but even then I understood his side of it. I wanted his partner Ingrid Casares to open up Studio 54 with me and not him, and the compensation I offered him wasn’t sufficient to justify my approaching her. I knew the playground I was playing in and I knew the rules and the resulting confrontation wasn’t a surprise. We talked it out a few months later and that’s that. I read Frank’s story, which is amazingly detailed. It paints a not-too-flattering picture of Chris in straight-up black and white…mostly black. Somewhere near the end, a Delano publicist offers this spin from Chris: “I regret the mistakes I made in the past. I am working hard to make a positive impact and to build a new life for myself in Miami. I am grateful to the many people here who have welcomed me back with open arms, and look forward to a positive future.”
 
I think I said the same thing once or even thrice. Chris and I have learned from our past mistakes; mine was mostly hanging around people like those "co-starring" with me in that Limelight documentary and people like Chris. Hey, I used to be 3-foot-6… but I grew out of it. No one understands the club world of that era except some of the players who created it and wallowed in it. Even then, they only have their own perspective. It was big, there was a lot going on. The Limelight movie can try to summarize 10,000 nights, millions of partying people, and the actions of differently motivated players but it can’t possibly bring you there and into the minds of the players, the whys, and what for’s in a couple of hours.
 
Frank’s article takes it farther than before. It paints a picture of the forces I was dealing with when I was director of some famous clubs back in the day. In a game of musical chairs, I got left without one and did my piece. I stood up mostly because back then, when pressed hard, I chose to stand up rather than sit in a chair I would feel … "uncomfortable" in. Do I have regrets? Yeah, I have a few. If Chris can run joints after murder and other such bad play, I guess I could have done some things I was denied if I had decided to tell a few lies. "You don’t rat against people," I was told growing up and during the ordeal. "When you become a rat, it’s your very soul that you are ratting on"…goes the mantra that I agreed with at that time and now. I didn’t, others did. For now, like Mr. Paciello, "I am grateful to the many people here who have welcomed me back with open arms, and look forward to a positive future.”
 
Frank Owen was running off to give the keynote address at a criminology conference in Missouri in the morning. I asked him what was new in his Killer Comeback story, and this is what he said. I then followed up with a little Q & A.
 
Frank Owen – Here are some of the never-before-revealed highlights:
 
*A 1997 plot involving Paciello and Colombo crime family boss Alphonse Persico to murder a dissident mafioso.
 
*Another murder plot, this one to kill Paciello, which was nixed by Bonanno captain Anthony Graziano.
 
*A 1994 kidnapping of a Staten Island businessman from an auto body repair shop by Paciello and a Bonanno family soldier.
 
*A million dollar robbery of a Westminster Bank in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn that provided the start-up capitol for Paciello’s first Miami Beach nightclub.
 
*The burglary of more than 30 bank night safety boxes in four different states by Paciello in alliance with members of a Bonanno-affiliated gang called the New Springville Boys."
 
 Why do you keep digging into this story?
I didn’t. I haven’t written a major clubland investigative story since I Ieft the Village Voice. Actually, Lera was the one who rekindled my interest in Paciello. She became friendly with a Lord Michael associate and I reunited with Lord Michael after not speaking to him for well over a decade. Plus, there was the Limelight documentary, of course, which brought back a lot of old memories.
 
What has been your personal relationship with Chris? How has he reacted in the past to your articles/book and how do you think he will react, if at all, to these incredible new disclosures?
I don’t have a personal relationship with Chris. I know his brother, Keith, just de-friended me on Facebook because of the story. Keith is a good guy. He’s twice the man his brother is. Over the years, I’ve contacted Chris a number of times but he’s always refused to be interviewed.
 
How does he get away with it after all is said and done? How does he still operate?
I don’t know. In LA, after he was released from prison, he got involved in two major nightclub brawls and was arrested for felony assault and assault with a deadly weapon while he was on parole. For most parolees, that would mean being sent back to prison – not for Chris. A couple of LA defense lawyers I talked to firmly believe that Chris is still working for the FBI.
 
Why is the city of Miami in love with him? What does he represent?
He represents South Beach when it was really happening — the fabulous ’90s, when South Beach became a beacon of international glamor. People down here miss those times. A friend of mine said: "What is wrong with people in South Beach? They think this guy is God." They do. As Paciello’s friend Michael Capponi once told me: "Party people will forgive anything for a good time." Especially in South Beach, the Land of the Lotus-Eaters.

Support ‘Out In The Night,’ A Documentary About the New Jersey Four

There will be an awful lot of talk about Kickstarter over the next few days, and probably it will be about already comfortable, successful people raising funds for new projects, which tends to be the common theme for talking about crowd-funding now. You’ll probably read a lot of thinkpieces about Zach Braff and Amanda Palmer and the people doing the new Veronica Mars movie and what does it all mean for how we back movies. But for all of Kickstarter’s flaws and all of the things that need to be said about it, there are actually still important projects being made and showcased on it by people with vital stories to tell and without big established followings, and this is one of them. 

Out in the Night is a documentary by filmmaker blair doroshwalther that tells the story of the “New Jersey Four,” a group of young African-American lesbian friends from Newark who, after a night out in the West Village in New York, were harassed and threatened by a man on the street. They defended themselves, with both parties suffering injuries and the man who had provoked the group ended up in the hospital. The women were met with arrest, jail time and a media that demonized them, calling them a “Wolfpack” and “Gang of Killer Lesbians.”  Director doroshwalther says the documentary unpacks a series of complex conversations about race, gender, gender identity and questions like “What does a victim look like? And who is allowed to defend themselves?”

As the Out in the Night team writes on their Kickstarter page:

“This is not an easy story to tell. The women defended themselves, forcefully. But by showing the events of that August night, you will make up your minds about what happened. For four years, our team has filmed important pieces of this story carefully and intimately that will allow you to understand how race, class, gender and sexuality came to bare upon this case. While we unpack the fight itself, we are most interested in revealing what happened after – including the trial that reveals the court’s skepticism around self-defense, and the mainstream media’s biased coverage.”

The film is only a few thousand dollars away from its fundraising goal of $23,700, funds being used to work with an editor, rent an editing space, create key motion graphics and finish some archival research, as well as an original score. To learn more about the project, watch the video below.

Backstreet Boys Are ‘Larger Than Life’ on Screen in Upcoming Documentary

Can you tell? Can you tell how much of a stretch it was not to use "Backstreet’s back, all right!" in the headline like everyone else and their mother has about any time the Backstreet Boys make any sort of return to relevancy or at least attempt it? It’s almost a shame, because by releasing that track, they’ve doomed themselves to the same exact headline every time they make a resurgence. At least it’s catchy? At least it’s maybe a good branding move? But, like, they had at least another dozen singles. Surely there’s a serviceable pun in there somewhere. 

Anyway, right on the heels of the announcement of the latest #Rememberthe90s explosion tour, where NKOTBSB is extending this summer to include solo, indivdual sets from headliners New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men, comes the news that the Boys, not to be outdone by One Direction, have agreed to a tell-all documentary. Morgan Spurlock is not directing, but Stephen Kijak, who has previously made docs about Scott Walker and The Rolling Stones, is, and Pulse Films, the company that made Katy Perry’s Part of Me 3D, will back the project. 

As the Boys said in a statement, all five original members have agreed to be a part of it: 

"We always wanted to make a film and now is the ideal time. With Kevin back, the fact that we are masters of our own destiny, a new album in the works and our 20th anniversary — it all adds up to being the right time to share our story."

Since there isn’t a trailer for this bad boy yet, let us revisit one the group’s most underrated classics, "The Call." 

‘The L Word’ May Return On Showtime As A Documentary

Fans of The L Word and The Real L Word, rejoice: Showtime is now considering a L Word-style documentary.

The L Word lasted six seaons, from 2004 until 2009, and The Real L Word: Los Angeles, a much-criticized reality TV knockoff, was on the air from 2009 until 2012.  As quoted by the Hollywood Reporter, the Television Critics Association press tour yesterday, Showtime’s president of entertainment said the channel is still invested in "exploring L Word culture — lesbian culture in places not New York, L.A. — where the subculture is not so defined and it’s not so easy. I think we’re likely to make a documentary that will feel like a Real L Word documentary."

Fans of the L Word franchise will probably be excited about this news, but what I’m pondering is how, if at all, a documentary will be different from reality TV — which, as we all know, is scripted and therefore more than a little bit fake. These days, there are "documentaries" and then there are documentaries. Beyoncé claims to be putting out a "documentary" about herself, but it might be more appropriate to call a documentary one does about oneself to be an "hour-long video selfie." Documentaries should show outside editorial judgment, leading you to believe the storyteller is presenting an unbiased narrative. (Cough "Catfish" cough.)  Actual documentaries like Girl Model or  The Queen Of Versailles have some distance between the artist and the subject, which perhaps why so many of them result in lawsuits.  

How much of a "documentary" Showtime’s L Word documentary will actually be remains to be seen. But for all the fans who stood by the franchise in both the scripted and "reality" version, it would be sweet for Showtime to present a truly realistic onscreen representation of lesbians and how they love. 

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Beyoncé’s HBO Documentary Releases Another Trailer

Here is your daily scheduled reminder that Beyoncé’s life is more fabulous than yours. 

After releasing a mini-trailer last month, Bey’s teasing her February 16 HBO documentary, called Beyonce: Life Is But A Dream, with a longer trailer peeking at the woman behind the scenes.

We see her ultrasound of Blue Ivy and her very real, totally-not-made-up pregnancy belly (which may or may not be real) and lots of staring into the camera like a 19-year-old girl taking selfies. "I’m a human being. I cry, I get scared, I get nervous, just like everyone else," she confesses.

I’m going to stop you right there, Beyoncé. That’s not what people want to hear in between clips of "Beyoncé on a yacht" and "Beyoncé in a fancy bathroom." (Please spare us "Beyoncé hanging out with BFF Gwyneth Paltrow," though.)

Watch the trailer below:

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Ha Ha, Remember Napster?

Filmmaker Alex Winter does. He’s taking us back to the late ’90s and the battle over peer-to-peer filing-sharing in Downloaded.

Downloaded follows the rise of Napster, as told by co-founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, and the ensuing shitshow with the RIA, including lawsuits from Metallica and Dr. Dre. Judging by the trailer, it looks to be a little bit like The Social Network but without the Aaron Sorkin-penned quips.

According to Slashfilm, Downloaded will air at an unknown future date as an upcoming documentary on VH1’s Rock Docs. 

Here’s the trailer below:

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter

Courtney Love Working On Kurt Cobain Documentary

Courtney Love is working on a documentary film about the life and work of her late husband, Kurt Cobain, direct Brett Morgan revealed in the New York Post.

Morgan directed the recent Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, and said he has been noodling a doc on Cobain since 2007.

"We’ve been trying to find the right time to put this film together and the time is now," Morgan told the Post. "Kurt was not only an amazing songwriter and musician, he was an incredible artist and filmmaker. So we are going to do the movie sort of like a third-person autobiography — [as] if Kurt was around and making a film about his life."

The untiled Cobain doc should be out in 2014. Morgan also directed the documentaries Chicago 10 and The Kid Stays In The Picture.

Rumors had been swirling over the past couple months that Courtney Love was working on a Kurt Cobain musical with Britney Spears’ creepy ex-manager Sam Lufti — as Lufti had claimed under oath that’s what he was currently working on. Love later denied they had serious plans to do so, sensibly explaining, "Sometimes it’s just best to leave things alone."

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

‘The American Scream’ Documentary Captures The Halloween-Obsessed

Halloween documentaries are one of those things that I’m surprised there aren’t more of, given the ample amount of visual material. So even though I have no idea what channel the Chiller network is, I may just have to watch The American Scream on Sunday night.

The American Scream follows three Halloween-obssed families, including peeps who prepare all-year-long to decorate their homes with homemade ghosts, skeletons and tombstones they’ve fashioned from dumpster-diving. These folks seem likeable enough and a lot less weird than you might expect from people who keep spare eyeballs hanging around. I mean, at least they’re not collecting hundreds of porcelin dolls, right? They seem rather imaginative and handy with a glue gun. 

I just feel bad for their neighbors.

If you don’t have the Chiller network, additional screenings of The American Scream in brick-and-mortor movie theaters can be found here.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

‘Room 237’ Documentary Examines Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’

Conspiracy theorist documentaries are generally eyerolling — cough 2016: Obama’s America cough — but this one looks actually pretty cool. Room 237 is an unofficial documentary that attempts to make sense of hidden messages and meaning in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film, The Shining.  

The doc examines the theories of five Shining devotees who believe Kubrick’s 1980 film based on the Stephen King novel was encrypted with statements "secret messages regarding genocide, government conspiracy, and the nightmare that we call history."

Room 237 debuted at both Sundance and Cannes earlier this year and just this week wrapped up screenings in New York City at the New York Film Festival in Lincoln Center. It’s presently screening at the BFI London Film Festival.  As it has been picked up by IFC Films, hopefully it will get a theater run.

For horror fans and documentary fans alike, the doc seems like it will be a thinkpiece-y look at a film many of us just write off as as scary movie. Here’s a brief trailer below:

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter and Tumblr.