TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT Summer 1999

TOP TEN

Bruce Wagner

Bruce Wagner is a novelist living in Los Angeles. The film version of his book I’m Losing You, which he directed, will be released this fall.

  1. THE BLACK BOX: ALL-NEW COCKPIT VOICE RECORDER ACCOUNTS OF IN-FLIGHT ACCIDENTS, EDITED BY MALCOLM MACPHERSON (QUILL-WILLIAM MORROW)

    Freshly vetted transcripts—one of which runs nearly twenty pages, recording the doomed efforts of pilots whose 757 had been inadvertently, fatally sabotaged by a ground crew charged with washing the aircraft before take-off. The ghostly haiku is meant to be read in bed on a windy night, preferably under the influence of Vicodin ES. Some favorites, in a fell swoop:

    CAPTAIN TO COPILOT: Help me. Help me hold it. Help me hold it. Help me hold it.
    COCKPIT: [Vibrating sound as the stick shaker starts warning of stall]
    COPILOT: Amy, I love you.
    COCKPIT: [Sound of grunting]
    COCKPIT: [Sound of impact]
    (19 survivors/8 souls lost.)

    Flight 427 is now turning over on its back at 6,000 feet and heading for the ground at 300 miles an hour. It would take another 16 seconds before the aircraft hit the ground.

    COPILOT: [Sound of scream]
    CAPTAIN: Pull. . .
    COPILOT: Oh. . .
    CAPTAIN: Pull. . . Pull. . .
    COPILOT: God. . .
    CAPTAIN [Sound of screaming]
    COPILOT: No. . .
    (All souls aboard died instantly)

  2. SURREAL AND SEXY CEO COMPENSATION

    Money magazines have become the new jackrags; Forbes’s and Fortune’s “Richest People”/“Richest Entertainers” regularly jockey up against smalltown Sunday paper “What People Earn” staples—smiley snapshots of Sanford Weill, 65 (CEO, Travelers Group, $675 million) abut, say, Josephine Palmorez, 25 (data clerk, $18,500) and Dooley Vogel, 39 (faux finisher, $40,000). Horny pull quotes from a Forbes feature proved masturbation-friendly—“His $15 million now $4.5 billion”; “Brought idea to office, brought home $1 billion”; “Lent credibility, got $180 million.” The same article featured a “dollars per day/years to first billion” spread. CEO stroke books often offer obscure, bizarre popup factoids, such as this “MPH (millions per hour)” nugget: Michael Dell traveled at “0.8 mph,” against Bill Gates’s “5.4 mph.”

  3. MANFRED MÜLLER

    The mystical German sculptor’s winking, end-of-the-world insouciance is oddly contagious. Müller works in paper, wood, and metal (he hung vertical rowboats under Santa Monica’s pier in 1998’s “Twilight and Yearning” installation); yet nothing he’s done prepares you for the towering, heartrending, black-draped entity—the Memory Palace—currently hanging in the cathedral vault of the Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City.

  4. NORMA’S JEANS CELEBRITY MEMORABILIA

    Samples from this summer’s catalogue: “96. Kathy Ireland items from ‘National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1’ (1994)—Purse, taupe $70”; “707. Savannah (deceased porn star) personal and appearance wardrobe items obtained from her family. Various western wear, $350”; “509. William Hurt archival collection from late ’60s through early ’70s. Obtained through family (he is stepson of Henry Luce III). Class notes, exams, report cards from his tours at Middlesex School and Tufts University. Hours of fascinating reading and exploring in a huge blue box. Proceeds donated to Make-A-Wish Foundation. $250.”

  5. IN-HOUSE MALLS

    The latest MogulTrend: erecting Jon Jerde–like City Walk environments on the grounds of one’s estate, with attendant Starbucks and Borders facades. Kids love it and the grown-ups think it’s a goof—soon, no doubt, a service will be born to populate Home City Walk with minimum-wage-paid pedestrians.

  6. WILLIAM EGGLESTON

    In March, the sardonic, elegant Mr. Eggleston was presented the Erna and Victor Hasselblad Foundation International Photography Prize in Göteborg, Sweden. A trademark look of quizzical serenity accompanied the Memphisean sage, along with his children and dear friend Walter Hopps. In October, the Getty in Los Angeles puts on “William Eggleston and the Color Tradition.” Limpid and prayerfully bright, Mr. Eggleston’s images will occupy the space recently vacated by the photographs of Degas and Brassaï.

  7. DETAILED REAL ESTATE SECTIONS

    Because of Architectural Digest, I know that James Fifield used to be CEO of EMI Music. I know that he lived in Colorado as a boy and wanted to move back. I know that to make the move more convenient, he became CEO of The North Face, then relocated The North Face headquarters so his office would be within a half-hour motorcycle ride of his new Xanadu-like mountainside home. I know what much of the house’s interior looks like, including the pyramid-shaped greenhouse and studio where his wife paints. Because of the New York Observer, I know that Mr. Fifield is referred to in the British press as Lucky Jim and that he is buying a penthouse at the Ice House, 27 N. Moore Street, for just over $4 million. I am keeping tabs on him and wish soon to copulate with his scions.

  8. PHILIP JOHNSON

    I shit on anyone who says anything against him. He just built a doghouse for his keeshond pups in New Canaan that looks like a pleated redwood Catholic schoolgirl’s skirt but is actually a half-inch scale model for a gravemarker.

  9. ANIPRYL®

    He’s old and stares dolefully from the ad in People, long-nosed and slightly out of focus. A caption reads, “It’s hard to say ‘Welcome home’ when I can’t remember your face.” Diagnosis: Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome. Like mother, when Princess gives you a blank look while having a messy fart on your lap (or laptop), odds are it’s Alzheimer’s—for pets. Call 1-800-ANIPRYL.

  10. PERCY GRAINGER’S “SHALLOW BROWN”

    A six-minute sea shanty, the apotheosis of what this eccentric American composer called a “pilgrimage to sorrows.” Written in 1910, it can make a dumb animal see stars; played loudly, the rapturous dirge is dangerously melancholic—what Carlos Castaneda referred to as “ontological sadness”—death, longing, and the ecstasy of psilocybin intertwined. Flying Dutchman foghorns and a redundant briney chorale unsettles, unbinds, and disjoints, breaking the waves and the heart.