Though I occasionally find myself in Las Vegas, I am no longer a fan of
the town as I had been in my youth. Garish, crass and common are good
adjectives to describe the city today and the aesthetics are jarring
once you venture into a casino rather than enjoy it as a formidable
night time cityscape from afar. What bothers me most, I suppose, is that
the city seems to exult in all that is valueless and encourages its
patrons to aspire to their own spiritual and economic bankruptcy. Few
cities can make that claim as persuasively.
My introduction to
Las Vegas came at a time when I was very young and though the city
always had as its prime objective the fleecing of its guests, it seemed
to me that there was an elegance to the manner in which the task was
accomplished in those times. When I was no more than eight years-old, I
found myself staring at a casino cocktail waitress at the Hacienda. She
was wearing high-heels and a diaphanous, baby-doll négligée and I was
quite taken with her. I remember wondering how in the world I was going
to continue being interested in my life until I was old enough to
entertain such a creature. An odd thought for an eight year-old,
Years later, Las Vegas became a destination for my
Jaguar and Ferrari road trips. The route from Los Angeles to Las Vegas
featured seemingly endless straight-aways where speeds of 150 miles per
hour were the norm in the cars I drove. I don't remember getting any
speeding tickets on those journeys though once I did get a stern warning
from a patrolman on the California side of the border. Maybe this was
part of the luck that formed my early impressions of Las Vegas.
I was in my late teens, I looked older than my age and I often played
blackjack at the Sands long before I turned twenty-one. Usually, I came
away with two or three hundred dollars in winnings which was a nice sum
in those days. Not far from the casino floor was the lounge where
singers would perform throughout the afternoon and evening. Frank
Sinatra Jr. explains the function of the 'Vegas casino lounges of the
era in his excellent commentary on the Ocean's 11 DVD (the original
One afternoon, I was playing blackjack and flirting
with the very pretty blond in her thirties sitting next to me when I
heard some music that I assumed was of the piped-in variety
because the song was Strangers in the Night, Frank Sinatra's current
hit. After about eight bars, I realized the song was not coming over the
casino's sound system but was being performed by the Chairman himself
in the lounge. Later that night, Sinatra's show in the Copa Room would
be the hottest ticket in 'Vegas but he took it upon himself to treat the
customers to a free preview in the middle of the afternoon. Would this
happen in Las Vegas today?
The 'Vegas I remember has long since
disappeared but the city still serves as a destination for a high speed
road trip in an exciting car and, I must admit, I am tempted to make a
return visit to the Golden Steer for some Cherries Jubilee...
How to Shoot a Feature Film in 15 Days (And Survive to See Profits)
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Examples of Responsive Reactions
Click photo to see example clips from Stephen's movies
Action/ReAction at Stella Adler
Point of Departure
A Series of ONE...
Stephen and Dragonuk
Stephen Mitchell webinar for Stage 32
Ferrari GTO 3987 at speed by Yan denes
Ray D. Shosay's Journal
Dispatches from a (junior) suite in Paris
Ray D. Shosay's Journal (excerpt)
"Saturday, January 27, 2007
They say you can fool some of the people all of the time. Accordingly, I think we should concentrate on this group initially. We can move on to the people you can only fool some of the time at a later date if we deem it necessary. I hope to hear back from my agent about this as soon as he's out of rehab, as I don't think my messages have been getting through."
Ignorance is Bliss by Stephen Mitchell
Kindle or Paperback versions
Exerpt from Ignorance is Bliss
"Out of the corner of his eye, Martin saw Martha shift in her seat. She leaned forward, as though something was about to be decided. This caused her breasts to push up against the neckline of her dress in a way that couldn't be fully appreciated out of the corner of one’s eye. So, Martin turned his head to look directly into the abyss of her cleavage. He was vaguely aware that Murray was talking again."
Carrera Panamericana (1950-54)
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Ferrari GTO 3987
Elysée Wednesday: Drive!
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“You ought to meet Steve. The two of you have the same kind of Ferrari.”
Ferrari Berlinetta Lusso
One evening, I was enjoying a John le Carré novel and a glass of Bordeaux...
L'art de l'automobile
My first Lusso prior to restoration
It was only after Sinatra was gone...
Once upon a time...
Meeting Enzo Ferrari
I came across this on a late night stroll in Paris near the Louvre.
I bought Bentleys in England and Ferraris & Maseratis in Italy to re-sell in Los Angeles as a teenager. I met Enzo Ferrari, Juan Fangio and Steve McQueen. I 'grew up' on the set of Mission: Impossible and other episodic TV series of the era. For a few years, I owned a Ferrari GTO that is owned by Ralph Lauren today and valued at approximately $52M. I began my film career by writing, producing and directing Montmartre in Paris in French. I founded and ran a repertory company for film & TV for 20 years in Los Angeles. I created a TV series which had fans that included Marlon Brando. I authored the first new acting technique--Action/ReAction--that was not based on Stanislavski's Method. I am currently writing my third novel and shooting my spy thriller Exigence. If you can't make movies, live your life as though you were in one...