This just in… Paul Harris’ acceptance speech

Feb. 24, 2009

Good evening everybody.

Mike, Paul, what the heck?

Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen, for that warm accolade. But please hold your applause, I’ve only got a minute here before the orchestra cranks up.

It is again my distinct pleasure to stand before you holding this lovely statuette. Wow, two years in a row. How is it possible, you ask, that I continue to display such a profound and uncanny perspective of the film world? Could it be my deep roots in the entertainment industry as Variety’s D.C. mugg, a position I continue to hold after 30-plus years as a freelancer? Or the direct pipeline to Hollywood from the annual recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors who are constantly badgering me to have lunch?

Oh gosh, I have so many people to thank. I just scribbled down some names on a roll of toilet paper in the men’s room back stage – oh, here it is.

But first, I just have to say this. Oh Jennifer, you continue to be a class act. Why, just look at you sitting there right behind Brad and Angelina as if absolutely nothing were amiss. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is acting. There needs to be a special award here tonight to honor her – but I digress.

First, I want to thank my parents, without whom this evening would not be possible. And of course my agent, Virginia Michie, who has stuck with me throughout the highs and lows of my long, long, long, long career.

And I guess I should say a few kind words about my wife, Karen, who is my spiritual advisor in all things Hollywood and ever-so-slightly more than just a bit player in this tawdry act.

Oh, and yes, please hold onto that winner’s check, as you did last year without any prompting. The honor of addressing this august gathering is its own reward.

Besa publishes book on Madrid

besa_signingCo-founder of Simesite, Peter Besas, has just published a book in Spain called “Hidden Madrid”, an offbeat walking guide to the country’s capital, delving into many little-known aspects of the city, its history, and anecdotes about some of its odd historical characters.

Peter co-authored the book with his son, Mark, who took most of the 150 photos that illustrate the 361-page volume. An adapted translation of the work into Spanish, called “Madrid Oculto”, was simultaneously released by the Madrid-based publisher, Ediciones La Libreria. For the time being, the book is only on sale in bookshops and museums in Madrid, though efforts are underway for the book to “go international”.

Shown in the photo are Peter and Mark signing copies on June 7 at the big Madrid Bookfair held in the city’s Retiro Park, where 50 copies were sold during the one-hour signing session.

For more information on the book, please see www.madridoculto.es

Liz Guider into Editor slot at The Reporter

by PETER BESAS

Longtime Variety scribe Elizabeth Guider has been appointed Editor of the Hollywood Reporter in LA. Liz started as a trade reporter, mostly covering TV, when she was living in Rome and filed copy for then bureau chief Hank Werba. She subsequently moved on to London, and a few years after Cahners bought out Variety moved to L.A. to work with Peter Bart. She had been a staffer for 18 years with Variety, working as News Editor and assistant to Bart, and, lately, as “editor-at-large” (the nebulous title Tom Pryor was given before walking the plank).
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