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

Liz Guider into Editor slot at The Reporter


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).

Simesite hiatus

For the few of you out there who noticed, Simesite was off Cyberspace for a week or so due to a technical glitch in Londontown, from where our electronic wizard, Ian Watkins, pulls the electronic levers and whatnot to keep the Site hale and healthy.

However, he succeeded in getting the Site back up again in cyberspace on March 26th, losing none of its contents (other than a photo of Ron Holloway). Alerting us of the absence of the Site on the web were Frank Segers, Hy Hollinger, Mort Bryer and Bob Hawkins. Thanks, kids, for letting us know.

Loftus retires from Nielsen

Former Variety TV editor Jack Loftus will be retiring at the end of February from his job as Chief Communications officer for the Nielsen Company in New York. Jack has been with the firm for 17 years, having joined in 1990 as VP Communications.

Now that Jack will have more free time, we trust he’ll start contributing copy to the Simesite, the ultimate refuge of ex-muggs.

Familiar Faces at the Berlin Film Festival


Leaving Variety for good, long-time Rome staffer Deborah Young has been appointed director of the Taormina International Film Festival in Sicily. She was here wrapping up her last reviews for the paper. Deborah was a member of Variety’s Daily Screen Guide team headed by Elizabeth Guider.

Ron Holloway was busy with interviews and meetings prior to being awarded, with wifieDorothea Moritz, the fest’s Golden Camera on Friday for their contribution to the German Film, among other things, their 88 quarterlies on domestic and international film events.

Whilom Hamburg stringer and current freelancer Ernest Gill was off for San Francisco on a ghost-writing mission, after a long weekend at the Berlinale. Ernest and I caught Berlinale supremo Dieter Kosslick at the posh restaurent Lutter & Wegner in the Kaisersaal as he was rushing to another event but had time to greet us warmly. Variety ties with Dieter go back to Hamburg days decades ago when he headed the Hanseatic City’s Film Fund.

Perennial Berlinale goers Edna Fainaru, former reviewer and hubbie Dan Fainaru, were reporting for various outlets in Israel.