So Michael Jackson finally found a way to make money and stay at home.
He's selling his old home movies.
Last night Jackson's first Home Videos show played on Fox TV (a cousin of Fox News). We got to see Michael, at approximately 30 years old, having food fights with children at a picnic table. They weren't his children and there were no women around, but OK. Everyone blows off his steam in different ways.
I'm told by Jackson insiders that there are "hours and hours" more of this stuff.
"Michael literally has filmed his whole life. It's all there," one source told me.
Another Fox special is likely, and another and another. If Jackson continues to get $1 million payouts for these things, he will be solvent in ... 200 more specials.
Former President Bill Clinton is serious about spending his days in Harlem.
On May 22, Clinton is going to host a fund-raiser for his personal foundation at the Supper Club in Manhattan. But this won't be like the run-of-the-mill political mixers his old supporters have attended in the past.
You may recall that Clinton had to forgo offices in the posh Carnegie Tower when the General Accounting Office balked at the rental price.
Clinton was forced to relocate to Harlem, where he has quickly become a favored neighbor and popular resident. Sightings of him come in often from the area.
This entire fund-raising event appears to be aimed toward upwardly mobile blacks. The event will cost $50 a ticket for everyone, and there doesn't seem to be any kind of VIP situation.
Even more interesting are the names on the invitation. They include Clinton's own personal advisor on underserved communities, Clyde E. Williams, Jr., a senior fellow at the University of Maryland's Academy of Leadership; former Detroit Mayor Dennis W. Archer; and Persaud Brothers, a hot, 10-year-old marketing firm that targets urban consumers.
Other sponsors include Carver Bank, La Soeur Management, Savoy magazine and Jimmy's Downtown Restaurant — all black-owned businesses.
The Supper Club get-together is set for just two hours, from 6 to 8 p.m., which is a short time in which to get the 1,200 or so people who'll be crowding into the space in and out. There's also no announcement yet about celebrities or entertainment, but the club has a stage — which is why event planner usually choose it — and one of the Persaud Brothers used to work for Quincy Jones. So stay tuned.
The National Board of Review, the fan-based membership-fee group that pretends to be movie reviewers, finally turned in its 2001 tax return last November.
The most interesting item on the sparsely filled-out Form 990 is the cost of screening movies. The NBR says it spent $110,000 on screening expenses in 2001, a whopping increase from the year before, when it spent only $40,000.
Since a lot of the movie studios provide screenings for the NBR, one wonders what these incredible expenses could be for. Popcorn?
Of course, the NBR is famous for inviting in casts and directors from films, treating them to lunch or dinner with their main membership, and then voting on their films based on whether or not they had a good time. That costs money.
The NBR charges its members about $400 a year to belong and another $400 a head to come to its annual gala dinner at Tavern on the Green. All of this is tax-deductible because the group claims to be some sort of educational organization. On its Form 990, it says it gave out $12,000 in student grants, but doesn't say to which students or for what reasons.
That's roughly a tenth of the money it spent on screenings.
So how much does it cost to screen a movie? About $500 for a two-hour film in a regular screening facility in Manhattan. That comes to about 200 films a year for the NBR screeners. That's more movies than some paid reviewers see all year.
If you're in New York this weekend, you can catch the last performances of the revival of Carmilla at La MaMa in the East Village.
This wonderfully rendered rock operetta was first staged in 1970 by the same experimental theater group that's putting it on now. The legendary Wilford Leach wrote the libretto and directed the first incarnation of the show. Ben Johnston wrote the music.
The La MaMa company features the same actresses who played the roles in 1970 — Nancy Heiken, who has a glorious pop voice and should be on Broadway, and the sultry-throated opera singer Margaret Benczak. They should not be missed.
Tomorrow night, actor Wallace Shawn, who originated the role of the Devil in this vampire fantasy, makes a special return performance.
I'm told that La MaMa's founder, Ellen Stewart, has to close the run after Sunday even though it's sold out for its run. Maybe she can find an "angel" to keep the musical running.
If you're in the Memphis area Saturday night, I am proud to say the Memphis Film Commission is sponsoring a screening of Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker's Only the Strong Survive, a film I helped produce. The screening is at Studio in the Square and is open to the public.
The movie, which Miramax will distribute, opens nationally in 10 cities on May 9.
Gibson Guitars and Baldwin Piano are putting on a reception following at the Gibson Lounge in beautiful downtown Memphis. I hear Aretha Franklin's going to be in town — if you know her, you can bring her along.