Tuesday, June 06, 2000

Movie gives Leis two reasons to party

        And this from our file Movie Viewing Parties Where We Would Really Like to Be a Fly on the Wall:

        • Sheriff Simon Leis' Green Township home last week when he had a small dinner and viewing party for Dirty Pictures, the Showtime movie about 1990's Robert Mapplethorpe case. It was Leis, recall, who initiated the prosecution.

        • A houseboat in the middle of Lake Cumberland last weekendwhen Leis and 14 or so friends, including David Albanese, the judge who heard the case and who now works for Leis, did a getaway trip and had movie night.

        Hmmm. Does it sound like he likes this movie? Really likes it, as Sally Field used to say?

        “I did. I thought it was a basically accurate portrayal of what happened, but with exaggeration,” he says. “I was surprised they didn't make me look like a buffoon and I don't feel as if they made me the villain.

        “It's weird, sitting there watching yourself portrayed by someone else. But Craig Nelson did a good job of showing me doing what I had to do. But it seems weird.”

        “It is weird to watch a movie with one of the characters sitting next to you,” says Judge Norbert “Nick” Nadel, one of guests. “But it's also fun, because he could sit there and say "Hey, that really happened. That didn't.'”

        And did he pipe up from time to time there in the family room amid family and friends? Yep. Like during the scene in which someone representing Citizens for Community Values tries to bribe Contemporary Arts Center director Dennis Barrie to drop his defense. “I didn't believe that whole attempted payoff scene at all,” Leis says. “I think it was pure imagination.”

        One piece of pure imagination he was relishing the day before the houseboat trip: “Did you see they made Albanese bald? He still has a full head of hair. But he hasn't seen it yet and doesn't know he's now bald. I suspect he'll be telling people that working for me caused his hair to fall out.”

        Another thing that's been going on is a game of who's who. Principals have their real names; other characters get fictionalized names.

        “The guy Albanese threw out of court after the trial, that was Roger Ach, I know that. I think I figured out which was Chad Wick (president of the CAC board early in the controversy), and I'm pretty sure who Mr. Johnson was supposed to be, but I don't want to say.

        The reporter at the beginning? The good looking African-American woman who did a TV report on the exhibit? She took the place of real-life Channel 9 reporter Stephen Hill, whom Leis said is “someone who will never get through this door again.”

        Criticisms? Other than the payoff scene? “I think they made (prosecutor) Frank Prouty out to be a buffoon and he's not,” says Leis. “He just wasn't supported by the city.

        “And Craig Nelson was good, like I said, but he's not as good looking as I am.”

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.

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