Parting shot for today, World AIDS Day. December 1. I linked to my “list” earlier (originally a Facebook post). Lists have power, showing the enormity of a thing like a plague. But on those lists are individual lives, of course. So I wanted to talk about one of them and the Basic Instinct scarf, the Hermes scarf that murderous femme fatale Catherine Trammell (Sharon Stone) uses to tie up her BF for a little kinky sex in that movie.
I have one, not an actual Hermes, but a knockoff, a gag souvenir (although it is a real scarf) which was given to video reporter Marc Berman for the press event on the VHS launch of that movie, probably sometime in 1992.
He gave it to me at a lunch we had; I think it was Farfalla on La Brea. Perhaps he’d just come from the event. He obviously thought I required a white BDSM scarf.
The job I had at the time was corporate PR for a movie studio, and we were encouraged to go out to lunch with reporters from the trades. Marc worked for Daily Variety and he was my favorite reporter to eat with. Why? Because he was my age, he was gay, he was brilliant and cute and flirty and fun. We had much more fun telling stories about this person or that person than anything substantive about video business.
He was also a playwright; also an activist. He was one of the founders of the Entertainment AIDS Alliance, and was on the Board of APLA and worked with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). Most of all, he was that kind of a person who just lit up a room when he walked in.
So all these years since, I’ve kept the white scarf in my drawer, occasionally taking it out. Perhaps I’ll wear it someday. Perhaps I’ll tie somebody up with it one day. Perhaps I’ll just always keep it to remind myself of the gentle soul who made so many lives a little bit brighter.
From the LA Times in 1993:
Marc Berman, 39, playwright, Variety columnist and AIDS activist. A native of Ohio who was educated at Boston University, Berman began his career as an actor in regional theater and went on to write such critically acclaimed plays as “The Wolf Patrol,” “River Downs” and “The Day Andy Warhol Got Shot.” He moved to Los Angeles in 1986 as West Coast bureau chief for TWICE magazine, an acronym for This Week in Consumer Electronics. In 1990, he joined Video Business and then became a staff writer for Daily Variety, doing reviews and covering home video and film and AIDS in the entertainment industry. For the past year, he also wrote a column for the weekly Variety. In 1989, Berman co-founded the fund-raising Video Industry AIDS Action Committee. He also served on the board of AIDS Project Los Angeles and was active in the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. On Nov. 6 in Sherman Oaks of AIDS.