Dirt With the Kids
Jun 23, 1988) Once upon a time, there were two kids from Hollywood
who wanted more than anything to be famous.
how they accomplished their goal.
It used to be, if you wanted real dirt about celebrities, you could count on
the National Enquirer and its eponymous rivals. Then the supermarket check-out
counter was ordained the chief point of distribution, and the Enquirer and
its ilk had to clean up their acts.
you want to find out who is being hassled by the police or getting
evicted, being rude to waiters or stiffing his employees, recovering
from facial surgery or sleeping around, you must look elsewhere. And
in this town, inquiring minds turn to the Small Talk page of the Hollywood
Kids, the one with "True Stories No Other Magazine Dares to Publish."
Distributed free in hip music and fashion outlets around town (and as far away
as Laguna and San Francisco), the twice-monthly publication is the brainchild
of two Hollywood natives, former model John Nichols and his partner, an erstwhile
network cue card holder known only as Lance.
"People used to tell us, `you guys always have the best gossip,' " Lance
says. " `You should have your own magazine.' " So, four years ago,
they started handing out a photocopied newsletter, "more of a ragazine than
a magazine," called the Hollywood Kids' Street Gossip. Within six months,
they had a printer, paid advertising, a letters column and a shortened name.
Like Playboy in the early '60s, the turning point came with the addition of
a regular interview. "At first the publicists would hang up on us," Lance
admits, "so we had to go with celebrities who were a little down on their
luck, like Tab Hunter or Edie Williams. It worked out great because our interviews
got a reputation for being a little off the wall."
Regular features in the 10-page giveaway include the TV Trash Guide, highlighting
the worst upcoming television programs (usually old movies too lame to make
it to videocassette), a highly personal list of ins and outs, and snapshots
of the famous and near-famous at press parties and after-hours clubs.
What keeps the fans coming back, though, is the catty Small Talk column based
on tips from doormen, waiters, gas station attendants, salesgirls, hairdressers,
fitness instructors, limousine drivers and other busybodies the Kids have courted.
Even though there is nothing to call into question Lance's claim that "every
word is true," many of the items are salacious or malicious enough, despite
artful camouflaging, to leave you wondering how they get away with it.
Currently, the so-called Kids are distributing 15,000 copies. About 450 go
to subscribers and a "substantial number" are mailed to agents, publicists
and producers. The magazine shows a profit on a modest number of ads from film
companies, hair salons and fitness centers, the Kids say.
years the hard-working duo also has produced an aggressively amateurish
public access television show now carried twice a month locally and
in 16 cable markets from New York City to San Francisco. For more than
a year, they have been on radio station KPWR-FM on Monday, Wednesday
and Friday at 8:10 a.m.
not trying to be mean," Lance says. "And we're sorry if anyone's
feelings get hurt. We're just having fun poking fun." If you miss
the Hollywood Kids at your haberdashery-and they go fast-a 10-issue
subscription costs $25. Write the Hollywood Kids, P.O. Box 691486,
Los Angeles 90069. (The Los Angeles Times).
Reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission of the Los Angeles