Archive for October, 2011

“Scads of scandalicious morsels about west coast movers and shakers,” says The Realestalker

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Having already previewed Unreal Estate, The Realestalker’s Your Mama has now posted a full review of what he calls “a thick and juicy real estate tale of the rich and famous.” It includes reminders about Wednesday night’s reading/signing at Barnes and Noble at 150 East 86th Street and Book Soup on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles on November 10th. Both events start at 7 PM. Y’all come down now, hear? (That’s a Beverly Hillbillies reference, kiddies.)

“Remarkable houses …famed owners…stories of trysts, broken marriages, dissolution and predatory capitalism,” says Hollywood Reporter

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In “Drugs, Affairs and Secret Divorces: Inside the Scandalous History of the Holmby Hills Estate” once owned by Tony Curtis and Cher, The Hollywood Reporter’s Degen Pener chronicles the story of one of the great estates that star in Unreal Estate: Money, Ambition and the Lust For Land in Los Angeles and gives the first substantive peek inside the book.

Unreal Weekend Wrapup: “This is sure to be popular,” predicts Chud.com

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As the first copies appear in stores in advance of publication day (that’s the front table at Crawford-Doyle on Madison Avenue, at right), news of HBO’s purchase of Unreal Estate for a Joel (The Matrix) Silver-produced serio-comic soap series is ricocheting around the Internets, inspiring items here, there and seemingly everywhere. The book is out Tuesday (or you can preorder on this web site) and on Wednesday, I’ll be signing copies and speaking about it for the first time in the underground author space at Barnes and Noble at 150 East 86th Street (near Lexington Avenue). It’s at 7PM. For … Continue reading

HBO and Joel Silver Buy Unreal Estate Series

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Deadline Hollywood revealed this morning that Home Box Office is buying Unreal Estate for development into a series by Joel Silver, producer of the Sherlock Holmes, Matrix and Die Hard movies and HBO’s Tales From The Crypt. I feel like I just won the MegaMillion lottery. Adds curbed.com: “Decadent Spanish land grant families! Desperado oilmen! Porn magnates! And we thought HBO had good programming before!”

Unreal Estate Debuts at Barnes & Noble

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I’ll be signing and speaking about Unreal Estate for the first time at the Upper East Side Barnes & Noble store on Wednesday November 02, 2011 at 7:00 PM. Please join me at 150 East 86th Street (near Lexington Avenue).

Unreal Estate is “scandal-filled,” says THR

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In its issue out today, Degen Pener of The Hollywood Reporter plumbs the pages of Unreal Estate for a four-page spread focused on one of the houses central to the book’s story, 141 South Carolwood, once the home of Joseph Drown, the creator of the Hotel Bel-Air, Twentieth Century Fox co-founder Joseph Schenck and his mistress Marilyn Monroe, oil man William Myron Keck, Tony Curtis, and Cher (and her beaux Sonny Bono, David Geffen and Gregg Allman). I’ll post a link later in the week once the story appears on THR’s web site.

Women’s Wear Plays House

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“Writer Michael Gross knows a thing or two about the back stories of the rich and famous,” Lorna Koski writes in a story on Unreal Estate in Women’s Wear Daily, “and now, in his latest book, he has turned his laser-like focus to the history of some of the great mansions in L.A.”

It’s all in the Details…and more

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More kind comments on Unreal Estate: “A social history of Los Angeles’ super-wealthy told through profiles of 16 of its most lavish estates. Journalist Michael Gross (known for such dirt-dishing tomes as Model, Rogues’ Gallery, and 740 Park) tells tales of adultery, prostitution, embezzlement, Mafia schemes, and the dauntless efforts of millionaires to keep the riffraff out of the exclusive enclaves of Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, and Beverly Park,” says Details Magazine. “Revealing,” adds C, the California Style magazine.

I Love Los Angeles (magazine)…

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…And it loves Unreal Estate, declaring, “Seven McMansions in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills and Beverly Park are the main characters, though they’re nearly upstaged by the parade of murderers, lawyers, actors, pornographers, tycoons, and addicts who owned them….Fantasy and ambition, cheating and careless waste created them. Gross’s research is meticulous. Hard to read. Harder to put down.”

Who’s sorry now? What’s right about the new New Left.

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“Otherwise Occupied,” my latest column for Crain’s New York Business, looks at bankers, Babbo, 740 Park Avenue (above) and Occupy Wall Street, and concludes: Let them eat Chef Boyardee.

Sly vs. Suge: That’s Just Unreal

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The Daily today features a story from Unreal Estate about a little tiff between Death Row Records head Suge Knight and actor-director Sly Stallone over a mega-mansion in Beverly Park. Gossip-meister Richard Johnson also lets slip a few more hints about the contents of the book, out November 1.

I Ain’t a-Marchin’ Anymore

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….but Occupy Wall Street is currently en route to 740 Park, identified for their purposes as the home of David Koch. So what are Steve Schwarzman, John Thain, Ezra Merkin, Izzy Englander, David Ganek, Charles Stevenson, Steven Mnuchin, Thomas Tisch and Ronald Lauder–chopped liver?

Geffen calls “Bull*#!!” on Burkle claim

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David Geffen comes out swinging at Unreal Estate in Frank DiGiacomo‘s Gatecrasher column in today’s Daily News. Responding to his neighbor Ron Burkle‘s suspicion that Geffen was a source for a notorious Vanity Fair profile of the supermarket mogul (whose Greenacres estate is one of the stars of the book, which will be out in twenty days), Geffen tossed out a barnyard epithet and insisted the pair of billionaires are best buds. Burkle didn’t exactly take back what he told me, but stood by his fellow estate-owner. Hey, fellas, relax–even friends disagree sometimes. Just not always in the pages of … Continue reading

Unreal Redesign

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Welcome to my newly updated web site, featuring my upcoming book, Unreal Estate, to be published November 1. Click the Unreal box just over there to the left to read about the book, meet its vast cast of characters, watch some of them in action, pore over various visual miscellany and pre-order a copy if you’re so inclined. Thanks for stopping by, and please come again. Gripepad will continue to cover the coverage of this and my other books and keep you informed of what I’m doing and what I’m griping about.

A 740 Park Correction (Though the Mistake Wasn’t Mine)

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I got a Google alert this morning pointing towards a HuffPo piece by an Occidental College professor named Peter Dreier that claims the 740 Park Avenue duplex owned by Steven and Heather Mnuchin (above) was sold for a measly $9 million two years ago when the Mnuchins moved to LA after Steven took over a bank there. Just for the record: not so. I doubt you could buy a closet at 740 for that price! The Mnuchins still own their place in the best little apartment building on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Curiously enough, Occidental College has a … Continue reading

Unreal Estate is “a juicy, breezily told social history of La La Land,” says Kirkus Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews, which bills itself the world’s toughest book critic, has issued an advance rave review of Unreal Estate. It says the book is “rich in incident and full of thwarted ambition, visionary zeal and conspicuous consumption [and] salacious gossip about [the] socially ambitious builders who forged such exclusive havens for the rich as Bel Air and Beverly Hills and whose family histories are rife with alcoholism, bitter infighting, sex scandals and suicide. This being L.A., there are also accounts of the housing adventures of movie stars…[and] unlovely status-driven mania…Gross has clearly done his research, and many anecdotes…have a comic … Continue reading

You can’t bank on it

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In Crain’s New York Business this week, I tell a tale of banking woe with a (somewhat) happy ending.