LABJ's LA Stories

Going Hollywood

Can't get enough of "The Producers?"

The original movie script, on which Mel Brooks' Tony award-winning play is based, is one of 400 items on the block by Profiles in History, a 23-year-old Beverly Hills auctioneer that has sold everything from Captain Kirk's command chair to the Darth Vader's helmet.

Other items at the upcoming auction include Brooks' hand-written lyrics to "Springtime for Hitler," a piece of the bridge railing from the USS Enterprise in the original "Star Trek" series and George Reeves' "Superman" costume from the 1950s TV series.

But they aren't cheap. The "Superman" costume is estimated to sell for between $100,000 to $150,000, according to the company.

Early silent bidding on the auction items goes on eBay beginning the week of June 30, said Joe Maddalena, founder and chief executive of Profiles in History. The real action takes place 1 p.m. at Profiles in History's offices on North Doheny Drive.

Maddalena's personal favorite?

"Harrison Ford's hero pistol from Blade Runner," he said. "In every movie, there's a pivotal prop. In this one, it's his pistol."

Amanda Bronstad



Sexy Salutes

Porn stars, magicians, contortionists. Got your attention?

After 16 years, the Free Speech Coalition figured out that people want to see porn stars even if they have to put on a tux to do it.

The Chatsworth-based organization, the trade group for the adult entertainment industry, has opened its annual awards ceremony to the public for the first time. This year's event will be July 12 at the Grand Ballroom at Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills.

Among the porneratti in attendance will be Amber Lynn, who will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. Other attendees are First Amendment lawyers, as well as executives from various adult entertainment retailers, cabarets and talent services.

The group expects to draw as many as 600 at $200 a pop to be dazzled by the coalition's own "Cirque De La Liberte," a European-style circus of Las Vegas acrobats, contortionists and magicians. But don't expect the clothes to come off, Lyon said.

"It's a very different event than most people expect," said William Lyon, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition. "You're not going to see nudity or that sort of thing. But you will meet the stars."

Amanda Bronstad



Closet Space

One local clothing store is trying really trying to make shoppers feel at home.

Apartment 3, a boutique that opened in May on La Brea Avenue near 1st Street, really looks like a woman's apartment. The shop has home furnishings and customers can rummage through closets and cupboards. A rooftop garden with racks of clothes offers a view of West Hollywood. Other twists include a coffee table that acts as a display case and a walk-in closet serving as the dressing room.

"People find it so comfortable. It's like hanging out in someone's house," said owner Kristin Knauff.

Knauff was an assistant for a footwear designer until February, but had been harboring a desire to open up her own home-style boutique for some time. Apartment 3 carries styles from local designers as well as vintage clothing.

Michael Thuresson



Back With a Bang

On April 3, Nadel Architects emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and, by the looks of their latest promotional tool, a pocket-sized foldout briefcase, they've come out fists up.

Five thousand briefcases filled with photographs of Nadel endeavors of the past, present and future were distributed to clients, contractors, developers and others to celebrate the firm's 30th anniversary.

A designer, Eric Ward, was brought in to create the piece and he suggested several concepts, said Tanya Epstein, director of marketing.

"It evolved and snowballed and we went nuts, down to the briefcases' hinges and lining. You get started on something like that and you can't do it halfway," said Epstein.

Inside the briefcase are profiles of Nadel projects in Los Angeles and China, all presented accordion-style, in chronological order from the company's inception in 1973.

"It was a labor of love," said Epstein. "It's the first piece of its kind."

-Rebecca Semcken

The Roving Eye

Going Dutch

It's amazing what hanging around in the right crowd can do for you.

Until about six months ago, Tonny Sorensen was struggling with his three-year-old Von Dutch clothing line. Then all of a sudden Von Dutch caps, T-shirts and jeans began showing up on style mavens like Britney Spears, Lil' Kim, Fred Durst, Rachel Hunter and others. A streaker at the U.S. Open golf tournament in May had a Von Dutch sweatshirt tied around her waist.

There is now a franchised Von Dutch store in Beverly Hills, with others planned for New York, Las Vegas and in Europe. Meanwhile, boutiques from Paris to Providence, R.I. are now carrying the brand.

"From minus $3 million last year it's probably going to be a $20 million company this year," said Sorensen, a native of Copenhagen and a former Tae Kwon Do world champion. "I'm overwhelmed."

So why would a Dane name start a company called Von Dutch? The company is named after legendary Southern California artist and grease monkey Von Dutch (aka Kenny Howard), who attracted a devoted following between the 1950s and 1970s pinstriping and customizing vintage cars and motorcycles.

Sorensen, who was souping up his 1965 Cadillac DeVille in a Melrose garage, purchased the trademark for the Von Dutch name from the garage owner, who had licensed it from the artist's daughters.

Von Dutch now offers everything from trucker style caps ($35) to custom-made jeans (up to $1,500).

"It started in L.A. and now it's definitely moved to other cities," said Tommy Reid, manager of Montana Avenue boutique Patrick Reid, and brother of actress Tara Reid, an early Von Dutch devotee. "It's a very trendy line because of the celebrities."

Darrell Satzman

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