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The blurb from the book jacket:

Imagine, if you will, a world without Dr. Joyce Brothers. A world without game show hosts and liposuction and teenage beauty pageants and gratuitous award shows and would-be screenwriters who lug their laptops to coffee houses. A world where aspiring starlets would never even think of posing for nude photos and waitresses weren't noticeably crankier during pilot season. A world without Melrose Place. A world without headshots. A world without Cher. Pretty damn grim, huh?

Luckily, for pop culture junkies everywhere, this is not the world depicted in Dennis Hensley's debut novel Misadventures in the (213).

"(213)?" you may ask.

That's the area code for Hollywood, silly, the land our genial hero, aspiring screenwriter Craig Clybourn, and his cadre of celebrity-obsessed friends call home. Hollywood, the kind of moral no-man's land where someone relatively sensible, like our Craig, could be cajoled into kidnapping fish from Tina Louise's koi pond in the name of love or into rigging a movie test screening he's officiating so that his actress pal doesn't end up on the cutting room floor. Or into joining a garage band just to impress a potential love slave he met while doing extra work on Murder She Wrote. You get the idea.

Packed with Hollywood life-lessons and more B-level celebs than all the Battle of the Network Stars specials combined, Misadventures in the (213) is a brilliantly witty and poignant journey through the Tinseltown spin cycle.


MEET THE PLAYERS

CRAIG CLYBOURN OCCUPATION: Would-be screenwriter / temp / extra / what have you TURN-ONS: Amy Grant videos, Beauty Pageants, daydreaming, Joey Lawrence TURN-OFFS: Candace Bergen as the Dime Lady, Braveheart , not being on the guest list FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING:   Paula Abdul chowing down at Art's Deli on Ventura Blvd. PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Forever Longing" NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "You know how I am.   I wish there was a Special Olympics for sex so you could get a hug at the end no matter what."

CRAIG CLYBOURN

OCCUPATION: Would-be screenwriter / temp / extra / what have you
TURN-ONS: Amy Grant videos, Beauty Pageants, daydreaming, Joey Lawrence
TURN-OFFS: Candace Bergen as the Dime Lady, Braveheart , not being on the guest list
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING:   Paula Abdul chowing down at Art's Deli on Ventura Blvd.
PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Forever Longing"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "You know how I am.   I wish there was a Special Olympics for sex so you could get a hug at the end no matter what."

DANDY RIO OCCUPATION: media whore / star of the sitcom That's Just Dandy TURN-ONS: Fame, Publicity, Handymen, the films of Zalman King TURN-OFFS: The cast of Friends , people who say they don't watch TV, discretion FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Herself, in the bedroom mirror of Latin American singing stud Ricardo De Leon. PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Uninhibited" NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "The hardest thing about these Help the Homeless benefits is deciding who to go home with."

DANDY RIO

OCCUPATION: media whore / star of the sitcom That's Just Dandy
TURN-ONS: Fame, Publicity, Handymen, the films of Zalman King
TURN-OFFS: The cast of Friends , people who say they don't watch TV, discretion
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Herself, in the bedroom mirror of Latin American singing stud Ricardo De Leon.
PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Uninhibited"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "The hardest thing about these Help the Homeless benefits is deciding who to go home with."

CLAUDIA NEWTON OCCUPATION: Unrepresented actress / slinger of hash TURN-ONS: Making Rice Krispies treats, giving away signed headshots, stalking TURN-OFFS: Bad auditions, rude game show hosts, lousy tippers, Dandy Rio FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Matthew Perry, post re-hab, at the Beverly Connection Starbucks FRAGRANCE OF CHOICE: "Need" NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "My big goal is to mount my own one-woman show by the time I'm forty.   I'm thirty-two now, so I have time."

CLAUDIA NEWTON

OCCUPATION: Unrepresented actress / slinger of hash
TURN-ONS: Making Rice Krispies treats, giving away signed headshots, stalking
TURN-OFFS: Bad auditions, rude game show hosts, lousy tippers, Dandy Rio
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Matthew Perry, post re-hab, at the Beverly Connection Starbucks
FRAGRANCE OF CHOICE: "Need"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "My big goal is to mount my own one-woman show by the time I'm forty.   I'm thirty-two now, so I have time."

MILES TUJUNGA OCCUPATION: Publicist of c-level celebs TURN-ONS: Upward mobility, muscles, Andrew Shue's chicken bone TURN-OFFS: Body hair, people who don't wipe of the gym equipment when they're done FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: kd lang waving Evita-style from the balcony of the Ramada Inn during the Gay Pride parade while Ingrid Casares looked on. FRAGRANCE OF CHOICE: "Starf*cker" NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "You know, I'm pretty small town myself, but with an edge."

MILES TUJUNGA

OCCUPATION: Publicist of c-level celebs
TURN-ONS: Upward mobility, muscles, Andrew Shue's chicken bone
TURN-OFFS: Body hair, people who don't wipe of the gym equipment when they're done
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: kd lang waving Evita-style from the balcony of the Ramada Inn during the Gay Pride parade while Ingrid Casares looked on.
FRAGRANCE OF CHOICE: "Starf*cker"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "You know, I'm pretty small town myself, but with an edge."

ULYSSES WALSH OCCUPATION: Musician TURN-ONS:   Crystals, Joshua Tree, chicks with big long nipples, The Internet TURN-OFFS: Rude doorpeople, get rich quick schemes, doubletalk FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Marilyn Manson buying towels at Bed, Bath and Beyond PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Karma Man" NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "I can't deny my musical dreams any longer."

ULYSSES WALSH

OCCUPATION: Musician
TURN-ONS:   Crystals, Joshua Tree, chicks with big long nipples, The Internet
TURN-OFFS: Rude doorpeople, get rich quick schemes, doubletalk
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Marilyn Manson buying towels at Bed, Bath and Beyond
PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Karma Man"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE: "I can't deny my musical dreams any longer."

DAMON DARLINGTON OCCUPATION: Performer / Plays Aladdin / stripper TURN-ONS: Amusement parks, Morgan Fairchild's teeth, sculpted eyebrows TURN-OFFS: Rules, flying carpets that break down, being teased about his age (20) FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Carnie Wilson at Tacos Tacos PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Ripe" NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "That's the second time this week our carpet got stuck.   The girl who plays Jasmine is still in tears backstage. As you can see, I really go out of my way to ease her pain."

DAMON DARLINGTON

OCCUPATION: Performer / Plays Aladdin / stripper
TURN-ONS: Amusement parks, Morgan Fairchild's teeth, sculpted eyebrows
TURN-OFFS: Rules, flying carpets that break down, being teased about his age (20)
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: Carnie Wilson at Tacos Tacos
PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Ripe"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "That's the second time this week our carpet got stuck.   The girl who plays Jasmine is still in tears backstage. As you can see, I really go out of my way to ease her pain."

VIOLA McGOWAN OCCUPATION: retired screen siren / landlady TURN-ONS: Red wine, crossword puzzles, Academy screening tapes TURN-OFFS: Plastic surgery, rubber rent checks, rap music FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING:   Clark Cable at the foot of her bed, 1946 PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Vicks Vapor Rub" NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "My breasts are real too.   Not like actresses today."

VIOLA McGOWAN

OCCUPATION: retired screen siren / landlady
TURN-ONS: Red wine, crossword puzzles, Academy screening tapes
TURN-OFFS: Plastic surgery, rubber rent checks, rap music
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING:   Clark Cable at the foot of her bed, 1946
PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Vicks Vapor Rub"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "My breasts are real too.   Not like actresses today."

GODFREY SCOTT OCCUPATION: Aspiring rock singer / occasional "Murder, She Wrote" extra TURN-ONS: Jam sessions, McDonalds cheeseburgers, himself TURN-OFFS:   Authority figures, groupies, split ends, confrontation FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: 6:00 AM Angela Lansbury in the make-up trailer PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Nonchalant" NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "Next take, I'm going to pretend my drink's poisoned, seize up and crash dead in the pool just to keep Jessica Fletcher on her toes."

GODFREY SCOTT

OCCUPATION: Aspiring rock singer / occasional "Murder, She Wrote" extra
TURN-ONS: Jam sessions, McDonalds cheeseburgers, himself
TURN-OFFS:   Authority figures, groupies, split ends, confrontation
FAVORITE STAR-SIGHTING: 6:00 AM Angela Lansbury in the make-up trailer
PREFERRED FRAGRANCE: "Nonchalant"
NOTABLE QUOTABLE:   "Next take, I'm going to pretend my drink's poisoned, seize up and crash dead in the pool just to keep Jessica Fletcher on her toes."