the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: Tom Cruise

Is it Tom Cruise’s Sport Jacket?


I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I haven’t been adding my “A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month”‘s at the end of my posts for the last few days. The reason is because when I look at my archives, I see that the first anniversary of my father’s passing is coming up, and I’m avoiding looking at the archives. The last few days have been depressing. Since the Jewish calendar is different than ours, my father’s memorial day was on Monday. That’s right — on 9/11. I lit my father’s “yahrzeit” candle in Los Angeles, and my mother lit hers in New York. I couldn’t deal with reading all of the 9/11 blog posts until Tuesday, which made me depressed two days in a row.

Even my recent posts seem grouchy. Sophia’s job has been extended another week or two and I’m forgetting what a woman smells like. I would be miserable if my friend Barry didn’t come to town on business. He is a friend from New York who I have known since kindergarten. Yesterday, we met up for dinner.

Remember when you were a kid you could spend the whole day having “adventures,” but when you got home and your mother asked, “What did you do?” you answered, “Nothing.”

It was that kind of “wild” night.

The night actually did start out with a bang. We were stopped by the police on La Cienega Boulevard. The reason: My registration sticker was one month old! Woo-hoo, I’m a rebel! I looked the cop in the eyes and said, “F**k you LAPD pig! I’m no Rodney King!” And then I meekly said, “I’ll take care of this immediately, Officer,” and he let me go.

Next up: Barry thought he had an ear infection. Rather than going to the hospital, he suggested we go to this “walk-in” clinic in Beverly Hills. I didn’t even know they had these things. We met with some friendly Iranian doctor, who gave Barry a prescription for antibiotics. We headed over to Walgreens for the pills, but they said it would take three hours.

Three hours! What do two Jewish guys from Queens do? We walked to Pico Kosher Deli and ate some of our favorites. We flirted with the cute waitress and tried to figure out if she was Jewish or a non-Jewish actress acting Jewish as her role of deli waitress.

As we ate our soup, we discussed 9/11 and why so many people think Bush knew about the attacks ahead of time and did nothing, wanting it to happen as an excuse to go into Iraq. We decided that the only way for this conspiracy to work would be if both the Bush and the previous Clinton administrations were in cahoots, which would at least show some bipartisan cooperation.

After our meal, we discovered this cool used clothing store that sold wardrobe pieces from major films and television shows. Most of the clothes was very high-end and looked like they had only been worn once or twice. Barry bought a nice Perry Ellis sport jacket for $35 that originally starred in Mission Impossible 2.

We went back to Walgreens, but still had an hour to kill. So, we spent the time wandering in and out of the aisles, playing with products. We talked about which razors we both used. We agreed that Swifter is overpriced for what it does. When we noticed that Barry had a mustard stain on his shirt, we experimented with different “spot removers,” but nothing worked. We read Us Weekly, Star Magazine, and Black Men Magazine. Finally, Barry got his antibiotics and downed it with some Gatorade.

We hung around for another half hour, sitting on the trunk of my car. Barry got cold, so he put on his new sport jacket. We wondered who could have worn the sport jacket in Mission Impossible 2. Was it Tom Cruise’s sports jacket? Anthony Hopkins? Or was it just some extra in the background?

There was only one way to find out!

We walked over to Blockbuster, rented Mission Impossible 2, and went back to my place. We watched the movie in slow motion, our only purpose being to FIND THAT SPORT JACKET! Unfortunately, this was so tedious a job that we both fell asleep with the TV still on.

Fun!  Eat your heart out, Sophia.

Larry King and the Baby Photos


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, for the first time on TV, we see the photos of probably the most famous baby in the world today. And we meet the editor who spent hours with this baby’s famous parents. What was that like? What were they like?

It’s all next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Good evening. We’re here with our special guest — Neil Kramer, the features editor of Citizen of the Month. He’s in Los Angeles, having spent an enormous amount of time admiring, observing, and photographing Su Lin, the new baby panda cub at the San Diego Zoo, as well as spending time with her well-known parents, Bai Yum and Gao Gao. How did you get this unique opportunity?


NEIL KRAMER, EDITOR OF CITIZEN OF THE MONTH: It’s incredible isn’t it? I had been in touch with the giant panda parents for quite a while and finally they called me and said I should come down to the zoo. I spend hours there and I had unprecedented access to their home. I was able to go in every room. No door was closed to me. It was unbelievable that Bai Yun and Gao Gao let me into their private life like that. It was absolutely something that I was so excited to be a part of.

KING: Did you expect to be at the panda exhibit all day?

KRAMER: No actually. I expected to only spend an hour or two, and then, you know, the shoot just kept getting more and more interesting and we all were having such a great time.

KING: The photo you used on your blog looks like an emotional shot for Bai Yun and Gao Gao, any particular reason the way it was shot that way and why you picked that for the main photo?


KRAMER: Yes. That’s a fabulous story. I was at the favorite spot of the family, which is called Panda Village. The sun was setting. The baby panda was looking straight at the camera. Bai Yun and Gao Gao were looking down at the baby and I shot that picture. And, at that moment, everyone became a little bit emotional because we knew we had it. That was definitely going to be the blog photo. There was no question about it.

KING: The grandmother I understand got emotional, huh?

KRAMER: Yes. Gao Gao’s mother was looking at her granddaughter and her future daughter-in-law to be and she started to cry. And then all of us started to get really emotional. And, Gao Gao was fighting back the tears. We talked about that moment later and he said he just — it was all so much and the beauty of the place. It was incredible.

KING: Feeding the baby that giant piece of bamboo was that photo — set up?


KRAMER: No, the baby was hungry, and the sun was starting to set and she just felt like doing that and it was a great moment.

KING: Gao Gao said this to you about fatherhood. “My whole life I always wanted to be a father.” Was that evident in the way he was?

KRAMER: Absolutely. I was so happy to see this family all so happy together, hanging out together, so comfortable with each other. They just are happy. They’re smiling all the time. They love to tell stories. They’re a very warm and open family.

KING: What was it like for you the first time you saw Sui Lin?

KRAMER: Well, I walked up and I saw this beautiful woman holding this adorable baby and then Gao Gao standing next to — and they’re all waving at me and they’re so excited that I was there. And the baby looked exactly to me like Gao Gao. And I just couldn’t wait to hold the baby, which I did.

KING: I love this photo. Of mother and daughter.


KRAMER: That is a beautiful shot. You can see how happy they all are and the baby… as you can see lifting her head. She’s gorgeous.

KING: Is that baby as happy as she appears?

KRAMER: That baby is smiling and cooing and giggling. It’s a really happy baby, yes, it is.

KING: A quote from Bai Yun, “The moment the doctor handed me Su Lin, I was just ready. The feeling is indescribable. All I can say is the moment I looked in her eyes I felt like Mom.”


KING: What kind of mom is she?

KRAMER: Bai Yun is an incredible mother just the way she holds that baby and looks at — that baby looks at her. They have such a connection. She’s very hands on. They have very little help, you know. Actually, they’re very — they’re a very normal family. I mean what you read in the zoo promotional materials and then when you see them it’s just there’s no connection. It’s just this great, happy family. I can’t — I can’t stress enough how normal the whole thing seemed and I know I was with the biggest attraction in the San Diego zoo. But I keep coming back to the fact that, you know, when they’re holding their baby they’re like every parent in the world, you know, doting parents.

KING: Is Bai Yun a Buddhist or is she becoming one to please Gao Gao?

KRAMER: I really don’t know that, Larry.

KING: Did you discuss that at all?

KRAMER: I did not discuss that at all, no.

KING: Was that a condition of the blog post or not?

KRAMER: Oh, no. There were no conditions at all, no, no, no.

KING: Neil Kramer, you pulled off a coup.

KRAMER: Yes, to see a baby like that… born… from a mother… and loved by parents… it’s so special nowadays to see that… so unique and amazing…

KING: Thanks, Neil.

KRAMER: Thank you, Larry.

(based on CNN transcript of Larry King and Vanity Fair editor Jane Sarkin “discussing” the Suri Cruise photos in Vanity Fair)

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Love Songs

I Slept With Tom Cruise


In light of all the emails going around saying that Tom Cruise is everywhere doing everything with everyone, including having an affair with Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas, I’ve decided to ‘fess up myself.

I was enjoying my ice blended at the Brentwood Coffee Bean, when all of a sudden, Tom Cruise walked in, got a green tea, and sat at a nearby table.   Now, I’m one of his biggest fans, so I took a deep breath and got enough nerve to go over to him.  I told him how much I adored his work, and then I started rambling.  I told him that I used to wear those ‘Risky Business" Ray-Ban sunglasses around my neighborhood in Queens — just so I could look more like him.  He laughed and invited me to sit down.

As we chatted and talked about the ups and downs of Los Angeles life, I started getting nervous again.  Here I was sitting with one of the world’s biggest stars!  I reached into my pocket and took out my Prozac.  He angrily knocked away my bottle.

Don’t you realize you don’t need that?!  Did a psychiatrist give you that?  Don’t you know psychiatry isn’t a science?  I’ve studied the history of psychiatry, so I know.   Have you ever read Dianetics?

He told me all about Scientology, and you know what — when he explained it to me in his soothing voice, it all started to make a lot of sense.

The next thing I knew, I was in bed with Tom Cruise.  I’m not gay, but this is Tom Cruise.  And he says he’s not gay either.  Tom is a very caring lover.  Even though he is shorter than I realized, he’s not short at all in the places where it counts (if you know what I mean).

In the morning, he made me a delicious nutritious breakfast made with organic ingredients, including waffles and freshly squeezed orange juice.  We then sat in his screening room and watched his favorite movie, "Top Gun" on DVD.  We both laughed a lot at Kelly McGillis’ wooden performance and had an all around wonderful time.  My experience with Tom Cruise was the second greatest moment of my life, after my bar mitzvah.

Tom and Kate

Mickey Rooney

Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland

The big Hollywood gossip of the day is that Tom Cruise is dating Katie Holmes.  Some think it is a fake, such as the gossipmeisters at the New York Post:

But some folks in the know believe the sudden romance may be little more than a carefully orchestrated publicity stunt — created to drum up press for the pair, both of whom just happen to have movies coming out in June.

Holmes is starring in “Batman Begins,” which debuts June 15. Two weeks later, on June 29, Cruise will be seen in Steven Spielberg’s remake of the sci-fi classic “War of the Worlds.”

If this is really a publicity stunt, there is a long tradition of this in Hollywood, going as far back as Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney’s “dating” for the press.

Since I am currently looking for a new job, let me finally make it public that I am currently dating Jennifer Aniston.

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