Monday, July 21, 2008

Heidi Fleiss: The Would-Be Madam of Crystal

Tonight I saw the documentary Heidi Fleiss: The Would Be Madam of Crystal.

I love it when a film makes me think more of the subject—and that's what happened tonight when I saw this glimpse of Heidi's life.

For those living under rocks: Ms. Fleiss ran a very successful escort service in LA for years before she finally got caught in the 90s. Now she's done her time and moved to Nevada (where in some counties, the business she's good at is legal).

In the film, we see that she bought several acres of prime land in a scary wild-west-type town, she owns a laundromat (cleverly titled "Dirty Laundry"), she hired a homeless man to be her assistant (and then fired him), and befriended an elderly woman (Marianne) who was her neighbor, and fell in love with her pet birds along the way.

And did I mention? She wants to open a Stud Farm.

That's right—Stud Farm. As in a place where women would pay MEN to have sex with them.

Genius? Definitely. Risky? Could be that too, but that's not stopping her.

Like any public figure disrupting a small town, Heidi has friends and foes. A female saloon owner says behind her back and to her face she doesn't want the brothel built; other residents at a local swap meet greet her very warmly with smiles of support.

You want to shake the townspeople who are against it because they think "women won't buy sex."

What they don't realize is that even if they don't, they'll come and gawk at those who will, which means stops at all of the local restaurants, hotels and gas stations. They could make a lot of money off of Heidi's notoriety.

In her favor is her gift for business (this is a woman who started a babysitting ring when she was 14), her ability to research (she clearly does her homework), her political savvy and her genuine good heart (I think she actually has one).

Playing against her are her drug habits (you get the sense she's not done using), her manipulative tendencies and her self-imposed isolation.

She clearly wants relationships (though she claims not to) and anyone who witnesses her around her birds could see that she has love to give.

It makes you wonder if someone reached out to her, what she really could become.


Joe said...

I saw this last night on HBO and I have to admit I was intrigued as well by the documentary. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I really enjoyed this doc for some reason.

The MooCow said...

Good stuff! This came out of left field for me and made me look at the subject matter in a new light. Seeing the notorious Hollywood Madam breaking down and crying over poor Daulton the bird was really a touching moment, and helps flesh out a media caricature into a 3-dimensional human being. Kudos to the directors!