By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
"Oh, fuck that classical shit," Goldstein barks. "Classical is easy. Everyone likes that stuff. What's the fun in that? I want to show you other things, things near and dear to me."
In the dining room, the things near and dear to Bobby Goldstein include a row of glass bulbs carved into uncomfortable clown faces. In his home office hangs French painter R.E. Gillet's L'Avocat (The Lawyer), a dark and abstract image of a figure that, to Goldstein at least, is all tormented head but no heart. Upstairs, stashed away in a bathroom, is a graveyard of paintings. He says it's a collection from another life.
"My wife won't let me put this weird stuff up," he confesses.
The weirdest of the weird stuff includes paintings from death-row murderers. The crown jewel is an original commission from John Wayne Gacy, the killer clown of Chicago.
It's here, among artwork done by fiends, that Goldstein is asked about the pressure he exerted on Margie after she initially balked at a confrontation with her husband. Goldstein gets that rascally twinkle in his eye.
"I know you're trying to get me to say that I'm just doing whatever it takes with the show to get money and fame," he says. "But, shit, I'm not going to say that, because I don't believe it. Sure, who doesn't want success and notoriety? But it's more complex than that. It truly is. And I hope the show's more interesting than that too, or I'm in trouble."
He lifts up one of the canvases. A sinister phantasm stares back.
"I honestly believe this show, as with other forms of art, ultimately casts a light onto an area of life that usually remains hidden and dark. And I think when we allow things to hide in the dark, that's when it festers and spoils. But if you expose it, then people have to look on it for what it is, though it may not always be pretty."
He lets the pile of artwork collapse back against the wall. He is talking about how he knows people will cast him as nothing but a sleaze-mongering voyeur making money off the suffering of others. He might even agree with them. But that will not stop him. He believes his is a just existence, that his is a righteous cause.
"If we do end up on the air, and we do attract an audience, it's because people do find the show interesting," he says. "And that means it speaks to them on some level -- good or bad."
The piece of art in his collection that most speaks to Bobby Goldstein is found outside -- in the yard, in the dark. To see it at night, you have to pull a car around and expose it with the harsh white of halogen lights. It's a group of bronze figures made up of nothing but vulture legs and camera heads.
"You know what they are?" Goldstein asks, the pleasure seeping through his voice. "The paparazzi. Pretty interesting piece of work, isn't it?"
Whether he's asking about the assembly of statues or the television show with which it shares more than a passing resemblance, the answer is the same.
Yes, Bobby, it is.