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FLICKS FILM AND VIDEO NOTES : Celebrity Lips and Slips : Prints of famous kissers go on display, and a cinema buff finds he may be breaking the law.

August 30, 1990|LEO SMITH

Now, for some real lip service:

Autographed prints of the lips of 80 female Hollywood stars including Betty Grable, Ginger Rogers, Donna Reed, Esther Williams and Gypsy Rose Lee will be on display at the Thousand Oaks Library through Sept. 20.

The prints are samples from a collection, exhibited courtesy of Merrie Campbell Powell, daughter of longtime time Hollywood makeup man Clay Powell, who died last year. Powell used the prints as guides when making up his clients.

The lips on display are those of actresses portraying particular characters. "So they might not be what you'd see on their faces at the local market," Campbell Powell said.

Of all the lips in the collection, only one pair belong to a man, comic Joe E. Brown.

Tony Joseph, head of the Ventura Film Society, likes to invite people to his home in the hills behind Ventura High School to watch laser discs in his personal theater. It's a facility equipped with $15,000 worth of Dolby equipment, a six-foot screen, about 300 movies, most of which he has purchased, a marquee, a popcorn machine, a restroom and two exit signs. It seats 16.

His guests include film society members, who meet virtually year-round, as well as people who purchase the dinner-and-movie package that he periodically donates to charity auctions, raising anywhere from $300 to $700.

Joseph says he doesn't charge admission to society members because it is illegal, but he does "ask for a $3 to $4 donation or whatever their conscience suggests," to compensate for the wine and cheese he supplies.

But wait a second. Cut. Take two. Tom Sheil of the Motion Picture Assn. of America has a problem with this.

"It's absolutely against the law," he said. "It makes no difference whether he charges anything or not. He doesn't have the right to publicly perform the movie. If you rent a video you can show it to your family and close friends, but that doesn't mean you can invite 16 strangers." And, Sheil says, it makes no difference whether you own the video or rent it.

Joseph is aware that what he does may be illegal, but he contends that he is too small-time to be a concern for the big movie companies.

"What they really don't want is people copying films," he said. "My brother, who's a lawyer, says it would be a pretty interesting case. He says if I own the disc it seems I should be able to do what I want. Now if I had 10 of these things going then we'd have a problem. But this is so low-key. It's like an ounce of dope."

Sheil agrees to an extent.

"It's against federal law, but let's face it, the facts certainly don't warrant a federal investigation," he said. "But I guarantee I would investigate.

"I'd get our law firm to serve a cease and desist order suggesting that he stop doing it. We would make suggestions as to how he could do it legally and further suggest that if he did not cease and desist there would be further investigation."

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