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Roseanne on Zen and the Art of Freaking Out

May 12, 1999|IRENE LACHER

It was your typical L.A. circus sideshow: There was a stage with a tattooed stripper and fire eater, a booth for knock-'em-down, win-something-you-don't-need games, another booth for Roseanne. We decided to chat with our favorite oddity, Roseanne, who had just taken her evening's constitution. She had gone for a walk on George the Giant. When he was lying on a bed of nails, no less.

We decided to tread carefully. Do you feel like you're in your milieu? we asked La Roseanne.

She nodded. "Circus freaks, celebrities, it's all the same thing. Circus freaks are celebrities too, except they're more Zen about it. I think they understand that their celebrity matters more than they do, whereas the Hollywood celebrity thinks it's the other way around. I have more of an affinity with freaks, I think. I consider myself to be a big freak."

Hey, a freak with her own TV talk show is nothing to sneeze at.

"I know. I feel like I'm a resistance fighter behind the lines. I'm doing pirate TV."

Oh, yes. Since this was an L.A. circus sideshow, it was being televised. Roseanne had set up camp to interview other freaks and celebrities, edgy young 'uns like Robert Downey Jr., Drew Barrymore and Shannen Doherty. Doherty was the guest of honor of Thursday's event, dubbed Circus Maximus, because she's Maxim magazine's cover girl for June, and the evening did double duty as a huge lapel-grabbing bash to draw attention to the fast-rising men's magazine.

The teeming party sprawled across the Hollywood Athletic Club and the alley outside. In a tiny, guarded room overlooking the dance floor area, which had once been a swimming pool graced by Esther Williams, Doherty played with her friends.

We asked the star of the WB series "Charmed," who's been called difficult, how things were going with her image rehab.

"Things are going great with it. I think the public has changed and the only people who don't seem to want to let it go are the media. Nobody wants to hear about it anymore. They're bored, and they want the media to come up with something else."

How do you want the press to think of you?

"You know, it doesn't matter to me. As long as I'm happy with myself, I could care less."

Well, ba-bye, now. Don't forget to write.

*

When Robin and Susan Richards of Calabasas learned their 2 1/2-year-old son, Chase, had a brain tumor seven years ago, the end came stunningly quickly.

"From diagnosis to death was 14 days," Robin Richards said last week. "It was really powerful. So that night, I looked at my wife and said, 'We're going to dedicate the rest of our lives to spreading his name.' "

Chase's name was on the invitations that lured hundreds of art collectors to the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on Thursday for an auction featuring work by such artists as John Baldessari, Lita Albuquerque and Robert Graham. The event benefited the Chase Foundation, a charity his parents started to provide art and play therapy for seriously ill children. The foundation operates two facilities at Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles as well as a mobile unit and is planning to launch more.

The auction was organized by a kindred spirit--Maurice Tuchman, curator emeritus of the L.A. County Museum of Art's 20th century art department, who was assisted by art historian Mariana Amatullo. Currently the director of the new Center for Healing & Art project, Tuchman is working with major medical facilities to study the impact of art in hospital settings.

"Art can reduce anxiety and blood pressure, and make you feel more at one with the rest of mankind," Tuchman says. "So one is likely to regain a sense of the beauty of life and regain the will to live and the power to distance oneself from pain. Art can do a lot of magical things."

Irene Lacher's Out & About column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on Page 2. She can be reached by e-mail at socalliving@latimes.com.

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