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Paris Barclay
by Lawrence Ferber

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In Casablanca, Rick assures Ilsa, “We’ll always have Paris.”
In fact, Paris is sitting in our VIP Lounge right now. A proudly out African-American TV and film director/producer/writer, Paris Barclay has blazed an award-winning trail in the industry for almost two decades. Currently First VP of the Board of Directors for the Directors Guild of America, he won two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Directing on NYPD Blue, and garnered a NAACP Image Award for Best Drama Series for CBS’s City of Angels, which he co-created, wrote, and worked on as principal director. His extensive directorial credits include hit series Lost, House, ER, CSI, The West Wing, The Shield, and the 1996 feature film Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Most recently, the Harvey, Illinois-raised, Los Angeles-based Barclay co-executive produced and directed episodes of In Treatment, HBO’s addictive series about a therapist and his patients (including Blair Underwood as a sexually-confused Navy pilot). Barclay and partner Christopher Mason are parents of two children, Cyrus (5) and William (3).

What was the first foreign country you ever visited?
Paris, France, in my 20s. When everyone believes you’re named after a city, it’s a good idea to know what the place really looks like. I’ve been there a lot since then, but I’m actually named after the mythological [character of] Paris—I was played by Orlando Bloom in Troy. He didn’t really “get” me.

Having directed episodes of a show about therapy, what destination, resort, or vacation spot would you visit for a bit of mind and soul cleansing?
Hana, Maui, without question. I’d stay in the Hotel Hana-Maui, not just because it’s easy to remember, or because it’s the only big hotel on that side of the island, but because it has been renovated to within an inch of its life and remains the pool of bliss it always was, rain or shine.

You directed episodes of CSI, which takes place in Las Vegas. What is a Las Vegas must?
Zumanity. Hot. Or Elton John and his Red Piano. Or Michael Mina [restaurant] at the Bellagio. The food is almost too beautiful to eat, but you will and you’ll be better for it. I haven’t been there since Bette came to town, but you know she’s on the itinerary for the next trip.

If you could live in any hotel room you’ve visited, which would it be?
I would have to rip one out of the Halekulani in Honolulu. Not the biggest, but it’s among the best designed. Peaceful, ergonomic, maybe even sensual. For size, we once stayed in what I believe was called the “Truman Suite” in the Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco. It was several thousand square feet with a baby grand piano, a television room, a table that seated 12, and two bedrooms. They cut it up into smaller rooms now, I hear. Ain’t what it used to be.

What is your most memorable experience mixing with locals while traveling?
We just came off the R Family cruise to the Mexican Riviera, and it was a total joy—especially when it came to the ship’s crew. We bonded with Ishlah, our ever-present steward, who was from Indonesia, and Tamas, our Hungarian waiter in the fine dining restaurant aboard the Holland America Osterdam. We learned all about their contracts and families and how they handle this work. It was quite interesting. That’s as local as we got, since there was so much to do with Rosie and her friends that we rarely left the ship!

What is the most unusual or amazing local specialty you’ve eaten while traveling?
I don’t eat local specialties when I’m traveling. Too risky. But seriously, I’ve had some wildly exotic lobster dishes on Antigua, but nothing compares to the canard a l’orange at La Tour D’argent in Paris, which, so appropriately, translates to “The Tower of Money.’’

Who would you hire to design the Paris Barclay Airline’s outfits and planes?
It’s a tough call. Armani wears well and always looks good, and he’d do a magnificent job coordinating the interiors. But I would probably have John Varvatos provide a little more flavor, and I’d do the interiors myself. Pods for everyone!

If you could choose any one convenience or comfort on a coach class flight, what would it be?
The only time my family flies coach is on JetBlue, so I’d go with their DirectTV-in-the-back-of-the-seats deal. With a sci-fi/news junkie husband and two under-fives happy with anything animated, violent, or both, it makes traveling much more bearable.

What place should gay people visit as a political act?
Iran. But that’s a lot to ask, isn’t it?

Your number one travel tip?
If you’ve got kids like ours, bring the nanny. If you don’t like kids like ours, bring fully-charged, noise-canceling headphones.

You can have your last meal in any restaurant in the world. Which one would you choose?
La Tour D’argent if I wasn’t paying. Popeye’s if I was. Both are quite satisfying, in completely different ways.

If you could meet with anyone from the past, who would it be, where would you meet, and why?
J. D. Salinger, wherever he lives, to ask, “Yo, J. D., whaddup, my man? You writing anything?”

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you hope to find there?
God, love, and chocolate.

[Published: August, 2008]

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Mr. Barclay Please read my materials? THE MOST BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN ANTIQUITY CABLE NETWORK TELEVISION EPISODIC DRAMA SERIES “She Was Not, Just Another Ancient Egyptian Hottie.” Queen Nefertiti uses her beauty to obtain power...
- Kem Royale , Milwaukee, WI US A

I am wondering if "Chris Mason" is the one I know that visited Toronto about 15 years ago. He was here for several years and I am trying to track him down... he may remember me, Alex and Eddie.... Thanks
- Sean , Toronto, Canada

Hi Paris...I remember you from Ascension grade school in Harvey, Il. So wonderful to see local guy make it your work. Dorothy Roome Segar
- dorothy , agoura hills, ca

Would like to speak to Paris concerning a Gospel Musical dealing with hypocrisy and homophobia in the African-American church The musical will stimulate and challange what you thought you knew about the Bible reagarding Gay/Lesbian issues.
- Warren Sims , New York, New York

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