by Lawrence Ferber
In Casablanca, Rick assures Ilsa, Well 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 CBSs
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 Dont 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, HBOs 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
youre named after a city, its a good idea
to know what the place really looks like. Ive
been there a lot since then, but Im actually named
after the mythological [character of] ParisI was
played by Orlando Bloom in Troy. He didnt really
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. Id stay in
the Hotel Hana-Maui, not just because its easy
to remember, or because its 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 youll
be better for it. I havent been there since Bette
came to town, but you know shes on the itinerary
for the next trip.
If you could live in any hotel room
youve visited, which would it be?
I would have to rip one out of the Halekulani in
Honolulu. Not the biggest, but its 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. Aint 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 joyespecially when
it came to the ships 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. Thats 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 youve eaten while traveling?
I dont eat local specialties when Im
traveling. Too risky. But seriously, Ive had some
wildly exotic lobster dishes on Antigua, but nothing
compares to the canard a lorange at La Tour Dargent
in Paris, which, so appropriately, translates to The
Tower of Money.
Who would you hire to design the
Paris Barclay Airlines outfits and planes?
Its a tough call. Armani wears well and always
looks good, and hed do a magnificent job coordinating
the interiors. But I would probably have John Varvatos
provide a little more flavor, and Id 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 Id 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 thats a lot to ask, isnt
Your number one travel tip?
If youve got kids like ours, bring the nanny.
If you dont like kids like ours, bring fully-charged,
You can have your last meal in any
restaurant in the world. Which one would you choose?
La Tour Dargent if I wasnt paying.
Popeyes 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
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.