George Christy Talks About Nick Stabler, Dumb & Dumber, Jakarta, Mitzi Gaynor, Professional Dancers Society And More!
At 21, the world is yours. As it’s been this year for Beverly Hills native Nick Stabler, the handsome son of Steve Stabler, co-producer of those riotous classics Dumb And Dumber and Kingpin. Mom is Amy Bolker Stabler. Nick returned last week from a youthful sojourn abroad.
A plucky adventurer, with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Michigan State, Nick plotted a two-month backpacking trip to Southeast Asia with classmate Ethan Goldsmith. “Our backpacks were twelve pounds each,” he says. “We traveled on the cheap, tightly budgeted on $900 a month … living in youth hostels, and staying in areas where indoor plumbing remains non-existent. Unimaginable how primitive life is for millions of people – you haven’t any idea until you experience it personally. Coming home to the comfort and luxury we enjoy here is like being on another planet.
“We bought a guidebook, which helped us figure out our itinerary. We stopped in Tokyo, and briefly visited Singapore, the cleanest city anywhere, and the most advanced technologically. Mammoth skyscrapers. A very diverse citizenry. Europeans, Americans, South Americans. Booming financially, and competing with Hong Kong.
“We flew Air Asia, which is great. Easy to get in and out of airports, not like the U.S. We also took overnight 10-hour trains and day-long buses to get to our destinations.
“Indonesia’s shockingly poor … if you speak English, you’re a rock star. Everyone wants to shake your hand, and practice speaking the language, their goal being that English will lead to a better job.
“In Jakarta, we attended a Swedish House Mafia concert, our tickets were forty cents. The country’s massive Buddhist temples are a must-see. Over one hundred feet high, a block long, everything hand-carved.
“In Bangkok, anything goes. Sex for sale. Wherever and whenever. Cab prices are dicey, best to establish a price before the ride. Street food’s delicious. An order of pad Thai is $1.50. You may rent $2 rooms for four hours. Traffic was the worst we encountered, L.A.’s 405 freeway’s nothing compared to Bangkok’s rush hour.
“My favorite spot in Thailand are the Thai islands. Beautiful beaches with monthly Full Moon Parties. We stayed five days, and I’ll vacation there someday with my girlfriend Steffie.
“Myanmar’s poorer than Indonesia. We rented bikes, ate noodles and mystery meat. Street beggars wherever you go. The must-sees are its magnificent gold pagodas.
“In Vietnam, there’s a floating market in Hanoi. We met backpackers in their twenties, and found any number of backpacking Europeans who were 50 and 60 years old. No Americans.
“In Cambodia, we saw the Killing Fields … they say Angkor Wat’s the largest Hindu temple in the world. A great discovery from a trip like ours is learning patience when trying to understand the mind-set of the different cultures. Also, that one needs to persevere.
“It’s wonderful to be back in the world of clean bedsheets … yet I wouldn’t hesitate to return to see how the Southeast Asian countries are developing.”
In September, Nick begins work with the prestigious international firm of Ernst and Young in New York.
“Please join us for pizza and wine at Nonna of Italy,” read the invitation from philanthropist Joni Berry, a guardian angel for Share’s youngsters in need and for the Professional Dancers Society that aids out-of-work hoofers when their bodies give out. Always a good-time event, the annual PDS luncheon gala, emceed by president Mitzi Gaynor, will honor Ben Vereen on March 24th at The Beverly Hilton. Count on Joni to underwrite the luncheon.
This time around, Joni, heiress to her parents’ Eichenbaum Foundation, was celebrating the publication of Ambition by Stephen Maitland-Lewis at Nonna, where manager Oscar Rios is proud that it’s a favorite with the Di Caprio family (father George and son Leonardo) whose production offices are in Nonna’s Sunset Boulevard building.
Stephen was autographing Ambition nonstop for Mitzi Gaynor and her escort, dancer Steven Byrket, Florence Henderson, Barbara Lazaroff, Corinna Fields, Lois Aldrin, Joan and Tom Kardashian, Helen Grayco, Norm Crosby with good-looking son Andrew (“in the oil business”), The Courier’s Marcia Hobbs and John Seitz.
Ambition is Stephen’s fifth absorbing and entertaining novel, peopled with envious and greedy cads and their screw-you shenanigans. The author’s the popular and enthusiastic Brit who’s wed to Joni Berry (her fifth husband, and his third marriage).
At Nonna that evening, Joni related the saga of their courtship. That Stephen pursued around the clock. Flattering, but no dice. Joan Benny ultimately gave him Joni’s phone number. He called. A date was out of the question. “After he sent flowers, I didn’t want to be rude … I phoned to thank him,” says Joni. “He insisted we meet. Brunch. I explain I’m not much of a brunch girl. Okay, we meet at the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood.
“I still can’t believe that all through our meal Lady Luck kept ringing loud bells. We wed, and, as the world knows, are having the time of our lives. Who do we thank? Fate, perhaps?”
Born and educated in England, Stephen studied law, served as an attorney (solicitor) in London before moving into international investment banking. Also financially advising the royal family of Kuwait. His career resume is mighty impressive.
Kitty Kelley, whose investigative books about royals and celebrities are bestsellers, hails Ambition as “a financial thriller that rocks and rolls with sex and skull-druggery, and more money than Midas can count. A former investment banker, Stephen writes masterfully about a leading commercial bank with his insider’s knowledge of embezzlement. Chilling!”
“Stephen steals the sins that caused the financial meltdown, weaving them into this fascinating mystery story,” adds former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.
“Although fictional,” reflects Stephen. “Ambition’s based on my experiences watching the trickery and duplicity paving the golden road of Wall Street. Surprises are in store, they’ll keep you guessing.”