LOS ANGELES — Any Hollywood agent who’s ever needed a lesson in multitasking and speed talking should take a memo from hairstylist Jonathan Antin. A typical phone conversation with him goes something like this: “I’m really great, just nuts. I’m going through my messages, then getting in the car, then going to pick out sisal or sea grass for the salon — most likely sea grass — then talking to the Pussycat Dolls [the burlesque dance troupe founded by his sister Robin] about their hair, then talking to Kate Bosworth [one of his many celebrity clients] about her hair then doing an interview and that’s just about 20 minutes of my morning.”
As of June 8, the whole country will be privy to these cell-phone missives, and every other aspect of the salon owner’s life when his reality show, “Blow Out,” premieres on Bravo. Like “The Restaurant,” which was also created by Ben Silverman, “Blow Out” follows a mogul in the making as he opens his second door, Jonathan Beverly Hills, while hopping back and forth from Jonathan West Hollywood.
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“Anyone who’s ever gotten a haircut knows it’s beauty, therapy, comedy and drama at its best,” says Antin, who originally wrote a treatment for a salon-based variety show with his writer-producer brother, Steve. But Antin has grown accustomed to having two cameramen and a sound technician hovering 10 feet away from 8 a.m., when he leaves his house, to 9 p.m., when he returns.
Last week Antin arrived on set (aka the salon, which has been open since March 24) with the usual flurry of crew activity. “He’s driving up, and he’s on the war path,” a tech radios to the crew from a trailer parked out back. “I think he’s gonna give us great stuff today!”
The production wraps in a few days, and Antin is a little disappointed. “Now that they’re starting to clear out, I’m thinking, ‘Where are they going? I’m just getting warm,’” he says. But the network needs time for the all-important editing process, which will eventually reveal the juicy interpersonal workings between Antin and his 12 telegenic stylists and assistants, as well as cameos by celebrity clients like Kirsten Dunst and Jay Leno, and — gasp! — a firing. “I can get a little upset now and then,” Antin admits. “I’m a crazy intense person like any other artist. I freak out and I scream. But I bark, I don’t bite. I’m a big pussycat.”
In addition to the irresistible voyeuristic drama, what makes “Blow Out” so appealing is that Antin is a terrific character. “I was always the black sheep at Beverly Hills High,” he says. “I had tattoos and was a bit of a ruffian. But then I saw ‘Shampoo’ and ended up in beauty school. Who knew?”
— Marcy Medina