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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cirque du Soleil Plans Michael Jackson Show

From Hollywood on-line daily publication "the Wrap"

Michael Jackson Cirque Show will tour arenas in 2011, add permanent Las Vegas version in 2012

After building shows around the Beatles and Elvis Presley, Cirque du Soleil's next big star-driven show will focus on the late Michael Jackson.
The Quebec-based circus troupe has made a deal with the Jackson estate for the creation, development and production of Michael Jackson projects based on the King of Pop's music and songs.
An arena-touring show is expected to debut in late fall 2011. That show, which Cirque says will allow fans to "experience the excitement of a Michael Jackson concert," is expected to have an extended Las Vegas run in conjunction with longtime Cirque partner MGM Mirage.
A permanent Las Vegas show, also in partnership with MGM Mirage, is expected to open in late 2012. Details of location and plans for that permanent venue will be announced by MGM Mirage at a later date.
Special lifestyle projects, including a nightclub to open with the Las Vegas show, also will be developed.

Eddie Foy III Seeking Talent for MDA Telethon


[VARIETY PERFORMERS] Eddie Foy III will once again be the Executive Talent Consultant for this year's Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon. We will be searching the country for those excellent, entertaining & undiscovered acts which are the trademark of this television event. Dance groups, street performers, Latin groups, drill teams, singers, comics, big bands, choirs, animal acts, magicians, illusionists, impersonators, Doo Wop performers, cyclists, circus performers, jugglers, tumblers, drum lines & any act that will make the phone ring. This telethon is the last television event of its kind. We are always looking to present the utmost in family entertainment.


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Manufacturing Actors or Capturing Performance Essence?

Performance Capture

SAG Creates Committee to Address Performance Capture

Performance Capture is how we, as talent, prefer to look upon what the industry calls "motion capture." It involves the capture for computers of large and subtle movements fed into a computer bank and altered to fit the needs of the scene, the character generated by the computer or the whim of the film maker. It is far more than capturing an image. Performance Capture involves capturing the heart and soul of a performance and a performers talents for use later in a the new technology of computer generated imagery.

Another way of looking at it is The use of an actor to create the actions or to act our movements and scenes which are then digitized and used as the basis of a “computer generated” character or object. Also known as “Movement Capture” or“Motion Capture”. Actors are championing the term “performance capture” because it implies an actor’s creative control over character through movement and performance. Producers go for the more technical “motion capture” because it implies that the real art and creation is not in the movements caught on the computer, but in the work done by technicians on characters who never existed in the “real world.”

To deal with this new media growth area, the Screen Actors Guild has formed a Performance Capture Committee. I serve on that committee as an alternate, due to my status as co-chair or New Technologies and a members of the New Media Task Force. The Screen Actors Guild reports on the formation of the committee. Currently we are looking for performers who have actively worked on performance capture projects to work with the committee and the Guild. 

"In December, we had a meeting of performance capture actors both in feature film and video games at SAG and we opened it up to anyone who ever worked in that field, whether union or non-union,” said Woody Schultz, National Performance Committee Chair. “It was mainly to hear from actors who had experience, the positive and negative, and if there were issues that they felt needed to be addressed. It was a forum for people to speak their minds and ask questions and offer information.”
The meeting, organized by the TV/Theatrical Standing Committee and Contracts Department staff, proved a productive exchange of information. Out of that meeting, the committee was recommended. The National Board agreed and officially formed the committee at its winter plenary earlier this year.
After spearheading the December meeting, Schultz was named by the board as national chair of the committee. Schultz has extensive experience in this area, including work on films such as BeowulfThe Polar Express and Avatar.

The committee hopes to raise awareness about this important area of work and will investigate and give voice to the unique concerns and experiences of those members rendering performances across all media that are recorded using performance capture technology.

The Spring edition of Screen Actor Magazine will include a series of stories caputuring the essence of the art from a performers perspective.


If you do not read books your attention span suffers and your ability to reason through complex problems decreases.

Boom Times for Young Workers

From the Wall Street Journal:
As companies adjust to operating with leaner staffs, many young professionals have been handed new responsibilities typically reserved for employees with more work experience under their belts. Millennial workers, typically in their 20s and early 30s, are being pressured to do more for different reasons. Many companies are reducing labor costs and younger workers with less experience are cheaper than more experienced workers... Some younger employees are faced with higher-level work after surviving a round of layoffs that affected higher ranking colleagues. Others are being asked to do more as companies rethink their business models in the recession. For some it's a boon to their careers, but for others, it can be a lesson in how not to get in over your head. How younger workers are both benefiting and burning out in the new job market, is the topic of a feature in Today's Wall Street Journal: click here.  Illustration from Wall Street Journal.

Who stands up for the real middle class in today's debates?


By James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Published in the Detroit News, April 14, 2010
Today, I am honored to inaugurate the “Labor Leaders on Labor” lecture series at Wayne State University.
Sometimes it’s a challenge for me to step outside of my role as a union leader and comment objectively about the significance of organized labor. After all, I was born into a Teamster family. I’ve been walking Teamster picket lines and attending union meetings my entire life.
One hard fact stands out though: America was the first country ever where a majority of its citizens joined the middle class. Labor unions created that middle class. Today, no country in the world has ever had a strong middle class without a strong labor movement.
And like all social movements, the labor movement was born fighting.
To end slavery, it took a war. For women’s suffrage, it took marching in the streets. For civil rights, it took civil disobedience.
Middle-class prosperity wasn’t a gift to working families from the government. It wasn’t something that workers got from employers after pleasant chats in the boardroom. Middle-class prosperity was the direct result of a long and difficult struggle. People fought and died for fair wages, safe workplaces and the right to join together in a union.
Detroit had the highest concentration of single-family home ownership in the country after World War II. That was because of the wages that unionized factory workers earned. Many other middle-class workers benefited from Detroit’s postwar housing boom. Real estate agents, mortgage loan officers and hardware store owners owed their prosperity to the workers who marched, organized and went on strike before the war. 
Samuel Gompers was right when he said you have to choose sides. There is no middle of the road for the middle class. But too often middle-class Americans forget that their economic interest is bound to unions.
The plutocrats who run our corporations want it that way. It’s in their interest for non-union, middle-class Americans to blame unions for the problems in our economy. But the fact is we’re in this together. The fate of the middle class is tied to the fate of the union movement.
Nobody is fighting for America’s working families except for unions.When unions are under siege, the middle class is under siege. And the middle class is under siege in a very big way. The gap between rich and poor is widening. Real wages are stagnant, the costs of health care and tuition are through the roof and millions of jobs are leaving our shore. Millions of families are falling out of the middle class.   
Unions are more relevant than ever. In the past two years, the Teamsters organized nearly 80,000 workers. We’re working overtime to save good jobs in core industries, like carhaulers, auto workers and truck drivers. We’re fighting for pension relief and financial reform. We’re lobbying hard for bills that create jobs, reform labor law and reverse our misguided trade policy.
We still have to fight to get a fair shake. We will lose everything that we have gained if we don’t.