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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Meet the original Lois Lane: Joann Siegel



Though a number of actresses played her on television and in the movies over the years, Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel always said that his wife Joanne inspired the character of Lois Lane. It began with the dreams of a teenage Cleveland girl who wanted to be in show business — a tall order for the daughter of a steelworker in the midst of the Depression. Siegel was ready to go after her dreams, despite the challenges.
"She wanted to be a model, so she put an ad in the paper advertising herself as a model," explains Brad Ricca, a pop-culture historian at Case Western University in Cleveland.
Jerry Siegel and his artist buddy Joe Shuster answered that ad and invited Joanne to come to Joe's home for a modeling session, under the watchful eye of Joe's mom. As Joe sketched some images, the men told her about their dreams for a comic-book superhero — and how they wanted to give him a love interest. The three of them became fast friends, and Jerry and Joanne eventually married.
The woman who inspired Lois Lane, Joanne Siegel. passed away today at the age of 93.

Disney raises wholesale price on Redbox and Netflix

From Company Town, LA Times Blog.


Amid calls from some on Wall Street to choke off the supply of newly released DVDs to discount movie rental services, Walt Disney Co. has quietly decided to hike its wholesale prices on new-release DVDs for Redbox and Netflix, according to people familiar with the matter.

The move marks a subtle shift in Disney's relationship with Netflix and Redbox, and one that stands in contrast with most of Hollywood's dealings with the two rental giants. Other studios have refused to supply DVDs to Netflix and Redbox until 28 days after they are released out of concern that low-cost rentals will undercut DVD sales. Disney, on the other hand, all along has been supplying Netflix and Redbox with DVDs at the same time they go on sale, albeit at a lower price.
Disney will now charge Redbox and Netflix the full wholesale rate -- as much as $17.99 -- for its DVDs, the people said. That's more than studios often charge their largest wholesale customers and less than big retailers like Wal-Mart charge consumers for the popular new releases.

CSN Review Links for week of 2/21/11

Spite on the Internet

While the action of Justin Bieber fans dwarfs this, I would like to share on example of spite and the nature of the Internet, drawing egos more than facts and special interests more than knowledge.

I am an administrator on several web sites and on several Facebook pages. They are not my pages or web sites. I am either paid or a volunteer to add information, comment and edit postings for these sites. I am not the sole administrator, but part of a team in each case.

On two sites I have had my post taken off almost immediately by another "administrator". I was selected for these due to my expertise and contacts in theater. The administrator with the gripe on one site is in NYC, and very New York centric. Post are removed because they are for theater in the southwest, including Las Vegas, a place this NYC based administrator considers a wasteland and a danger to theater.

On another much more local site, I am removed because I have my own blog  (SAGACTOR-BLOGSPOT), and because locally I am active in the Screen Actors Guild. They consider anything I post as being a promotion for SAG and unionism, even when its subject is a theater opening or theatre auditions. The results is that the site has far less theatre news than it would if my posts were left untouched. At first they only removed post with links to greater details on my blog, but now they simply cut anything I post. I fail to see how linking to a non-commercial news blog is different than links they do not cut to newspapers or trade publications, or the blogs of the theater companies themselves.

Sour grapes? Could be, but I really do not care. Life is too short and I do not make money from the second blog mentioned, I do it out of love for theater. The first pays very little. What matters is that people have turned the increased dependence on the Internet as their own personal turf and fiefdom. They react before they even read the posts, or respond without even trying to understand what they are responding to.

Interesting that people think and respond in two dimensional black and white. Do either of these "guys" know my theater background or expertise? Or my professional credentials in any area I teach? Do they care of do they just cling to their own prejudices, stereotypes and bias, unquestioning and without any care of thought?

How could the Bieber fan attack be justified? And where did it come from ? Not who, but where inside of the fabric of the society we are forming?

Just read the responses on any public blog, particularly newspapers such as the RJ or Sun, or political web sites or for that matter movie and music sites? You will see massive rote responses, attacks, bitterness, attempts to be funny, most all with no substance behind the post. (If you were wondering why posts are filtered on my personal blogs, the reason lies in both Internet automated robots and in filtering hate or irrelevant comments from being posted- the prerogative of an owner-editor).

It is interesting that courses in understanding others, in looking at all sides, at independent thought as a responsibility (not just a right), have been cut by school districts and colleges across the country, in favor of the math, the sciences and pure business (a field where ethics and communication should also be taught).

Where are we going? How can we turn it around?

I do not believe this is just two individuals messing with me personally. In fact in the case of the national theater web site, I doubt the guy even knows who I am or where I am coming from, or cares. It is about intolerance of anything that is not beyond your own definition. In the case of NYC, the theater there is the center of the universe in this guy (or gal's) view. Locally it may be personal, but more likely is about the Screen Actors Guild, which is not even mentioned in the postings.

Hatred? Ignorance? Lack of education? Or simply "my way or the highway" individualism?

Your thoughts?

Special Occasion and Group Speeches


Many special occasions call for some type of speech. Speeches of introduction prepare the audience to listen to the main speaker. Speeches of nomination focus on the qualities that make the nominee the best person for the position or award. Award presentations provide background information about the award and the recipient. Speakers accepting awards should be thankful and humble in their brief comments. After-dinner speeches are meant to entertain. Tributes and eulogies typically provide inspiration. Some occasions call for speaking on camera.

Groups may give several types of presentations, including oral report, panel discussion, roundtable discussion, symposium, and forum. For an oral report, one member of the group presents the entire report. Panel discussions involve a moderator asking questions of experts on a topic in front of an audience. Round table discussions also include expert speakers, but the focus is on the exchange of ideas among participants, so an audience is not present. Symposiums are the most common form of classroom group presentations. Speakers each choose a subtopic of the group's topic and present individual speeches to an audience. Forums are question-and-answer sessions. They may stand alone, but more often they occur directly after an oral report, panel discussion, or symposium.

Groups often use videoconferencing to connect people in geographically dispersed locations. As with any public speaking situation, preparing and practice are essential to giving an effective presentation during a videoconference. During the presentation, minimize extraneous movement and speak clearly--vocal cues play a key role in audience comprehension during videoconferences.

In addition to all the qualities that go into effective public speaking, group presentations must form a unified whole. A group presentation's cohesiveness is evaluated in five areas: preparation as a group, coordination of the presentation, active listening, clear references to the group, and achievement of the group's goal. Preparation as a group should be evident in the presentation's structure and content. An effective overview, smooth transitions, and a closing summary help coordinate the group's presentation. Active listening allows speakers to comment on what others have said and avoid unnecessary repetition. Clear references to the group, such as using we and referring to other participants' points, help knit together the presentation. The degree to which the group has achieved its goal is the final area of evaluation.

For source seek links to the right...