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Monday, April 4, 2011

80 years of union service: Ivy Bethune

Ivy Bethune is well-known to SAG, AFTRA and AEA members for her nearly 80 years of service to her unions and to the civil rights movement. Today, as we mark the April 4th commemoration of the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and come together for WE ARE ONE,  the woman known affectionately as Miss Ivy shares her thoughts with her fellow union members via this online post:  
I first joined Actors' Equity in 1939 and found myself rallying for civil rights at the age of 15. In the 1950s, I was blacklisted, along with many other union members, for being so outspoken about protecting the rights of other workers, fighting to ensure a fair wage and a safe workplace. But I came back fighting. And we're still fighting today. Working people's basic rights are under attack across our nation. If we don't stand together, it will only embolden those who are anti-union. We must stand together because We Are One.
Ivy Bethune
Ivy Bethune

SAG National Board Member Marcia Strassman on Union Solidarity

SAG Hollywood Board Member Tara Radcliffe on Union Solidarity

SAG Chicago Branch Members on Union Solidarity #2

Paul Simon, "So Beautiful or So What"
Click above for a free listen to Paul Simon's yet to be released new album. NPR provides the entire album or by tracks for Internet use only.

Then They Came

A short video worth watching...

Todd Hissong
was tagged in Todd Hissong's video.

"And Then they came...why we fight."
for April 4, 2011 Unity in memory
of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Visit our other blogs and web sites...

Hop to the Top, TV Programs Fall or Get Reprieves, VOD Sooner, Mad Men, and Hollywood Shrinks

'Hop' to the top. Universal's "Hop" bounced its way right to the top spot, taking in $38.1 million in its opening weekend. While that was the best opening for any movie this year, it was not enough to turn around the industry's overall box office slump. Box office for the weekend was down 30% compared with the same weekend in 2009. The two other big releases -- "Source Code" and "Insidious" -- took in $15.1 million and $13.5 million, respectively. Since "Insidious" was relatively cheap, it's already a winner. Falling off the map in its second weekend was "Sucker Punch" from Warner Bros., which fell almost 70% from its disappointing opening weekend. Box office analysis from the Los Angeles TimesWall Street Journal and Movie City News. The New York Times has a look at Illumination Entertainment, the animation company behind "Hop."

Bubble popping time! Every April, shows that fall between hit and flop start making their case to be given another season to prove themselves. New shows still trying to find themselves -- such as Matthew Perry's "Mr. Sunshine" on ABC and older shows looking to squeeze out one more year -- including NBC's "Chuck" -- are among this season's bubble shows. USA Today looks at who might float to another season and who might get popped

CinemaCon news: four studios announce early VOD of movies and anger theater owners. The Las Vegas Convention last week led to news that infuriated theater owners, over a deal to offer first run movies thirty days prior to DVD over pay for view and on-line services for a $30 one air rental. Theaters depend on films being available only through exhibition in theaters, and profit the most from films after word of mouth has built them up, meaning a few weeks into the run. The three big studios which made the announcement, taken as an atom bomb at the convention, are Warner Bothers  Sony Universal and FOX. Fox Filmed Entertainment chairman Jim Gianopulos takes a shot at trying to ease the worries of movie theater owners who think the plan of some studios to offer movies on video-on-demand just two months after their release is betrayal. "It's not the end of the world," he tells the New York Times. Gianopulos said the plan is to experiment with smaller films. Of course, lots of overhauls start as small experiments.

Turnover in the executive suites of some studios. Is 80 year old Rupert Murdock preparing to step down and hand his empire on to his son? In addition to FOX, there are major studio executive changes at Warner Brothers and a potential restructuring at Universal under Comcast.

Mad Men contract dispute between creator Matthew Weiner and AMC. 
The passionate audience for Mad Men is behind the creator, who is refusing to drop two minutes form the run time of his show, shrinking the cast and adding product placement within the program. The network and producer are at a standstill, but the show has not been cancelled. The start of the new season will be delayed almost a full year. There is a deal reached but the renewal date has not been fixed. It is thought that it will be this coming summer.

If at first you don't succeed. Alec Gores, the billionaire investor who has been trying to make a move in entertainment, sent an unsolicited bid to CKX, the parent of "American Idol" producer 19 Entertainment. CKX had been up for grabs last year but when none of the bidders could get their act together, the company took itself out of play. Details from Bloomberg.

Well, if AP says so it must be true. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion that Katie Couric is exiting her job as anchor of CBS News. The Los Angeles Times and others have reported for weeks that Couric is looking for a daytime gig and when she went on David Letterman's show she did not sound like someone who was sticking around. Now the Associated Press weighs in with its Couric-is-leaving story. If only she generated this much attention as an anchor as she does for leaving an anchoring job. Of course, this will generate a new round of Couric-is-leaving stories.

The show must go on! Like his personal life, Charlie Sheen's "Torpedoes of Truth" tour has already been a roller coaster ride in just two days. Night one in Detroit was a disaster from all accounts while night two in Chicago appears to have been his rebound show of sorts. A review of the Detroit debacle from the Detroit News and a look at Chicago from the Chicago Sun-Times.

KCRW's The Business featured therapist in the entertainment industry. Barry Michels and Phil Stutz are two of the busiest shrinks in Hollywood -- with some very big-name clients. Their unconventional techniques were the subject of a recent New Yorker magazine article by Dana Goodyear. We talk about those techniques and the particular problems that plague actors, versus writers versus agents. Plus, we hear from a couple of their former clients, TV writer-producers Howard Gordon and Molly Newman. Click here to access and listen to this weeks edition of The Business, or select from the program's achieve.

Sources: LA Times Company Town and KCRW's The Business.

Time to take a stand or love everything...

Dear SAG Members:

In Wisconsin and around our country, the American Dream is under fierce attack.

Although Screen Actors Guild is a non-partisan organization, and therefore does not take positions on some of the demands of Save the American Dream, we unequivocally stand together with them, and with all working families, to end the attacks on worker’s rights.

If collective bargaining rights can be stripped away in a strong union state like Wisconsin, it can happen anywhere.

Various anti-labor bills have recently been introduced in dozens of states. It is believed that if this action succeeds in Wisconsin, more and more anti-union efforts may spread across the country and ultimately could affect all labor organizations, including Screen Actors Guild.

All workers have a fundamental right to join unions and to engage in collective bargaining over workplace issues they face.

-From SAG National

NAB Convention April 9 to 14

The National Association of Broadcasters will invade Las Vegas, with what has become a show as Hollywood as it is broadcast technology. Celebrities, production techniques, electronics and the future of entertainment will take center stage at the Convention Center and two hotel convention areas.