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Monday, August 15, 2011

Com 101 CSN first two weeks reading (summaries)

Improv For Alzheimer's: 'A Sense Of Accomplishment'

(To read the full story and listen to the audio from NPR's Morning Edition, click here.)


Many newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients go through the stressful phase of realizing they are losing their memory while still having enough insight to know that, over time, they will no longer be able to care for themselves.
So a team of researchers from Chicago — a city known for improvisational theater — is testing a new idea of whether unscripted theater games can affect the well-being of these patients.
"Improv is all about being in the moment, which for someone with memory loss, that is a very safe place," says Mary O'Hara, a social worker at the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. "Maybe thinking about the past and trying to remember makes the person a little anxious or even a bit sad because their memory is failing. And maybe thinking about the future too much is also anxiety-provoking. So being in the moment is such a safe and a good place to be."

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The Northwestern researchers are working with the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company. There are already theater programs that use improv for Alzheimer's patients in the later stages of the disease, but this collaboration is unique because it's for early-stage patients.
"There's no experience required, there's no script, there's no memorization," O'Hara says. "They bring to it just their creative potential. And they are so successful at this."
Christine Mary Dunford, with Lookingglass, leads the group of novice performers in very simple improv games.
One "of the basic tenets of improv that [is] perfect for working with people with dementia [is] the concept of yes," Dunford says. "So, fundamental to all our work is that whatever answer someone comes up with, the rest of us are going to be able to work with it."
Researchers don't expect these games to stop or slow the progress of Alzheimer's disease, but they are investigating whether engaging the creative abilities of these early-stage patients improves their lives.
Before and after the eight-week program, participants and their families are asked a series of questions, checking to see how the course changes their answers.
"We're asking people to tell us how they're feeling about their physical health, their mood," says Darby Morhardt, a research associate professor at Northwestern. "How do they feel about their memory? How did they feel about their family, about their relationships? And also, how do they feel about their current situation as a whole and their life as a whole?"
"When we think of people with Alzheimer's and other dementia, we think about people who are losing skills on a daily basis," says improv coach Dunford. "But here, they're learning some new things, too.
It gives them a feeling of — a sense of self-confidence that they were able to accomplish this. And in this disease, there's not a lot of opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment."
(To read the full story and listen to the audio from NPR's Morning Edition, click here.)

Watching stolen films on your phone, iPad or Computer a Felony?

Courtesy Warner Bros.


Moving to close a possible loophole in the laws against the pirating of movies, TV shows and other intellectual property, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved making illegal streaming of video over the Internet a felony in most cases. The proposed law will now go to the full Senate for consideration.
The Commercial Felony Streaming Act (S. 978), introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), reconciles a disparity between the current law and streaming of content and peer-to-peer (P2P) downloading.
This legislation is supported by the Obama administration and a broad entertainment industry coalition, including the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), AFTRA, Directors Guild of America, IATSE and SAG. Others who have pushed for passage include the MPAA, the  Independent Film & Television Alliance and the National Association of Theatre Owners.
"We commend the Committee for moving this important piece of legislation for consideration by the Senate. It will close a gaping hole in the law and go far in protecting the livelihoods of theater employees from the threat posed by illegal streaming,” says NATO President John Fithian. ”To the technicians, designers, construction workers, and artists who support their families through their work in entertainment, there’s no difference between illegal downloading and illegal streaming – it’s all theft that hurts their work, their wages and their benefits. 
"This bill will help ensure that the punishment for these site operators fits the crime,” says Michael O’Leary, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs for the MPAA.
"The illegal streaming of motion pictures and television programming is as financially devastating for our industry as is illegal downloading,” says IFTA President Jean Prewitt.  “Stealing is stealing, regardless of the means in which the product is being received.
The bill targets the illegal streaming of video for commercial purposes. The penalty is increased to up to five years in prison when it involves 10 or more instances of streaming over a 180-day period. The retail value of the streamed video must exceed $2,500, or the licenses to the material must be worth more than $5,000.
The bill follows the suggestion made two months ago by the White House Office of U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement which urged Congress to make illegal streaming a felony.

Intelectual Property Theft Claim against "Bring It On: The Musical"

WGA fights to block stage "theft". Writers Guild Trying to Shut Down 'Bring It On: The Musical'

Read the full story and other news in The Hollywood Reporter (click here).



In a move that could shut down a high-profile musical on the eve of its national tour, the Writers Guild of America has filed a claim overBring It On: The Musical on behalf of Jessica Bendinger, the screenwriter of the 2000 Universal film on which it is based, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The confidential arbitration demand, filed a week ago, asserts that Beacon Communications Corp. and Beacon Communications, LLC are exploiting Bendinger’s dramatic rights in the cheerleader-themed Bring It On without her consent, in violation of the guild agreement’s “separated rights” provisions. It seeks damages and an injunction against Bring It On: The Musical, which is being coproduced by Universal Pictures Stage Productions, Beacon Communications and others.
Beacon’s outside counsel for the matter, Alan Brunswick of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, tells THR, “The claim is without merit. We will vigorously defend it.”
In an interview, Bendinger counters that “Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Compensation is.”
The screenwriter says she first heard about the show “in the worst way.” She had been working on a stage version of her own for six years and was developing the project with former Universal production chief Marc Platt, producer of the Broadway hit Wicked. But then she learned that a New York theater attorney not affiliated with her had been heard to say at a cocktail party that he was shopping the theatrical rights to the movie – the same rights she had been seeking to exploit.
The play subsequently opened for previews in Atlanta earlier this year. It’s scheduled to begin a four-city national tour in Los Angeles on October 30.
“I was shocked,” Bendinger says. “A writer works all her life trying to have a first hit. I was not treated well, given the revenue stream I created for them.”

Chapters and Quizes, Let's get started on Fall, 2011

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'Evil Dead" auditions tonight and tomorrow (Monday and Tuesday)


Monday & Tuesday August 15th & 16th at 7pm
Needed: 6 men, 6 women of various ages

Have YOU ever wanted to dance and sing while covered in blood? Do YOU know what a boom-stick is? Do YOU want to be a part of the hottest show in Vegas this October?

Now is your chance!

Off-Strip Productions and RagTag Entertainment is holding open auditions for EVIL DEAD: The Musical! Dust off your favorite tunes and come prepared to have fun!

Needed: 6M & 6W of various ages.
When: 8/14 at 5pm, 8/15 & 8/16 at 7pm
Where: The Onyx Theatre
953 East Sahara #16b
Las Vegas, NV 89104

Please come prepared to sing no more than 16 measures of 2 songs (one comic, one dramatic NOT FROM THIS SHOW). Bring your own accompaniment.
There will be cold readings from the script.
There may be some movement so please wear appropriate clothing.

The show will be directed by Sirc Michaels.

If you have any questions please contact the director at 702-573-8335 orsircmichaels@onyxtheatre.c​om
On this date in 1846 wonderful Copenhagen opened Tivoli Gardens, the forerunner of the modern amusement park. Opened by a newspaper publisher it still attracts 3 million visitors a year, and may have the oldest wooden rollercoaster still operating (96 years old). Copied by the Royalty of Austria in Vienna and by other world leaders, after World WAR I American Entrepreneurs brought the concept to US and integrated traditional American and European traveling carnivals into the mix. It was damaged by the resistance during World War II because of is popularity with Nazi “tourist”. Walt Disney’s trip there was inspired in part by a visit there after the liberation. Note that Wikipedia has a different start date and year, but CBS TV and the official site list August 15, 1846.

Today is my mom’s birthday. If she were alive she would be in her 90’s, but I am sad to say I cannot remember exactly how old. Her sister, my Aunt Ann, turns 90 this December. I remember Mary Lynch this Sunday morning.

It is also the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, the reason for my mom being named Mary. 30,000 pilgrims paying their respects to the Blessed Virgin were evacuated from the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes just before the midday mass, after a bomb threat this morning.

Chicago born, rural Michigan raised jazz and blues singer Abby Lincoln dead at 80, She was also an actor and civil rights leader. Her last album was released in 2007 while she was recovering from open-heart surgery.

Icky Woods, former UNLV and NFL Football rushing record holder, lost his 16-year-old asthmatic son this weekend. His teammate Rendell Cunningham lost a child earlier this year.

200 families in China have been force to change their family names. The symbol used for their name is no longer recognized in the new Chinese alphabet, the one that computers use. There is no other way to spell their family names. What would their ancestors think?

The Secretary General of the UN says he has never seen a disaster as bad as the flooding in Pakistan. Schools, theaters, gaming facilities and social halls over most of Pakistan have been ordered closed today due to heavy Monsoon rains, flooding, and outside the disaster zone, to honor the dead. The government cancelled official ceremonies commemorating the birth of that country, putting public safety first. More than 1,600 are dead during the first two weeks of heavy rain and flooding. Cholera has been confirmed in at least one patient there. The US reports that more than six million people have yet to get access to aid.

Today is VJ Day, the day the Japanese officially surrendered. For the first time since the end of World War II, 65 years ago, there were no official government ceremonies at shrines, memorials or cemeteries in Japan. There was a major ceremony in Tokyo, with the release of peace doves and an apology from the Prime Minister on behalf of the Japanese people. The BBC paints quite a different picture, than US media, noting that the new Japanese government is thought to be less friendly toward the US. They are saying it is time to move on and leave the past behind us. Aggressive and often barbaric acts of Imperial Japan are considered a part of their pre-Democratic past and are being played down in textbooks and official histories. V.J. Day (Victory in Japan) was celebrated yearly by the now fading World War II generation, officially rolled into Memorial Day in the early 1970’s.

In South Korea and China, ceremonies were held remembering those who died at the hands of the Japanese, including still contested mass civilian execution, experimentation and during slave labor. Last year Japan apologized to Koreans for women who were forced to be “companions” for Japanese officers and soldiers.

Japan is limited in its military power constitutionally. The US wrote a peacekeeping mission into the Japanese constitution as we contributed to rebuilding that country. The government, and most of the population, believes it is time for Japan to officially have a military. Japanese “peace keepers” have worked along side the US in non-combative roles in Vietnam; both Gulf wars and remain in Afghanistan.

An off-road race on the Soggy Dry Lake Bed turned deadly in Lucerne Valley, near Apple Valley and Victorville, California. A vehicle jumped into the dense crowd during the California 200, killing 8 and injuring more than 12 others, many of whom were airlifted to hospitals. 

Resident throughout the Southwest and California are being asked to be on the lookout for an escaped Arizona prison inmate and an accomplish. The pair were involved in the death of an Oklahoma couple whose bodies were found in New Mexico last week. While Arizona and Nevada are the US Marshalls focus, the search has been broadened to include Montana, Canada and the Pacific Northwest.

General David Patreaus says that American efforts in Afghanistan are making “modest” progress and that those gains need more time to take roots. He says its “an up an down progress” as we seize Taliban controlled territory and create “small pockets of progress” in the country. Meanwhile July was the deadliest month of the war, and support on Capital Hill and in the US is declining. The fear is that the US will pull out before we can assure that Afghanistan will not once again become a major staging area for attacks against the US, as it did with the 9-11 terrorists.

Arab nations are pushing the US to end its support of Israel’s secrecy surrounding it nuclear programs and allow international inspections. Last month President Obama warned that any effort to single out Israel would derail any movement toward a nuclear free middle east. Iran and other nations maintain that Israel’s assumed nuclear power justifies Arab fears and could support a nuclear weapon strategy, which they insist in not now the case. Meanwhile there is widening fear that Israel will preemptively strike what they claim are nuclear weapons development sites within Iran.

President Obama is offering his personal assurances that swimming in the Gulf of Mexico is safe, by taking a brief vacation in Florida and going swimming with his family. Tomorrow the president is off on a whirlwind tour supporting Democratic Candidates and his cognomina agenda.

The president has given his green light on Israel’s purchase of four billion dollars worth of US F-3I Stealth fighter jets and parts. The jets are capable of delivering a nuclear payload, but are best used for reconnaissance and strategic non-nuclear strikes.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is eroding in Nevada. An RJ-KLAS TV 8 poll reflects 46% opposing same-sex marriage while 35% support it.  This contrasts to 2/3rd (over 67%) that approved a constitutional ban on same sex marriage back in 2002.

Republican Brian Sandoval’s once double-digit lead over Democrat Rory Reid is slipping. An RJ-KLAS TV poll statewide poll shows that 52% currently favor Sandoval, to 36% Reid, a 16 point difference, down form 19 two weeks ago with a 4% plus or minus error range (8%). Reid’s last name works against him in rural and northern Nevada, in this heavy anti-Harry Reid advertising climate.

The RJ-KLAS Poll was done by Republican based Mason-Dixon Polling firm.

An Associated Press –FfK poll shows that only 32 percent of those who claim no political affiliation say they would like the see the Democrats keep control of the house and senate in Washington, down from the 52% of independent voters who backed Senator Barack Obama against Senator John McCain in the presidential election two years ago. Independents have a much stronger concern about the economy than their patrician counterparts; with over 90% saying the number one issue is the economy. No other issue even came close.

So are things getting better? When asked if over the next year responders expected their personal finances to improve, those surveyed by the Review Journal and KLAS TV said “No”. Only 8 percent anticipated improvement, 38%, or four out of ten, expect their personal finances to get worse, and 47%, or just under half think things will remain the same.

Despite strong leanings against Obama in Nevada, an RJ poll reports that only 38% of those polled feel the US would be better off if John McCain were elected president.

Are we at risk for a double dip depression, with a return to a smaller but still drastic second recession of this Great Recession? Of course Wall Street Journal Report says we are not going that direction and all of the indicators will show growth in the fourth quarter and a better 2011. However, it remains a jobless growth, with credit the tightest is has been excepting for the height of the bank crisis. Consumers are ready to spend, business is expanding and the international environment is recovering. Firms are in a position to hire and many have profits. However companies, which laid off over 8 and a half million workers, are not hiring in large numbers, and when doing so are hiring at lower pay levels or in non-industrial positions. Investors see a different picture, as their focus in international, with manufacturing in China, India, Malaysia and elsewhere ramping back up.

Topeka, Kansas is number ten on the list of the best places to live in work for the next decade. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance looked at many factors including unemployment, income per capita, innovation, education, tax climate, and above all quality of life.  Austin, Texas came in first, with education, public-private partnerships, government, entertainment industry, music, computer programming…Washington DC is number three, with the gain of more residents last year than any year since World War II. Major corporations are moving to Virginia and the DC area. These include universities, biotech. Also on the list is Rochester, MN (hospitality, Mayo clinic, he arts, medical technology).

Apes despite Help, Long Ranger rides no more, Awards show cost money, Breaking Bad ends on AMC but may live again on network
"The Help" does well for itself but "Apes" rise again. "Rise of the Planet Apes" finished on top of the box office for the second weekend in a row, making $27.5 million. "The Help" also cleaned up at the box office (sorry, couldn't resist), taking in $25.5 million. Among other new releases, 3-D horror flick "Final Destination 5" took in more than $18 million, while "30 Minutes or Less" scrambled for $13 million. Lastly, the "Glee" 3-D concert movie didn't have a whole lot to sing about, making only $5.7 million. Somebody got a slushee tossed in their face! Box office analysis from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.
The big get bigger. Time Warner Cable, already the nation's second largest cable operator behind Comcast Corp., has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Insight Communications for north of $3 billion. Insight has about 750,000 subscribers primarily in the midwest. Details from Bloomberg.
Hi-yo, Silver! Away! Disney has pulled the plug on its plans to make a movie version of the TV classic "The Lone Ranger." Apparently the budget for the movie, which was from Jerry Bruckheimer and was to star Johnny Depp, was more than $250 million and Disney wanted to bring it down. My question is how does a movie about a guy who rode a horse around the Wild West end up costing that much?  Come on. Details from Deadline Hollywood.
Oh, is that all? Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. filed its annual report and warned that the ongoing probe into phone hacking at the company's now-shuttered British tabloid News of the World "could damage our reputation and might impair our ability to conduct our business.” More on the report from the Hollywood Reporter.
Get out your checkbook. ABC, the home of the Country Music Awards for the last several years, is facing competition to hold on to the show from CBS and NBC. Award shows have become big-ticket items for broadcast networks lately and are generally seen as reliable ratings. The latest from Vulture.
Inside the Los Angeles Times: AMC and Sony reached a new deal for final episodes of "Breaking Bad." Relativity Media is headed into China. Hope the Chinese can accommodate Ryan Kavanaugh's helicopter.

-- Joe Flint
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