Wednesday, November 23, 2011

James Earl Jones awarded Lifetime Achievement Academy Award

The first Academy Award of the season has gone to James Earl Jones. The actor received an honorary Oscar last night for his long film career. He accepted his Oscar from London's Wyndham Theater, where he is starring in "Driving Miss Daisy" with Vanessa Redgrave.

Happy Musicians Day

If you ask yourself why musicians charge so much for performances. We don't get paid vacation, we don't get paid sick days, we don't get bonuses for outstanding performances nor for Christmas. We don't have insurance plans nor do we qualify for unemployment. We sacrifice our family on special days so that we can bring happiness to others. Illness or personal affairs are not excuses for a bad performance. Next time you ask, remember that musicians are musicians because of the love of music, but that love doesn't pay debts. Happy Musicians Day!!

Can Twilight suck he blood from Christmas annimation and puppets, Murdock fall, Nolte comback, Internet streamers positioning for 2012


From the LA Times Company Town here for the latest industry news. 

Hold the turkey, pass the popcorn. Will "Breaking Dawn" beat all the competition at the box office this Thanksgiving weekend or will Kermit the Frog show those vampires a thing or two? Besides "The Muppets," the new movies this weekend include "Arthur Christmas" and "Hugo." Disney Muppets fired created Frank Oz from the project..."Hugo" has great pedigree and latest special effects..."Arthur" has Wallace and Gromit. Previews from the Los Angeles Times and Hollywood Reporter.

Christmas comeback?  "Arthur Christmas," the animated family holiday film opening Wednesday, is the first effort between Sony Pictures Animation and British animation house Aardman Animations. For Aardman, creator of Academy Award-winning Wallace and Gromit shorts like "The Wrong Trousers," the movie is a chance for it to move beyond its 2006 flop "Flushed Away," which turned into a sea of red ink for its then-partner DreamWorks Animation. The Los Angeles Times looks at what Aardman has riding on "Arthur Christmas."

Hard to please. There is an automatic assumption that movie attendance rises around Christmas. Variety got ahold of a survey which found that it is the art house crowd that most looks forward to seeing a flick around the holidays. That actually makes sense. Art house folks are a sensitive lot who probably can only take so much time around their families

New quarterback. Cable sports giant ESPN is shaking up its starting lineup. George Bodenheimer, the longtime president, is stepping back, and programming head John Skipper will become top dog. As Bodenheimer did, Skipper also will serve as a co-chairman of ESPN parent Walt Disney Co.'s Media Networks unit. Bodenheimer, whose contract was up at the end of the year, will become executive chairman of ESPN. The 53-year-old Bodenheimer had come up on the business side of ESPN and led it to new highs in profitability. Skipper is more of a creative executive who spent years in the magazine industry including early stints at Rolling Stone. More on the move from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.

Hulu adds to menu. Online video site Hulu has cut a deal for library product from Carsey-Werner, the production company whose credits include "The Cosby Show" and "Third Rock from the Sun." However, "That '70s Show" and "Roseanne," two of the company's biggest hits, are not part of the deal. Details from Variety.

Maybe he can get his own sitcom too. The biggest star at NBC is its news anchor Brian Williams. His audience last week averaged 9 million viewers, which is bigger than anything other than football on NBC's prime-time lineup, reports the Associated Press. You don't have to be a TV insider to know that it is a bad sign that none of NBC's entertainment shows draws a bigger audience than the evening news program. The good news: The sharp-witted Williams could be ideal for another workplace sitcom.

Cloudy days ahead. DirecTV, which has close to 20 million subscribers, is anticipating a bleak 2012. The satellite broadcaster is considering joining rivals Time Warner Cable and Comcast in offering low-cost programming packages to subscribers in an effort to hold onto old customers who might be feeling financially pinched and to woo new customers who don't want to spend a ton on a video programming service. But the low-cost lineups usually don't include sports channels, which are the most expensive networks. More from Bloomberg.

Will stream for food. Netflix is looking to raise about $400 million, a move seen as a sign that it will continue to struggle. The entertainment company has seen its stock tumble and subscriber base shrink after it raised prices last summer. It has been spending a lot on old reruns and is also trying to get into the original-programming game to make its service more appealing. Details from The Wall Street Journal.

Murdoch watch. Embattled James Murdoch is back in the news, and out of a job. The News Corp. executive has resigned from the top position at News Group Newspapers Limited (publisher of The Sun) and Times Newspapers Limited (publisher of The Times and The Sunday Times.) More from the Telegraph. As the phone-hacking scandal continues to spread, the young Murdoch is also the center of another media inspection in The Daily Beast. You can thank me later.

Look out Conan! Bravo is moving into the late-night television game. "Watch What Happens Live," the network's twice weekly late show, is now going to run five days a week. The program, which is hosted by Bravo executive Andy Cohen, primarily serves as a platform to promote the network's heavy load of popular reality shows, including the "Real Housewives" franchise, and is most popular with women. It will have to broaden its guest list a little if Bravo wants it to be a serious contender in the late-night race. Coverage from The New York Times.


Nolte's rebound. It's been almost a decade since Nick Nolte was busted for drunk driving and posed for the mug shot seen round the world that made him, to this day, the butt of late-night TV jokes. But now Nolte is considered Oscar material for his performance in "Warrior" and is co-starring in the much-anticipated HBO series "Luck," about the horse racing game. The Daily Beast catches up with Nolte.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein on the upcoming Warner Bros. movie "Gangster Squad." Steven Zeitchik reviews "The Doors" by rock critic Greil Marcus. Hugh Grant makes a splash at a Parliament hearing on phone hacking at News Corp.'s tabloid newspapers. Betsy Sharkey on "The Muppets" and Kenneth Turan on "Hugo.

— Joe Flint

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On Actors, Acting and Union




    Being an actor is perhaps one of the most difficult ways to actually make a living. While there are actors who have forged full time careers in theater, commercials and convention work in cities coast to coast, the vast majority of work lies in Hollywood and New York City. 
    It may take one or several hundred non-paid auditions to land one day's work. An actor may work dozens of days a year or none at all.  Then too, there are the expensive classes necessary to keep up their skills; the cost of professional photographs, video and audiotape, of postage and time spent marketing themselves to potential employers. 
    Actor Paul Napier, whose credits include portraying the original Mr. Goodwrench, and who remains active on both the SAG and AFTRA boards of directors, tells of his children being asked by their teacher what their father did for a living. Their response was “audition”. 
    Casting Director and producer Donn Finn says of actors, “They are not acting for a living, they are acting for their craft. What they are doing for a living, besides waiting tables and taking 'day jobs', is auditioning. You might as well call them auditioners”. Finn went on to point out that each actor  "should think of themselves as their own little corporation," and part of the requirements to be a successful corporation is to join and participate in one or more professional actors unions. Finn is a casting partner in the office of Mali Finn Casting and is a professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at California State University in Fullerton. Recent casting credits include: Eight Mile, Phonebooth, Titanic, LA Confidential, Wonder Boys and The Matrix I,II, and III.
   Longtime SAG Board member Joe Ruskin, whose career includes appearances on the original "Star Trek" and many other television and film projects, states that, “Actors live in fear of rejection each and every day. If they are successful they fear it will end, if they are struggling they fear they will have to do something else for a living and give up a very important part of themselves”.
    The Bureau of Labor Statistics provide this description of the profession of acting:
Acting demands patience and total commitment, because there are often long periods of unemployment between jobs. While under contract, actors are frequently required to work long hours and travel. For stage actors, flawless performances require tedious memorizing of lines and repetitive rehearsals, and in television, actors must deliver a good performance with very little preparation. Actors need stamina to withstand hours under hot lights, heavy costumes and make-up, physically demanding tasks, long, irregular schedules, and the adverse weather and living conditions that may exist on location shoots. And actors face the constant anxiety of intermittent employment and regular rejections when auditioning for work.Yet in spite of these discouragements, the “passion to play,” as Shakespeare called it, still motivates many to make acting a professional career.
     Actors need to consider not only membership in one union, or even all performance unions, but also the overall market place in which they compete. There are estimates of four to as many as ten times that number of qualified non-union actors available in the same talent pool. Many times that number consider themselves “actors” and are free to compete for roles in the overall talent marketing. The standing joke in Los Angeles is that every waiter, store clerk, cop or even doctor is really an actor waiting for their break, writers who have yet to have scripts purchased or producers looking for financing.
   Actors make judgments and can be called on the carpet when they voice their opinions or present their art in ways that many in the public may disagree with. This is the nature of art, to mirror, to reflect, to comment on and to challenge the world around us.
  When on the set the hours are usually long, schedule less than ideal and locations uncomfortable and sometime dangerous. Depending on the production team, actors can be made to feel like cattle or like kings and queens. The environment changes from one job to the next.
   And then there is the lack of work. Mel Gibson, already a star, did not sleep the evening prior to the start of the filming of Lethal Weapon because of apprehension at not having been on a set for well over a year. 
   Actors may classify themselves as a social group, or into smaller sub-sets based on the specifics of how often they perform as actors (full time, part time, occasional, "wanna-be," community theater, hobbyist, has been). 
    Hollywood, and with it Greater Los Angeles, may be looked upon as a company town for the movie and entertainment industries and the 42nd Street / Broadway Great White Way area of New York a part of that city's identity and chemistry.  Actors play a key role in each of these company or trade settlements and how they make their livings effect the social interaction of these communities.
   By virtue of the demands of the craft, of the need to study and to observe, working or long-time actors tend to be educated, articulate and well read, defying a social stereotype presented in contemporary media.
   Acting is a key part of the larger social world of the entertainment industry, mass communications and leisure aspects of society as a whole. 
    Do not forget, if your quest to be an artist, that you are dependant on your fellow artists, on the other trade unionist who work in this industry and on the support of others for your own success and well being.
   Screen Actors Guild National Director of Education, former Performers Alliance founder Todd AmoreYaros. Rule One, which now states that union talent does not work nonunion, once spoke of an still echoes anther statement: that union actors work with, for and are in solidarity with their fellow performers, no mater what stature or place in the industry.
   Keep that in mind.

First published in 1998 by
Art Lynch, UNLV Dissertation

Updated on a regular basis since

Democratic Propganda (which does not mean lies, look it up)


Just a few accomplishments of the Democratic
House Majority:

HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM to recognize health
care as a right, not a privilege and put a stop to the
worst abuses by insurance companies including
discrimination against people with pre-existing
medical conditions. [OPPOSED BY 100 % OF

ACT to make the largest investment in college aid
in American history. [OPPOSED BY 100 % OF

rights of women and other workers to challenge
unfair pay and help close the wage gap where
women earn 78 cents for every $1 that a man earns

WALL STREET REFORM to rein in reckless practices
on Wall Street, end taxpayer-funded bail-outs and
"too big to fail" institutions, and protect and
empower consumers. [OPPOSED BY A MAJORITY

Just one year of a failed Republican House Majority:


o Failed to introduce a jobs plan and voted for budgets that would
cost nearly 2.5 million American jobs and voted against at least 17
times against Democratic e orts to create them.
o Republicans oppose the American Jobs Act which former John
McCain economic advisor Mark Zandi said would create 1.9 million

o Voted three times to end the Medicare guarantee for seniors and
raise health care costs by $6,000.
o Repeatedly protected tax loopholes for Big Oil and

o Three times, House Republicans pushed our government
to the brink of a shutdown to put their radical agenda ahead
of the American people’s interests.
o Voted to repeal health insurance reform; Voted to defund NPR, PBS
and Sesame Street; Voted to classify pizza as a vegetable for school
children; Voted to defund Planned Parenthood and stop them from
o ering cancer screenings; Voted to protect companies that do
business with the Iranian regime
o Pushing plan to privatize Social Security
o Forced the Supercommittee to fail because they insisted on more
tax breaks for billionaires and Big Oil at the expense of the Medicare
guarantee and creating jobs.

While Republicans pursue their extreme agenda
that fails to create jobs, Democrats have an agenda
to be successful and a clear-eyed plan.

L.A. movie palaces still matter to film industry

Orpheum the artist j. edgar

From the LA Times Company Town Blog (click here)

The opulent picture palaces and vaudeville halls of Downtown Los Angeles may be monuments to a bygone era, but they are still keeping their ties to Hollywood.

Theaters in the historic Broadway District, including The Orpheum, the Palace Theatre and the Los Angeles Theatre, are featured in several current and upcoming movies, including Walt Disney Pictures’ “The Muppets,” Warner Bros.’ “J. Edgar” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” and the Weinstein Company’s “The Artist,” the silent, black-and-white period romance that opens in the U.S. this week.

The elegant structures are popular among location managers and set designers because of their rich and varied architecture, which ranges from Art Deco to French Baroque and Spanish Gothic -- sometimes all in the same venue.

“These downtown L.A. theaters constitute a local treasure trove of historic and exotic show palace interiors and exteriors,” said Harry Medved, co-author of the book "Location Filming in Los Angeles." “They can double as live theaters, nightclubs, casinos, hotel lobbies or music halls in London, New York, Detroit and Paris.”

Another selling point: because they are no longer used for showing first-run movies, the buildings are readily available for dressing up as movie sets.

“They are an incredibly valuable resource for filming in Los Angeles," said John Panzarella, location manager for “In Time,” the recently released sci-fi thriller starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. Panzarella booked the grand lobby of the Los Angeles Theatre to depict a futuristic casino.
“In Time” is among more than a dozen movies that have filmed at the Broadway District landmark, which was designed by architect Charles Lee and opened in 1931 for the gala screening of Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights.” The building, now listed with the National Registry of Historic Places, was the last and most extravagant of the downtown movie palaces built between 1910 and 1931. Together they formed the core of the city’s entertainment district, which also hosted live performances by artists from Judy Garland to Duke Ellington.

Later, they hosted puppets. Producers of “The Muppets” also shot a scene in the same lobby, where Kermit the Frog makes his final speech on the grand staircase.

Most of the original 19 theaters have long since closed. A handful -- including the Orpheum, the Million Dollar Theater and the Palace -- remain open for special events, screenings and concerts. (Loew’s State Theatre, at 7th and Broadway, is a church.) Several rent their auditoriums, lobbies and ballrooms to film crews, which may be the reason they’re still around.

“Their use as film locations is one of the main reasons they are still here and intact," said Hillsman Wright, co-founder of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, which has been working to preserve the storied real estate. “They are very powerful buildings that were designed to take you away from the troubled world, particularly during the Depression era. They were built to inspire, and they still have that quality.”

Richard Middleton, executive producer of “The Artist,” said the old movie houses are an asset to a city that has suffered from runaway production.

The story, including photos and video continues at