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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keep them barefooted, married, straight and dumb. Maps do not lie about Tuesdays North Carolina Vote

Support those who least support you. That's the American Way.

Log Cabin Republicans are ... well, insane. They attack Obama for not doing this BEFORE North Carolina voted. If they are crazy enough to vote for a party whose leaders either want them made illegal or don't speak up against those who feel that way, then criticize the president for not acting as they wish, they sacrifice any right to the respect of any person with a brain.
abcnews.go.comWhile gay-rights advocates are celebrating President Obama’s conversion on gay marriage, not everyone is happy. Unsurprisingly, longtime opponents of gay marriage are speaking out against the president’s comments,

Pre-sales on Wicked

Get the best seats before tickets go on sale
to the general public on Saturday, May 19.


August 29 – October 7
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts

Long before Dorothy dropped in, two other girls meet in the land of Oz. One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. How these unlikely friends end up as the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good makes for
Broadway's biggest blockbuster.

You are invited to enjoy priority access to purchase Wicked tickets. Order NOW to get the best choice of dates and seat locations before they go on sale to the general public
Saturday, May 19.

Enter Special Offer Code: TSC at
by midnight, May 1
Tickets also available by calling 702.749.2000 or at The Smith Center Box Office.


Same Sex Marriage

Obama Backs Gay Marriage

Dramatic gamble the result of conscience and prayer...will it work or will it put reelection in jeopardy?

Obama Gay Marriage
President Barack Obama declared his support for gay marriage Wednesday. 
WASHINGTON -- In a nod to a dramatic shift in public opinion, Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first sitting president to announce his support for same-sex marriage.

In a sit-down interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, Obama completed what has been a markedly long and oft-mocked evolution on the matter.

"I've always been adamant that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally," Obama told Roberts, in an interview that will air in full on ABC's "Good Morning America" Thursday.
(Watch ABC's entire clip )

"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors when I think about members of my own staff who are in incredibly committed monogamous relationships, same-sex relationships, who are raising kids together, when I think about those soldiers or airmen or marines or sailors who are out there fighting on my behalf and yet feel constrained, even now that Don't Ask Don't Tell is gone, because they are not able to commit themselves in a marriage, at a certain point I’ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," he said.

The statement constitutes an act of political bravery on the president's behalf, as well as a major victory for the gay rights community, which has been pushing him to declare his support for marriage equality for several years. With the issue back in the news this week, the pressure intensified.

On Sunday, Vice President Joseph Biden told NBC's "Meet The Press" that he was personally comfortable with same-sex marriage, which was followed the next day by Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying the same.

The White House insisted that there was no daylight between the vice president's position and the president's, noting that Biden clarified his statement as being in reference to civil rights for gay couples. But the explanation was largely dismissed by both supporters and critics as a convenient way for the president to signal support for marriage equality without having to declare it himself.

On Tuesday evening, the state of North Carolina passed an amendment that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The president expressed his disappointment with the measure, but it remained difficult to square his opposition to a measure outlawing same-sex marriage with his opposition to same-sex marriage itself.

As the political pressure continued to mount, the president finally chose to speak out Wednesday, with the White House hastily scheduling a sit-down interview.

“It’s interesting, some of this is also generational,” the president said. “You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same sex equality or, you know, believe in equality. They are much more comfortable with it. You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.”
The president's support of same-sex marriage will have little political impact, from a practical standpoint, as much of the activity on the issue is currently occurring in the states and the courts.

Already the Obama administration's Department of Justice has stopped defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Legislation to overturn DOMA outright would likely be blocked by congressional Republicans.

The more promising path for same-sex marriage advocates remains a friendly hearing by the United States Supreme Court.

Still, the symbolism of Obama's remarks is hard to ignore. In becoming the first president to publicly support marriage equality, he sets the bar for its political acceptance. He also has the ability to shape public opinion further on the matter.

Of course, there may be drawbacks to such a strong expression of support. While recent polls show that popular support for marriage equality is gaining widespread acceptance, some pivotal swing states remain largely opposed to the concept. And one of them, North Carolina, remains a major target for the president's reelection campaign.

"The question is, is there a risk?" a prominent Democratic Party official who requested anonymity told The Huffington Post after Biden's remarks. "It is not nationwide [polling] we are talking about. We are talking about Virginia, North Carolina and other swing states. And we are talking about, would Karl Rove and his team stoop to using horribly grotesque and hateful tactics ... and would that peel off 10,000 votes?"

As of Wednesday, that question was hypothetical. Now, it's a critical component of the 2012 election.

To read more, watch the video and gage Republican Response, including from Republican candidate Mitt Romney, go the the Huffington Post by clicking here.

Com Review

At Sundance studios for the 1987 Sundance Theatre Lab (next to Robert Redford).

Zombie Invasion on the Strip!

First The Goretorium, Now The Evil Dead to Appear On The Strip

From: Vegas Chatter dot com.

Watch out, Fright Dome. More gruesome competition is on the way. And, these will be year-round.
VegasChatter first told you that Eli Roth's Goretorium was headed to the Harmon Retail Center at Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon a week ago today. (You know, the Walgreens building?) Now, the evil dead are invading. Or, rather, Evil Dead The Musical.
The "camp comedy" will debut at V Theater inside the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood on June 22. The production's website proclaims that it's "the best thing since sliced veins!" (See what they did there?) And, also offers "Hot chicks! Dancing zombies! A guy with a chainsaw for a hand!"
The real shocker, though, is that up until a few days ago the show had been headed for the Plaza. gasp That's also fairly interesting once you remember that Plaza just stripped V Theater of American Storm. (Now, see what we did?)

The Evil Dead's Facebook page says details like showtimes and ticket pricing are coming "soon," but that fans will be the first to know. It also reveals that the production will be open-ended.

Is anyone else getting a bit nervous that the coming Zombie Apocalypse will begin here in Vegas? Hiding in plain sight and all? Laugh if you will, but if you're coming to Vegas you might want to pack a roll of duct tape, too. We're just saying.

(PHOTO: Evil Dead The Musical)

Astro Zombies M4: Invaders From Cyberspace teaser trailer #2

Don't look now, but the Astro-Zombies are back.

MOVIES: Special screenings — ‘Astro-Zombies’ sequel lands May 20

Las Vegas-based filmmaker Ted V. Mikels has been making "Astro-Zombies" movies since 1968.
And the latest installment in the saga — "Astro-Zombies M-4: Invaders From Cyberspace" — will premiere May 20 at downtown's theatre7, 1406 Third St.

"Astro-Zombies M-4" will screen at 2:30 and 5 p.m.

The movie details a worldwide astro-zombie attack; fittingly, "Astro-Zombies" features international locations from Berlin to London, Japan to Spain, according to Mikels. But never fear, Mikels' longtime hometown of Las Vegas also figures in the project.

The screenings are free, but due to theatre7's limited seating, reservations for the "Astro-Zombies" premiere are a must. Call 378-8609 to save your seat for the cyberspace invasion.

Editors Note: It's camp, it's grind house, its ultra low budget and its fun! For my long time friend Ted Mikels...I will be in LA the day of the screening, but my heart and thoughts are with you, your crew and cast. -Art Lynch

Still More Reality TV on Prime Time Networks. Intel on the Internet? If it works keep doing it. Gays on TV. Sitcom up in the air, literally. Disney turns profits despite set backs.

The avengersPhoto of Chris Evans, portraying Captain America, left, and Robert Downey Jr., portraying Tony Stark, are shown in a scene from 'The Avengers."  Credit: Zade Rosethal / Disney

Sequal City: If it works then do it again, and again, and again. The superhero team that conquered the U.S. box office will be suiting up for a return engagement.

Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Robert A. Iger said its Marvel Entertainment group is already in development on a sequel to "The Avengers," which shattered the opening weekend box-office record domestically -- and in markets around the world.

The movie, featuring a slew of stars including Robert Downey Jr., raked in $207 million in its first three days of release in the United States, bringing its global box office to around $702 million.

"It's a great illustration of why we like Marvel so much -- great characters, great storytelling and a wonderful ability for them to bring their characters and stories to the big screen so effectively," Iger told analysts Tuesday during the company's quarterly earnings call.

Disney is aggressively mining Marvel's library of comic-book characters, who were the key attraction when the Burbank entertainment giant acquired Marvel for $4 billion in 2009. Disney plans to release "Iron Man 3" and "Thor 2" next year, Iger said, with a sequel to "Captain America: The First Avenger" due out in 2014.

The success of "The Avengers" is propelling merchandise sales. In many cases, products are sold out, Iger said, prompting the global licensing team to work with licensees and retailers to restock shelves as quickly as possible. Even Marvel's big green monster, the Hulk, is getting love from consumers, thanks to Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of Bruce Banner and his powerful alter ego.

"We expect, given the interest in this film, that demand for its product is going continue to be strong pretty much throughout the year," Iger said.

Iger also said that Disney's parks and resorts planning group, known as the "Imagineers," have been working on ways to incorporate Marvel into the company's theme parks, beyond Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., where Universal Studios holds the rights to the characters.

"We have a number of other opportunities ... at our other parks, notably California and Europe and in Asia -- I guess that pretty much covers the rest of the world," Iger said. "And our Imagineering group has been working over the last year ... to create more opportunities for Marvel in the parks."

The Skinny: A great season finale for Fox's "New Girl" Tuesday night. Now the network needs to spend the summer figuring out how to get this show, which started out strong and then slipped in the ratings, back in the hearts and minds of viewers. Wednesday's headlines include a look at how Virgin shot an entire movie up in the air, how Disney survived "John Carter" and posted strong earnings, and a preview of upfront week.

Gays on TV: Not that there's anything wrong with that. Remember when Ellen DeGeneres coming out on her old ABC sitcom was a big deal? Nowadays gay characters populate much of prime time and rarely get a second glance either internally or from advertisers. Still, if you're in a mafia drama and your character is going to come out, you might want to start looking for new work. More on the declining controversy over portrayals of gays on television from the New York Times.

Daily Dose: Reality TV on prime time neworks to increase. NBC is boosting its alternative programming unit by signing new development deals with several top reality producers including Jason Ehrlich (“The Bachelor"), David A. Hurwitz (“Fear Factor”), Alex Katz (“The Biggest Loser”) and Lee Metzger (“The Voice”). Probably a smart move since NBC's track record with sitcoms and dramas has been nothing to write home about lately.
Disney group
 Photo: Walt Disney Studios President of Production Sean Bailey; Walt Disney Studios President Alan Bergman, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Walt Disney Co. Bob Iger, then-President of Marketing Walt Disney Studios MT Carney and then-Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios Rich Ross attend "The Muppets" Los Angeles Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on Nov. 12, 2011, in Hollywood. Credit: Todd Williamson / WireImage

John who? Despite "John Carter" business is good for Disney.  Despite a $200-million write-down of the flop film "John Carter," Walt Disney Co. reported a jump in profit of 21% to $1.14 billion. As usual, the theme parks and the cable networks —  particularly sports empire ESPN — led the way. The company also said there would be an "Avengers" sequel. There's a shocker. More on the earnings from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

The Walt Disney Co. reported a 21% jump in net income for the quarter, as the strong performance of the television business and at the theme parks more than offset losses at the film studio.

Revenues rose to $9.6 billion for the three months ending March 31, up 6% from the same time a year ago. Net income exceeded $1.1 billion, compared with $942 million a year earlier. Disney reported earnings per share of 58 cents, excluding one-time items, an increase of 18% from a year ago.

Disney survived John Carter flop
Photo: "John Carter." Credit: Walt Disney Co.
Verticle integration: when a loss is a gain. Disney's film studio reported an operating loss of $84 million for the quarter, reflecting the write-down associated with the sci-fi adventure film "John Carter."  The big-budget film, released in early March, brought in just $70 million in domestic box-office receipts, well shy of breaking even.

Disney's box-office dud was followed, two months later, by the record-setting performance of "The Avengers." The superhero movie, released by Disney's Marvel Entertainment group, smashed the domestic record for best opening weekend.

"The Avengers," a film packed with action and A-list performers, brought in more than $207 million in its first three days of release in the U.S., and grossed a total of $702 million worldwide in its first two weeks. The results will be reflected in Disney's third quarter.

“We’re incredibly optimistic about our future, given the strength of our core brands,
Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ESPN and ABC," Disney Chairman and Chief Executive Robert A. Iger said in a statement. "And our extraordinary ability to grow franchises across our businesses, such as 'The Avengers,' which shattered domestic box-office records."

Disney's Media Networks television group remains the company's cash cow, reporting operating income of $1.7 billion for the quarter -- up 13% from a year ago.

Parks and resorts showed the most substantial gains. Operating income rose 53% to $222 million in the quarter, reflecting increased attendance and spending at Disney's domestic parks, and improved results from the Tokyo Disney Resort, which was closed a year ago because of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Karmazin Malone
 Photo: SiriusXM Chief Executive Mel Karmazin, left; Liberty Media Chairman John Malone, right. Credits: SiriusXM and Liberty Media.

Not giving up on taking over Sirus XM Radio. Having been stymied by the Federal Communications Commission last week in its gambit to take over Sirius XM Radio Inc., Liberty Media revealed its next move on Tuesday — bumping up its stake in the company to 45.2% from 40%.

Liberty's chief executive, Greg Maffei, told analysts in a conference call that his company had a contract in place to buy 302 million shares of SiriusXM for $650 million at $2.15 a share from undisclosed sellers.

The price represents a discount to SiriusXM's $2.17 closing price on Monday, prior to Liberty's announcement. SiriusXM lost 3 cents to $2.14 Tuesday after Maffei unveiled his move.

The two companies have been locked in a struggle for control since March, when Liberty started the high-stakes corporate chess match with a request to the FCC for control of the operating licenses SiriusXM needed to broadcast its satellite radio service. Liberty argued that its 40% ownership, along with five out of 13 seats on the board, meant it had "de facto" control of SiriusXM.

SiriusXM's chief executive, Mel Karmazin, strenuously objected, deriding Liberty's attempt as trying to convince regulators that "40 is the new 50." His point was that shareholders needed to have more than 50% of a company to call the shots.

It seems that Liberty's chairman, John Malone, heard the message loud and clear and is moving toward that magic 51% mark. More in the Los Angeles Times.
Photo: Philip Baker Hall and Kat Coiro work on a scene aboard a Virgin America flight.  Credit: Jessica Stout / Virgin America.

Location: 35,000 Feet as Virgin flies hight with 'Departure Date'. In what appears to be a first, Virgin Group shot a film completely up in the air on its flights. The half-hour romance, starring Janeane Garofalo, Ben Feldman and Luis Guzman, was shot over nine days on flights from Los Angeles to London, Dallas, Fort Worth and Sydney, Australia. It will be screened on Virgin flights and is part of a marketing campaign for the airline. Wonder if there will be complimentary popcorn. Details on the 35,000-foot production from the Los Angeles Times.

British tycoon Sir Richard Branson has made a career out of bucking conventions — opening a recording studio in a country estate, building an affordable, premium airline service with soft violet mood lighting and seat-back entertainment screens, and even launching a space tourism company.

Now Branson’s Virgin Group is breaking the mold in the movie business. Virgin’s America, Atlantic and Australian airlines have teamed up with the company’s new film and TV company to shoot a half-hour movie filmed and edited entirely aboard regularly scheduled commercial flights — believed to be a first.

Titled “Departure Date,” the airborne romance between two people who meet on a plane was shot over nine days and three continents last week during flights from Los Angeles to London, Dallas, Fort Worth and Sydney, Australia.

The project involved a crew and cast of 20, including actors Janeane Garofalo, Ben Feldman and Luis Guzman.

“Virgin airlines have swept all the awards for having the best entertainment systems in the skies, but a movie about falling in love with a stranger onboard a Virgin plane: now that’s in-flight entertainment!” said Branson, the founder of Virgin Group.

Directed by Kat Coiro, the film is part of a marketing campaign to promote Virgin’s services to Los Angeles. It will be featured as in-flight entertainment and will debut in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Virgin is also negotiating to land a TV deal for the film.

“We really wanted to [do] something that would convey the unique Virgin experience in a way that was meaningful and relevant to Los Angeles,” said Simon Bradley, vice president of marketing for North America for Virgin Atlantic. “That’s where the idea of a movie came in because of L.A.’s strong connection to the movie industry.”

Commercial airlines have long played a major role in scores of movies, including the 1980 screwball comedy “Airplane!”; the 2005 thriller “Flightplan,” starring Jodie Foster; and Paul Greengrass’ 2006 film “United 93,” based on an account of one of the planes that was hijacked and crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. But those movies took place mainly on soundstages, making the Virgin production particularly unusual.

“We pride ourselves on doing things that are a little bit different, and this is certainly an example of that,” said Jason Felts, chief executive of Virgin Produced, which released its first movie last year: “Limitless,” a sci-fi thriller with Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro. “As far as we know, nobody has made an entire movie at 35,000 feet.”

Filmmakers went out of their way to not turn the work into a blatant commercial for Virgin. The airline is a “character” in the film in much the same way that the hotel is a character in director Sofia Coppola’s 2003 independent film “Lost in Translation,” starring Bill Murray, and how the FedEx and Wilson brands had costarring roles in the 2000 Tom Hanks movie “Cast Away.”

“At the end of the day, the film stands on its own,” Felts said. “We’re telling a real narrative story. We’re not overtly trying to promote Virgin.”

The picture, which cost less than $1 million to produce, tells the story of a young man who meets the girl of his dreams on a plane, lets her slip away and then takes the journey of his life on three airlines to win her back. Along the way, he encounters a future version of himself.

Of course, filming at 35,000 feet poses certain logistical challenges that ground crews don’t ever encounter. Turbulence forced the crew to take a break from filming during one especially bumpy section over Iceland.

Producers also had to take pains to comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules limiting the size of liquid bottles used by the hair and makeup department. They enlisted lightweight hand-held digital cameras without the use of a dolly to film scenes that were shot mainly in first-class or business-class lounges and other discrete areas to minimize inconvenience to passengers. Some passengers volunteered to be extras in the production.

“I would never rule out doing a sequel,” Bradley said. “But we see this as pretty much a one-off.”

Unhappy prince. News Corp.'s second-biggest shareholder, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has expressed concern about the ongoing ethics scandal and government probe that has followed at the media giant's British newspapers. The Guardian quotes the prince as saying it is not "helping the name of the company."

Intel to go into the 'broadcast' programming business. Former veteran network executive Garth Ancier, whose résumé includes stints at Fox, NBC and the WB, is advising tech company Intel Corp. which is hoping to lead the way on creating a broadband programming service that would distribute channels over the Internet much the same way cable distributes through a wire. More on Ancier's role from Variety.

Start packing. Next week, the broadcast networks unveil their fall schedules to advertisers in advance of selling commercial inventory for the next television season.  The Hollywood Reporter looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the networks as well as what new programs are in the pipeline.

Inside the Los Angeles Times: James Rainey on the financial health of Eyetronics Media & Studios, the company that was supposed to be a production partner for non-commercial station KCET-TV.

— Joe Flint

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Big Band Tonight