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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Humor, personal stories and conversatonal tone when talking in public.

Humor and personal stories give depth and interest to your speech as does the use of language the audience will understand.

Men in Black 3: Film Review

Finding smart ways to bring novelty to the franchise without forsaking what made the original so much fun (and in fact doubling down on some of those qualities), Barry Sonnenfeld's third Men in Black easily erases the second installment's vague but unpleasant memory and (though we might hope producers will quit while they're ahead) paves the way for future installments. It's hard to imagine it won't be a hit, and hard to begrudge that success, no matter how saturated we are with comic-book properties, sequels and comic-book sequels. This review continues in the Hollywood Reporter (click here).

Nevada won’t see full jobs recovery until after 2017

With the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 11.7 percent, it will take Nevada more than five years to gain back all the jobs lost here during the recession.

That’s according to economist Steven Frable at private forecasting and advisory firm IHS Global Insight.

In a newly published report, Frable says Nevada is one of three states hit so hard by the recession that it will be after 2017 — no one knows exactly what year — before they return to peak employment levels reached before the recession. The other two are Michigan and Rhode Island.

In contrast, four states benefiting from the energy boom have already surpassed pre-recession job numbers. They are Alaska, North Dakota, Texas and Louisiana.

Frable expects nearly half of the states to achieve peak employment either this year or in 2013 and most other states to recover between 2014 and 2017. These include hard-hit California, expected to recover in the 2014-2015 period, and struggling Arizona and Florida, expected to recover in the 2016-2017 time frame.

Data distributed by Frable show that when it comes to recovering lost jobs, Nevada has the biggest hole out of which to climb.

After losing some 170,000 jobs during the recession, Nevada leads the nation in a ranking of jobs lost — 13 percent — since its peak employment year of 2007.

Nevada’s 1decline compares with a decline nationwide of 3.8 percent and with declines in neighboring states — all with more diverse economies — of Arizona (down 9 percent), California (down 6.5 percent) Idaho (down 6.3 percent), Oregon (down 6.9 percent) and Utah (down 3 percent).

Stephen Brown, director of the Center for Business & Economic Research at UNLV, said in an interview Tuesday that data ''unfortunately'' confirm projections of a recovery in a post-2017 timeframe of all the jobs lost in Nevada during the downturn that got under way in 2008.

That’s because of several factors, including a weak national economic recovery and continued excess supply in Nevada of homes, commercial buildings and hotel rooms.

''We’re in a situation where the U.S. economy is still well below its potential'' and isn’t expected to return to pre-recession employment levels until 2014, Brown said.

The health of the U.S. economy is important to Nevada in part because as Americans become more confident about their economic futures, they're more likely to travel to Nevada and other tourist destinations.

Brown said that given Nevada’s No. 1 ranking in foreclosures, there’s little demand for new homes here compared to the boom years. New home closings in 2011 in the Las Vegas area totaled 3,894 versus 38,957 during the peak year of 2005.

Sales of new homes in the Las Vegas area picked up in the first three months of 2012, totaling 873, up 14.6 percent versus the same period in 2011, according to Home Builders Research Inc.

But new home sales and construction remain nowhere near the pace of the boom years.
Relatively low hotel occupancy rates and high commercial real estate vacancy rates mean no megaresorts will be built anytime soon while commercial construction will be limited, Brown said.

''We have a lot of excess housing and commercial space in town,'' Brown said.

That means the hard-hit construction industry won't be bouncing back anytime soon, Brown said.
In fact, state statistics show the industry lost 900 jobs in April statewide, pushing employment in the sector down to a new post-boom low of about 48,000 jobs. That's down from 52,600 jobs one year ago and brings job losses in the high-paying sector up to about 96,000 since 2006.

Despite Nevada’s last-in-the-nation status when it comes to employment, state officials point out the jobs picture here continues to brighten compared with the depths of the recession in October 2010, when the state unemployment rate topped out at 14 percent.

''Nevada has recorded year-over-year private sector job gains every month since early 2011, a clear sign that we are slowly but steadily working our way toward a stronger economy,'' Gov. Brian Sandoval said in the April state unemployment rate announcement.

From the Las Vegas Sun (click here).

Time for Unions and Reform in Entertainment Industry. Cable takes over Boston! Probing Uncle Walter. Robin Gibb remembered. Tiered Internet Pricing coming soon to a WiFi near you. Call of Duty Battle Continues. Innovation Consumer Driven.


After the coffee. Before deciding if my status updates are what caused Facebook stock to fall. 

The Skinny: ESPN Classic was running old episodes of "Battle of the Network Stars." For those who don't remember this gem, the network stars would compete in races and endurance contests with Howard Cosell anchoring. Time for a revival with Bob Costas or Dan Patrick hosting. Wouldn't you watch a race between the cast of "Two Broke Girls," "New Girl" and "The B in Apartment 23?" Ratings gold! Tuesday's headlines include a look at what Dalian Wanda Group's deal for AMC Entertainment means, a recap of the cable show in Boston, and a review of a new Walter Cronkite biography.

Daily Dose: It was 20 years ago today that Johnny Carson signed off as host of NBC's "Tonight Show." What better way to remember the king of late night than a Facebook trivia game? That's right, Carson has now been immortalized with "Here's Johnny," from Carson Entertainment Group. Want to test your knowledge of all things Johnny? Here's a link.

Walter Cronkite
A new biography probes the legacy of CBS journalist Walter Cronkite. (CBS / May 22, 2012

And that's the way it was. An exhaustive new biography of legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite by Douglas Brinkley leaves no stone unturned and uncovers a few nuggets that do more than suggest a liberal bias. There are also examples of some questionable reporting practices. Daily Beast media columnist Howard Kurtz zooms in on the dirt from "Cronkite." I can't wait to read it but my hunch is what will be most revealing to me is just how much the media landscape has changed since Uncle Walter was telling us what was what, and not whether he took a free flight or two from Pan Am or had a wild time in a strip club one night. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

Getting the word out. Just as it did at the time the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA were formed in 1933 and 1935, and President Roosevelt had to intercede using anti-trust and new laws,  consolidation among movie studios, production companies and movie theater chains continue, it is tougher than ever for independent films to find a way to reach consumers. Power is begin centralized as never before, well beyond the heyday of the studio system. One platform that is starting to emerge for indie filmmakers is video on demand. Besides big cable operators offering the service, there are smaller video-on-demand online options popping up to try to boost independent cinema. The Los Angeles Times looks at Prescreen, a site that is less than a year old but is already starting to get noticed.

China's coming! The $2.6-billion acquisition of movie theater chain AMC Entertainment by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has Hollywood wondering if it will be the first of many investments from that part of the world. Dalian also has invested in karaoke clubs so I hope they are not thinking of putting karaoke in theaters. A look at Dalian Wanda and what the deal may mean for the entertainment industry in Hollywood and China from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

Stay out of our way. Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, who is now the chief executive of the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. and the industry's top lobbyist, said the government needs to take a light touch when it comes to regulating the Internet. Powell made his remarks at the cable industry's annual convention in Boston. Other news out of the show included several cable operators agreeing to a WiFi partnership of sorts. News about the show from the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Multichannel News and Fierce Cable.


Carson Daly will help NBC's Olympic promotion effort.

Carson Daly will help NBC's Olympic promotion effort. (Lewis Jacobs / NBC / May 22, 2012

NBC prepares marketing blitz for online viewing of Olympics

The entire set or list of posts below are from the LA Times Company Town Blog. Click here for the latest industry news from the LA Times.
Looking to make consumers who subscribe to cable or satellite television aware that the bulk of the Summer Olympics can be watched online at no additional charge, NBC is going to embark on a large marketing campaign in advance of the London Games.

"There will be a barrage of information sent out to the American public about how one can access this content," said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. Zenkel made his remarks during a panel session at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. annual convention here. To read more of this posts click on More..

FCC Chairman Juluis Genachowski supports usage-based pricing for broadband.

FCC Chairman Genachowski on board with usage pricing for broadband

 Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said he supports cable and telecommunication companies adopting a usage-based pricing plan for broadband.

"Usage-based pricing could be a healthy and beneficial part of the ecosystem," Genachowski said in an appearance at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn.'s annual convention here.

Genachowski, who was interviewed by former FCC Chairman and current NCTA Chief Executive Michael Powell, added that a tiered pricing approach may "increase consumer choice and competition" and "result in lower prices for people who consume less broadband."

Genachowski made his endorsement of usage-based pricing for broadband consumption just days after cable giant Comcast Corp. said it would adopt that model. Comcast is going to introduce a fee for consumers who use more than 300 gigabytes a month. Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen said the amount would likely be $10 for every 50 GB over the base allowance.

The FCC chairman also addressed concerns in the cable industry about increasing regulatory oversight of distribution negotiations between cable operators and broadcast television stations. The cable industry has been calling for an overhaul of FCC rules regarding so-called retransmission consent negotiations.

While Genachowski continued to indicate that broadcasters have the right to seek cash in return for distribution of their channels, he did question whether broadcasters have too much leverage in some negotiations.

For example, some television stations that have different owners have entered into what is known in the industry as a "shared services agreement." Such arrangements can result in one company negotiating on behalf of as many as three television stations.

"That raises real issues," Genachowski said. More..

Ed Burns is embracing new platforms for his movies.
Ed Burns is embracing new platforms for his movies. (Jim Cooper / Associated Press / May 22, 2012)


Consumers, not media industry, will drive innovation

A new generation of consumers who have little regard for historical distribution systems will be what drives media companies to rethink their role as gatekeepers to content.

"It always seems to be about the kids," said filmmaker Ed Burns who has taken to releasing his movies on non-theatrical platforms, including Apple's iTunes, and on video-on-demand.

Speaking at the National Cable Telecommunications Assn. here, Burns said that young people today "are not nostalgic for the way we consumed entertainment. They still want this content. They’re just not willing to get into the car and drive to the theater."

While Burns didn't say the demise of the movie theater was near, he did say it will be tougher for non-blockbuster movies to find a place there. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing for the long term. Now through on-demand and other platforms, it may become easier for Burns and other small filmmakers to have a "more direct relationship with the consumer and reach a much wider audience."

"The consumer demand will pull the technology and industry where it wants to go," said Neil Smit, president of Comcast Cable.

Part of the challenge for media companies is balancing the desire of consumers to get content the way they want it, where they want it, without disrupting the business models that have been the backbone of the industry for decades.

While distributors and programmers are embracing putting content on mobile phones and on tablets, there is still great resistance to altering the overall system. For example, consumers want to cherry pick the cable channels they want, which is an approach that programmers and distributors are not willing to embrace.

That may eventually have to change too.

"We're going through a generational shift from a generation that values ownership to a generation that values access," said Rio Caraeff, CEO of online music video company Vevo.

An image from "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."

Activision Bungie contract unsealed in Call of Duty case

Details of video game publisher Activision Blizzard Inc.'s high-profile deal in 2010 with Bungie Inc. to make an original game series has been made public for the first time as part of a separate lawsuit involving the Call of Duty game franchise.

The deal with Bungie, considered one of the hottest studios in the industry, at the time helped Activision save face in the midst of an ugly legal fight with former Call of Duty developers Jason West and Vincent Zampella, whom Activision had fired a month earlier in March 2010. But at what cost? To continue reading click on More..

''Call of Duty'' games, produced by Activision Blizzard Inc.

Activision clash with Call of Duty developers dates back years

Activision Blizzard Inc.'s testy relations with the two creators of the Call of Duty franchise dated back at least a year before the company fired them, according to emails recently unsealed in the company's $1-billion lawsuit against the developers.

Publicly, their relationship fractured in March 2010, when Activision fired Jason West and Vincent Zampella, the former heads of the Infinity Ward studio responsible for making the Call of Duty titles, which have generated more than $6.75 billion in revenue for the Santa Monica game publisher. For additional information click on More..

Thought of the day. This is a little outside the wheelhouse of the Morning Fix but good advice should be shared. Former Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told graduates of Boston University to take a break from the computer and "have a conversation, a real conversation." If the man who ran the company that made it easier for us to waste all that time online says to turn the computer off for an hour a day to actually engage with real people, then it must be worth doing. More on Schmidt's remarks from Reuters.

The Bee Gees' Robin Gibb, center, died on Sunday
 Photo: The Bee Gees, from left, Maurice, Robin and Barry Gibb, perform in Miami Beach in November 1979. Robin Gibb died Sunday after battling cancer. He was 62. Credit: Phil Sandlin / Associated Press. 

Their hits could fill an entire Saturday night, last until the first church bell rang on Sunday morning and provide a sweat-drenched workout on the dance floor that broke only for the slow numbers. Even more remarkable was that each classic gem of the Bee Gees, whose co-founder Robin Gibb died Sunday after a long battle with cancer, would be packed with feeling.

There’s “Jive Talkin’,” the group’s frenetic ode to a lying lover, which highlights a skeptical Gibb’s sweet tenor. “How Deep Is Your Love” finds Gibb, who co-founded the Bee Gees in 1958 with brothers Barry and Maurice (Robin’s fraternal twin), describing him and his lover “living in a world of fools breaking us down,” when they should really just leave them alone. That song alone was responsible for countless dark-corner slow dances.

The climax, of course, would hit with the first few notes of “Staying Alive” from “Saturday Night Fever,” the 1977 double-album soundtrack that made Robin and his brothers  international superstars and helped define disco — and the 1970s. Continued Inside the Los Angeles Times: An appreciation of Robin Gibb.

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Harvey Milk Day

A color photograph of Milk with long hair and handlebar mustache with his arm around his sister-in-law, both smiling and standing in front of a storefront window showing a portion of a campaign poster with Milk's photo and name
Milk, here with his sister-in-law in front of Castro Camera in 1973, had been changed by his experience with the counterculture of the 1960s. Dianne Feinstein, who first met him in 1973, did not recognize him when she met him again in 1978.[33]
Today is Harvey Milk day in California, and the 82nd anniversary of his death. (below from Mikipedia).

Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978) was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Politics and gay activism were not his early interests; he was not open about his homosexuality and did not participate in civic matters until around the age of 40, after his experiences in the counterculture of the 1960s.

Milk moved from New York City to settle in San Francisco in 1972 amid a migration of gay men to the Castro District. He took advantage of the growing political and economic power of the neighborhood to promote his interests, and ran unsuccessfully for political office three times. His theatrical campaigns earned him increasing popularity, and Milk won a seat as a city supervisor in 1977, part of the broader social changes the city was experiencing.

Milk served almost 11 months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for the city. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, another city supervisor who had recently resigned but wanted his job back. Milk's election was made possible by and was a key component of a shift in San Francisco politics. The assassinations and the ensuing events were the result of continuing ideological conflicts in the city.

Despite his short career in politics, Milk became an icon in San Francisco and a martyr in the gay community.[note 1] In 2002, Milk was called "the most famous and most significantly open LGBT official ever elected in the United States".[1] Anne Kronenberg, his final campaign manager, wrote of him: "What set Harvey apart from you or me was that he was a visionary. He imagined a righteous world inside his head and then he set about to create it for real, for all of us."[2]

Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

Harvey Milk
A black and white photograph of Harvey Milk sitting at the mayor's desk
Milk in 1978
Member of the
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
from District 5
In office
January 8, 1978 – November 27, 1978
Preceded by District Created
Succeeded by Harry Britt
Constituency The Castro,
Duboce Triangle,
Noe Valley
Personal details
Born Harvey Bernard Milk
May 22, 1930
Woodmere, New York
Died November 27, 1978 (aged 48)
San Francisco
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Residence San Francisco
Alma mater State University of New York at Albany
Profession Politician, business owner
Religion Judaism
Military service
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1951–1955
Rank US-O2 insignia.svg Lieutenant, junior grade
Unit USS Kittiwake (ASR-13)
Battles/wars Korean War Era