Music & Entertainment
Lt. Governor Simon statement on strip club legislation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Kara Beach   
Monday, 20 August 2012 14:48

CHICAGO – August 18, 2012. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today issued the following statement regarding Governor Pat Quinn’s signing of House Bill 1645, which will help fund rape crisis centers through fees based on strip club profits or admissions.

Simon said: “I thank Governor Quinn for standing up for rape victims and crisis centers across the state. This new revenue stream will help offset cuts that threatened critical services. When a sexual assault victim goes to a police station or a survivor calls a hotline, we need trained staff ready to respond. This bill helps to keep lights on and doors open, jobs filled and responders trained.”

Under the law, strip club owners can choose to pay the state on an annual basis a $3 per patron fee or opt to pay a flat fee based on the taxable receipts they report to the Illinois Department of Revenue each year. Clubs that report taxable receipts of $2 million or more would pay $25,000 a year; clubs that report taxable receipts of $500,000 to $2 million would pay $15,000; and clubs that report taxable receipts of less than $500,000 would pay $5,000, according to the new law.

The law goes into effect January 2013 and applies only to strip clubs that serve or permit alcohol consumption. It is projected to raise up to $1 million per year, or roughly one-sixth of what the state spends on sexual assault prevention and response annually. In fiscal year 2011, rape crisis centers in Illinois served more than 18,000 clients and reached nearly 475,000 people with prevention education.

The $3 per patron surcharge and fee structure was a compromise reached by rape crisis advocates, club owners and sponsors Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). The bill originally called for a $5 per patron entry fee.

“I would like to thank the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault as well as Lt. Governor Sheila Simon for their constant and unwavering support for this new law,” Hutchinson said. “Victims of sexual assault must be able to access emergency services to fully recover from their traumatic experiences. I am hopeful the extra funding for sexual assault centers across Illinois will ensure no victim is turned away for care when they need it the most.”

The new revenue will go into the new Sexual Assault Services and Prevention Fund and be distributed by the Department of Human Services for community-based assistance to victims of sexual assault and sexual assault prevention.  There are at least 32 rape crisis centers serving Illinois residents – 10 in the Chicago-metro region and 22 in the non-metro area. State funding for the centers has decreased about 28 percent in the past five years, forcing many centers to cut counselors and/or create waiting lists for counseling services while demand for services increased. One center closed its doors.

Last year, the Texas Supreme Court upheld legislation that funded crisis centers through a $5 entrance fee at strip clubs that permit alcohol based on the correlation among alcohol, live nude dancing and negative secondary effects, such as sexual assault. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge of that decision, effectively opening the door for other cities and states to pursue similar measures.

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Dreaming of a Career in the Movies? PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 17 August 2012 14:36
Hollywood Director Offers Tips for Hopeful Writers, Actors, Cameramen

From the box-office smash “The Avengers” to the summer hit “Madagascar 3” reigniting the 3-D craze, movie lovers are more enthralled than ever with film magic, and many fantasize about becoming a part of it. Their annual Westward migration from every film and acting and writing school in the country is as active as ever as they seek their chance to wield the Hollywood wand.

In such a competitive and crowded circus tent, how can a person ensure they catch that elusive trapeze?

Here are five tips from film director Guy Magar, picked up over 30 years making movies and TV shows and teaching through Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars, the educational course he founded. Magar is also the author of the new Hollywood memoir and love story, Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot, about his years in Hollywood which is a must-read for all who love movies (www.kissmequickbeforeishoot.com).

• Find out if you really love it. “The movie business demands passion and dedication; the work is difficult and exhausting, the journey fraught with disappointments and financial stress,” he says. “So you better find out if this is truly something you want and you’re ready to sacrifice whatever it takes.” The best place to do that is at a film school or a university filmmaking program. “This is where I fell in love with the cinema and forged my commitment to the craft,” he says.

• Find out if you’re any good at it. When you discover that less than 5 percent of the 125,000 actors in the Screen Actors Guild ever make a livable wage in any one year, the reality check about how competitive this business is can be quite intimidating, Magar says. So it’s not enough to love it – you have to have an aptitude for the craft if you want a chance at bat. “You better be one of the very best directors or writers or cameramen or actors wherever you’re studying and developing your work, so you can gain the self-confidence to throw your talent in a very crowded ring,” he says.

• Get your showreel ready! No one is going to hire you unless they can see what you can do. For a director, you better have an award-winning “wow” short. If you’re a writer, have some dazzling, unique screenplays. Actors need a great reel with diverse scenes showing range from comedy to drama. Cameraman? You need a reel that sizzles with cinematic visuals. Don’t come to Los Angeles without a reel. It shows who you are, what you can do — and why you’re worth paying to do it.

• Networking! Networking! Networking! “The movie business is first and foremost a people business,” Magar says. “Regardless of your talent, you better be good at schmoozing and an extrovert at heart.” It’s all about who you know, who can introduce you to whom, who likes you, who is willing to help you move forward, he says. If you’re a great networker, you have a better chance at a career than if you’re talented with no social skills. Introverts do not apply!

• Enjoy your journey or the dream will be a nightmare. Don’t put off having a life until you “get there,” he says. The big secret is to enjoy the journey and to have a life in the industry, regardless of the amount of work and accolades that may or may not come your way. You must commit to making a fulfilling life for yourself if you’re to find happiness in Tinseltown. Family, friends and a soulmate are as important and fulfilling as career gains. “They will sustain you in much deeper emotional ways than winning a spot on a softer toilet paper commercial,” he says.

Magar says his career in Hollywood was an exciting, gratifying one. “Between the words ‘action’ and ‘cut’, I get to make my magic … my visual storytelling,” he says. “I fell in love with making movies and have continued loving it for more than 100 production credits in my career.”

“If you share that passion to make film, have a terrific sense of humor to balance the obstacles, and can manage the five tips above, then welcome to Hollywood. Break a leg!”

About Guy Magar

Film and TV director/writer/producer Guy Magar has worked for more than 30 years in the motion picture industry. He recently published his Hollywood memoir, “Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot: A Filmmaker’s Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love.” His TV credits include “La Femme Nikita,” “The A-Team,” “Dark Avenger” and “Blue Thunder.” His feature films include “Lookin’ Italian,” “Stepfather 3,” “Children of the Corn: Revelation,” and the cult thriller “Retribution,” to be rereleased on DVD for its 25th anniversary this summer 2012. Magar has taught and inspired thousands of students through his Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar, and his Action/Cut Short Film Competition is designed to discover and encourage new talent annually. He is a popular public speaker who inspires young filmmakers.

 
Five Sprout Acts Excel in State Fair Talent Search, Continue to Semi-Finals PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Lori Chappell   
Friday, 17 August 2012 13:56

DES MOINES, IA (08/15/2012)(readMedia)-- Five talented Sprout division acts (ages 2-12) have advanced to the semi-final round in Bill Riley's 53rd annual Iowa State Fair Talent Search. Each act will perform again on August 18.

The names, ages, hometowns and routines of the acts are:

Jessica Merta, 11, Pleasant Hill, Hula-Hoop

Levi Clegg, 7; Lillee Deike, 7; Alailah Perry, 8, all of Algona, Tap Dance

Julia Fritz, 11, Brighton, Vocal Solo

Aaron Van De Krol, 12, Lynnville, Magician

Emily Monroe, 11, Davenport; Josie Lindle, 10, Eldridge, Ballet/Hip Hop Dance

Bill Riley, Jr. is once again hosting the competition. Two Sprout acts will be crowned champions every day of the semi-finals. The six winning acts will perform in the talent-packed championship set for Sunday, August 19 at 1:30 p.m. on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage sponsored by Pepsi.

Each of the six Sprout Champions will receive a prize of $250 after the Championship Show. More than $15,000 will be awarded to the Senior and Sprout divisions combined.

"Nothing Compares" to the 2012 Iowa State Fair, August 9-19. The Fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, just 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines, and are open 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. each day of the Fair. Exhibit hours may vary. For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.

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Iowa Film Maker Launches North American Movie Distribution Company PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Modern American Cinema   
Friday, 17 August 2012 13:43

(Des Moines, IA) – A new company was registered in the state of Iowa this past spring: Modern American Cinema, LLC. Iowa film maker, Kristian Day, opened up his own film distribution company in Des Moines after building a network of movie theaters from the successful theatrical release of his documentary Capone's Whiskey: The Story of Templeton Rye.

Iowa film maker, Kristian Day, self released his documentary film Capone's Whiskey: The Story of Templeton Rye to over forty theaters in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The majority of these theaters were independently or community owned businesses. Audiences flooded in into the single screen theaters in towns such as Vinton, Marshalltown, and Denison. Highlighted screenings included sold out shows in Marshalltown, Iowa City, and an oversold show in Vinton at the Palace Theater. The movie even outsold the major studio film, Battleship, on a weekend run at the Starlight Cinema in Independence, Iowa. To help build more interest to a potential audience, Day travelled to several towns across the state of Iowa to meet the theater owners and their local audience.

"There was a lot of financial and time investment made," Day says, "but it was worth it to figure out who your audience really is, major studios don't do that."

The company has recently acquired the North American distribution rights of two films, one from Iowa film maker Joe Clarke called Kung Fu Graffiti, a kid's action/comedy movie inspired by the 1960's Bruce Lee films. The other from Los Angeles film maker Shane Ryan entitled My Name is A (by anonymous), a midnight movie for the art house scene. All films will be released theatrically on the new Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved digital format. After a film's initial theatrical run, which lasts from six months to a year, it will be released via Video On Demand (Netflix, HuluPlus, Amazon Video On Demand). A DVD release will be considered based on the film's overall performance in the previous formats. Day is currently in production of his newest documentary, Is This Heaven?, the story of an ex-skinhead turned civil rights activist who is on spiritual journey through Iowa to find his faith. The film features Frank Meeink, author of the book Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead.

"Its a fresh start and an opportunity to release independent films to a larger audience," adds Day, "the price major studios are asking for from theaters is getting very high which leaves the small town theaters in a tough position."

The theater market for Modern American Cinema is very large. The company wants to work with not only independent movie houses, but also college/student run theaters, minicines, museums, and other public spaces to show films. Film makers are also welcome to submit their features, shorts, and documentaries for distribution.

Day, 26, a native of Rock Island, Ill., went to high school in Cedar Rapids and attended the University of Colorado at Denver in the Music Industry Studies program. In 2008, Day began directing and producing his own movies. His short films have played all over the world including Austria, Greece, Cuba and Italy. His films have also been screened at various festivals in cities across the United States including Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.

For more information visit:  www.modernamericancinema.com

 

 
Judith Light to narrate 'Scrooge & Marley' film PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Music & Entertainment
Written by Tracy Baim   
Wednesday, 15 August 2012 14:45

CHICAGO -SAM I Am Films, producers of "Scrooge & Marley," a modern-day variation on Charles Dickens' classic holiday story, "A Christmas Carol," has announced that acclaimed Tony Award-winning actress Judith Light will be the film's narrator.

The film's Indiegogo campaign ends Aug. 15. The trailer is posted here: http://igg.me/p/124360?a=396864 .

"We are delighted to have Judith Light as our narrator," said Richard Knight, Jr., co-director and co-writer of the film. "She is both a wonderful actress with an instantly recognizable voice as well as a longtime advocate for gay rights and a big supporter of human rights for all. We could not be more thrilled that she is joining our Scrooge & Marley family."

Light was awarded the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Other Desert Cities. She also won a Drama Desk Award for "Best Featured Actress" for the same play. She is well known for her role as Angela Bower on the hit comedy series Who's the Boss? Up until 2010, she was seen on the Emmy Award-winning ABC-TV series Ugly Betty, for which she received an Emmy nomination playing the character of Claire Meade. Simultaneously, she co-starred on NBC's long-running drama Law & Order: Special Victims Unit in the recurring role of Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Donnelly.

Scrooge & Marley will be released in December. Acclaimed out actor David Pevsner portrays Ben Scrooge while former SNL star Tim Kazurinsky appears as the Ghost of Jacob Marley. The film also stars Rusty Schwimmer, Bruce Vilanch, Megan Cavanagh, Ronnie Kroell, David Moretti, Richard Ganoung, and performance artist JoJo Baby.

"Scrooge & Marley" was shot in Chicago in May and also highlights a host of recognized theatrical actors who round out the cast: Drew Anderson, Christopher Allen, Nicholas Bailey, Allison Torem, Fawzia Mirza, Peter Mohawk, Scott Duff, PJ Powers, Amy Matheny and many more.

ABOUT JUDITH LIGHT

In June of 2012, Judith Light was awarded the prestigious Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for Other Desert Cities. She also won a Drama Desk Award for "Best Featured Actress" for the same play. Produced by Jon Robin Baitz, Other Desert Cities is centered on a daughter played by Rachel Griffiths who presents her family with a memoir she is about to publish. Judith played the role of Silda Grauman, the alcoholic aunt who is known to make snide remarks.

Judith was nominated for a Tony Award for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play" in 2011, for her performance in "Lombardi", the American play by Academy Award winner Eric Simpson. Directed by Tony nominee Thomas Kail, the play was based on the best-selling biography When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by Pulitzer-winning author David Maraniss. Judith stared in the play as Marie Lombardi alongside Dan Lauria who played sports icon Vince Lombardi.

Judith's television career began with her two-time Best Actress Emmy award-winning turn as Karen Wolek on "One Life to Live". She then went on to play Angela Bower on the hit comedy series "Who's the Boss?" Up until 2010, she was seen on the Emmy Award-winning ABC-TV series "Ugly Betty", for which she received an Emmy nomination playing the character of Claire Meade. Simultaneously, she co-starred on NBC's long-running drama "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in the recurring role of Supreme Court Judge Elizabeth Donnelly. Judith has also starred in "Phenom" (created by James Brooks), "The Simple Life", created by long-time manager/producer Herb Hamsher, "The Stones" (created by Max Mutchnick, David Kohan and Jenji Kohan) and in over 15 television movies, including her role as Ryan's mother, Jeanne, in "The Ryan White Story".

Judith has starred in three independent films, "The Shoemaker" with Danny Aiello, "Ira & Abby" by Jennifer Westfeldt, with Robert Klein, Fred Willard, and Frances Conroy - which was voted Best Comedy at the 2007 HBO comedy festival; and "Save Me" with Chad Allen and Robert Gant, a film which she also produced with Herb Hamsher through their production company, Tetrahedron Productions, in conjunction with GKE and Mythgarden Productions. "Save Me" had its US premiere at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, followed by screenings at both NYC's NewFest and LA's Outfest, as well as a screening and panel discussion aboard RSVP vacations Queen Mary 2 transatlantic crossing. "Save Me" was released theatrically nationwide in the summer of 2008 by First Run Features.

In 2005, Judith returned to her performing roots in theater, opening at The MCC Theatre in New York in the production of Laura Wade's "Colder Than Here". Judith showcased her musical abilities in 2004 in the role of Joanne in Steven Sondheim's "Company" at the Freud Theatre in LA as part of Reprise! Judith also appeared in Athol Fugard's "Sorrows and Rejoicings" in 2002 at the Second Stage Theatre in New York and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

In 2001, Judith opened in Washington, DC at The Shakespeare Theater portraying the title character in the Henrik Ibsen classic "Hedda Gabler". In 1999 she also took to the stage at the Union Square Theater, starring as the brilliant and uncompromising "Dr. Vivian Bearing" in the critically acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize winning Off-Broadway play "WIT". Originally directed by Derek Anson Jones, "WIT" is a heartbreaking and at times very funny play about how 'Dr. Bearing' copes with ovarian cancer, and how it transforms her and her views of life. A university professor who has always treasured her independence and lack of personal connections, 'Dr. Bearing' is forced to change her stance when she undergoes radical chemotherapy. Judith performed in New York until January 2000 and then toured with WIT nationwide, in such cities as Boston, Washington (at the Kennedy Center), and San Francisco. For her outstanding performance, Judith received the Helen Hayes Award in Washington, DC, as well as the Elliot Norton Award in Boston.

A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA, Judith has worked in repertory theaters throughout the United States and Canada as well as a USO Tour of "Guys and Dolls" with William Atherton and Paula Wagner throughout Europe. Judith's Broadway debut was in "A Doll's House" with Liv Ullmann and was followed by a season at the Eugene O'Neil Playwright's conference.

Judith is a Board Member and advocate for many organizations and charities representing AIDS-related and Human Rights issues including: Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS, The Names Project/The AIDS Memorial Quilt, The AIDS Memorial Grove, CDC's Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS, Hollywood Health and Society, Faith in America,  Project Angel Food, The Matthew Shepard Foundation, The National Aids Memorial Grove, The Point Foundation, The Rome Chamber Music Festival, and The Trevor Project.

Judith lives in New York and Los Angeles and is married to writer/actor, Robert Desiderio.

 

 

About SCROOGE & MARLEY

 

"Scrooge & Marley" is a modern-day variation on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." Recounted from a gay sensibility, with heart, comedy and music, the magic of Dickens' timeless tale of a man's redemption at the holidays-thanks to the help of three ghostly spirits-comes alive from a fresh perspective that will appeal to audiences of every persuasion. The film is based on an original script by Ellen Stoneking, Knight and the late Timothy Imse. It was directed by Knight and Peter Neville. Executive producers of the film are Tracy Baim ("Hannah Free") and David Strzepek ("Foodgasm"), joined by several co-producers (Knight, Neville, Stoneking, Kroell, and Moretti) and noteworthy crew.

 

Full cast and production team bios at http://www.scroogeandmarleymovie.com .

 
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