5 items from 2017
Voting is ending for a particularly acrimonious SAG-aftra presidential election with results due to be announced as early as Thursday afternoon.
The counting of the ballots, with about a quarter of the 144,000 dues-current members expected to vote, will begin at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday.
The contest has featured accusations of election fraud and bungling the recent contract negotiations (made by Esai Morales and Membership First); negligence on safety issues and allowing massive staff salaries (made by independent stuntman Pete Antico); and Membership First’s alleged incompetence in the 2008 negotiations and its long opposition to the SAG-aftra merger (made by the Unite for Strength faction headed by current president Gabrielle Carteris).
The divisions within SAG-aftra run deep and have existed for the past two decades. Remarkably, the two main factions — the moderate-leaning Unite for Strength and the self-styled progressives of Membership First — have managed to revive the debate over the six-month commercials strike in 2000. Supporters of the »
- Dave McNary
With 10 days left for members to vote, SAG-aftra’s national election is seeing plenty of attacks as the union’s two major factions denounce each other in a bid to sway the 144,000 performer members.
The minority Membership First group, headed by Esai Morales, has accused the dominant Unite for Strength of bungling the recent negotiations for a new contract, which was ratified by membership on Aug. 7 by a 76-24 margin. The union’s negotiating committee was led by president Gabrielle Carteris, who’s seeking re-election.
“There are over 450 scripted television programs — yet it’s harder than ever for working actors to make a living or get pension and health credits … Because the contracts haven’t kept up with the marketplace,” Membership First said. “We do not support the new travel provisions. It’s a huge give-away that obliterates decades long negotiated travel provisions that benefited performers.”
SAG-aftra Members Ratify New Film-tv Contract
Membership First is also »
- Dave McNary
Two decades-spanning generations of Saturday Night Live offered tributes to Gary Austin, the founder of the wildly influential improvisational theater company The Groundlings who died in Los Angeles yesterday, just one hint at the scope of Austin’s impact on comedy. “No words,” tweeted Laraine Newman, one of the Groundlings recruited to become SNL‘s first-generation Not Ready For Primetime Players. “We lost a legend today,” tweeted Mikey Day, the current SNL cast member… »
Gary Austin, the founder of the influential improvisational theater troupe The Groundlings, died on Saturday at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles following a long illness. He was 75.
Austin had been battling cancer for several years, but remained active teaching and performing. His daughter, Audrey Moore, told Variety the Austin was surrounded by family members and friends who were serenading him.
Austin was a widely admired improvisational teacher of thousands of students, along with being a writer, director, and musical performer. His improvisational teaching technique involved creating scenes based on arbitrary suggestions with performers then committing to agreement on the premise of the story — no matter how far-fetched — and then performing to reflect the truth of the scene and characters.
His students included “Saturday Night Live” cast members Laraine Newman, Phil Hartman and Chris Kattan, Mindy Sterling, Helen Hunt, Paul Reubens, Jennifer Gray, Paul Feig and Helen Slater. Hunt, acknowledged Austin during her acceptance speech after winning the best »
- Dave McNary
By Raymond Benson
If one facetiously counted the number of films Woody Allen made beginning in 1969 and throughout the 70s, there would be eight that he wrote and directed (seven of which he also starred in), plus a movie that he only wrote and starred in—Play It Again, Sam, for which I’ll count as 1/2, making Stardust Memories number 9-1/2. Appropriately, this film seems to intentionally pay homage to Federico Fellini’s own masterwork, 8-1/2 (1963), which was about a filmmaker who didn’t know what movie he wanted to shoot next. Stardust Memories, released in 1980 after the huge successes of Annie Hall and Manhattan (with critically-acclaimed Interiors in-between), is also about a filmmaker in search of the picture he wants to make.
It wasn’t well-received at the time. I recall leaving the theater in anger. How could Woody be so contemptuous of his audience? It was as if his character, »
- email@example.com (Cinema Retro)
5 items from 2017
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