Saturday, July 31, 2004

Jimmy Carrane sits down and talks with Mick Napier on his new book Improvise. Scene from The Inside Out. This Tuesday August 3rd between 10-11am on 848 on Chicago Public Radio 91.5 FM. Mick talks about his theories on improvisation, directing, and the past and present of The Annoyance Theatre. You won't want to miss this indepth interview with this improv guru
(from Chicago Improv Network).

Friday, July 30, 2004

Incredibulls Auditions:
It's time once again for the 'INCREDIBULLS' Auditions! This squad of high energy interactive entertainers will perform at every home game during the 2004-2005 NBA season.
The Chicago Bulls are looking to hire team players, ages 21 and over who are athletic, energetic, sports-minded, extremely out-going, able to interact with fans of all ages - gymnastic and movement ability is also a plus!
The application/interview session will take place at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, August 21 at the United Center, 1901 West Madison Street, Chicago. Finalists will be invited to back for interactive tryouts at 2:00pm that same day.
Members of the IncrediBulls will warm up fans during pre-game, challenge fans throughout the game and create high energy and excitement in the stands and on the court. Members of the IncrediBulls receive high-exposure as well as potential opportunities to travel and perform with other performers as needed throughout the country through the Bulls' partnership with Sports Magic Enterprises.
For more information, call Sports Magic Enterprises at (800) 256-2443
This is all I know about this; caveat actor.

Chris Jones' theatre treasures (in the buildings, not the shows) in Chicago:
  • At the Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., a human skull sits in a place of honor. When the legendary Chicago improv guru Del Close died in 1999, he willed his cranium to the Goodman for use as a prop - Close had poor Yorick specifically in mind. Seated on a red velvet cushion in a plastic box, Close's skull resides in the office of Robert Falls, the Goodman's artistic director.
  • Look up in the cramped lobby of the Shubert Theatre, 22. W. Monroe St., and you'll see ceiling tiles. But underneath those tiles resides a gorgeous period ceiling. When the theater is restored later this year, the original lobby will re-emerge. Also, the Shubert (formerly the Majestic) Theatre housed the first public pay phone in Chicago. And once upon a time, the Majestic Building, where the theater is housed, was the tallest building in the city with 20 floors.
  • The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., features a miniature replica of the Arc de Triomphe sculpted above its gaudy main marquee. And the staircase in the grand lobby was fashioned after the one found at the Paris Opera.
  • Legend has it that Judy Garland owes her name to the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. In 1932, during the World's Fair, a Chicago reporter referred to Garland's act, the Gumm Sisters, as the Glumm sisters. That was enough for the legendary singer-actress to change her name - right before going onstage at the Oriental. And at this theater, by the way, the gaudy decor features images of more than 50 exotic animals.
  • There are two gorgeous brass chandeliers in the lobby at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St., that until recently were obscured with white paint. This was deliberate - the intent was to prevent them from being melted down and used as part of the World War II effort. The Cadillac Palace, by the way, housed the world premieres of both the current smash Broadway musical, "The Producers" and, many years prior, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," starring Carol Channing
(from Chicago Tribune).

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Victory Gardens buys Biograph:
Victory Gardens Theatre will buy the Biograph, at 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., for $2 million and spend $7-$8 million renovating it into a new 299-seat main stage - increasing capacity by 50%, a 130-seat studio theatre, a rehearsal hall and space for special events. Funds will come from a $1.5 million Illinois First program and $2.5 million in special direct funding from the city. Victory Gardens will retain its home down the street from the Biograph, converted a small studio into offices and renting the rest of the building. The movie theatre ends operations in September and a grand opening for Victory Gardens is slated for September, 2005

Miramax film may shoot here in October:
Miramax's upcoming "Derailed" starring Brit star Clive Owen is tentatively scheduled to shoot in Chicago in October. The thriller, which will be directed by Mikael Hafstrom, is co-written by "Pirates of the Caribbean" scribe Stuart Beattie and novelist James Siegal. Based on the novel by Siegal, the film is about an unexpected turn a businessman's life takes after he misses his morning train

Monday, July 26, 2004

Ted Turner discusses big media; how does big media affect actors?:
Today, the only way for media companies to survive is to own everything up and down the media chain--from broadcast and cable networks to the sitcoms, movies, and news broadcasts you see on those stations; to the production studios that make them; to the cable, satellite, and broadcast systems that bring the programs to your television set; to the Web sites you visit to read about those programs; to the way you log on to the Internet to view those pages. Big media today wants to own the faucet, pipeline, water, and the reservoir. The rain clouds come next
(from The Washington Monthly). Are we (actors, writers, directors, designers, technicians, etc.) the rainclouds?

Ethnic Ambiguity:
...talent agents, casting directors, and talent management firms are now receiving requests for actors who are "ethnically ambiguous," of "mixed ethnicity," or have a "global look," especially for commercials, films, and television shows.
Back Stage talked with several actors who are indeed ethnically mixed for their spin on the new opportunities available to them and the concomitant obstacles. Most acknowledge more accessibility to roles.
Joanne HartsHorne, who is biracial (African-American and Caucasian), says, "I don't like labels. But being ethnically ambiguous has helped me. I certainly get a lot of calls, so I've come to accept terms like 'ethnically ambiguous.' I sometimes think the term means almost anything other than all white, which is also another way of saying there's a lot of competition for those roles."
Interestingly, while producers and directors have become very concerned with accuracy in language, dialect, and accent, they may be a little less stringent in their casting. Stereotypes persist

Thursday, July 22, 2004

A letter I just wrote my congressman:
Dear Representative Davis,
I have just read, in an Associated Press article, about the "Family Movie Act;" please kill this bill. The article I read quotes Representative Lamar Smith, from Texas, saying "'[p]arents should have a right to show any movie they want and skip or mute any content they find objectionable;'" please point out to Representative Smith, and all of your colleagues, that such technology already exists in two forms on every DVD player: these two forms are the skip button, and the mute button respectively. The automation of either process undermines not only the work of the artists and technicians who create films for a living, but also the basis of all copyright and intellectual property law.
I am an actor and writer, and this bill must never become law.
Thank you,
David Lawrence
Write your representative to voice your view.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Not too long ago, tax breaks were passed to promote Illinois film and TV production.... You've probably heard about them.
But did you know, those incentives are scheduled to expire at the end of 2004? On Wednesday (7/21/04) the state senate is voting on an extension of the "visual media wage-based incentive for Illinois."
Click on the link below to write a letter to your senator and other government officals. Let them know that you want to keep the incentive in place - that you want more work for Chicago actors!!

The Chicago Outdoor Film Festival shows The Birds tonight at about 8:53 PM for free in Grant Park.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Possibly a new Studio Complex in Chicago in the next few years:
The on-again, off-again Central City X Studios is back on again with a vengeance. The Community Development Commission gave a stamp of approval Tuesday to a plan to build a $43.7 million, state-of-the-art film and TV studio complex on the West Side.
The 11-acre former illegal mountain of debris at 4300-58 W. Roosevelt Road figured prominently in the city's Silver Shovel scandal of the mid-'90s. "Changing the dump site to a movie studio is a pretty incredible accomplishment, no matter how many years it takes," said Peter Scales, Dept. of Planning and Development spokesman.
It will consist of five sound stages, three 18,000-sq. ft., and two 28,800-sq. ft., plus a three-story production office building, a 21,660-sq. ft. mezzanine for production support, and a 450-car parking lot.
Construction will commence six months after final City Council approval. It should take 18 months until the facility is completed.
Raleigh Enterprises owns Raleigh Studios, the oldest, continuously operating studio in the U.S., with facilities in Hollywood and Manhattan Beach. It recently acquired Hollywood Rentals, specialists in lighting and grip, generators and production vehicle rentals, which is currently servicing the features "Roll, Bounce" and "Batman" while they film in Chicago.
Commercial production has been a mainstay of Raleigh Studios and Rosenthal expects studio rentals will come from Chicago ad agencies as well as from production of features and TV shows and series

Art is the lie that makes us realize the truth.
- Pablo Picasso

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The touring deal struck between actors and producers looks to include:
  • different levels of pay for different types of tours
  • increases in health fund contributions
  • some profit sharing, a first
(from The New York Times).


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I posted earlier about the contract bewteen Actors' Equity and the League of American Theatres and Producers expiring June 27, and they began discussing a new contract in April.

Equity authorized a strike as an option about a week before the contract was to expire. Talks broke off a few days after the deadline. Actors did not strike, and negotiations continued.

Now, according to AP, it looks like actors and broadway producers have reached a deal, which should be solidified soon (via Yahoo News).

The Chicago Outdoor Film Festival shows His Girl Friday tonight at about 8:58 PM for free in Grant Park.

Reality TV is not always a good career move, but getting your house cleaned by someone else, for free, could be cool (too bad they aren't casting in Chicago):
The Producers of American Idol are looking to clean up the filthiest homes in America! Is your home so filthy that you are too embarrassed to have friends visit? Is the mold in your shower in need of a shave? If this sounds like you or someone you know then help is on the way from....How Clean Is Your House? We are looking for people who detest housework so much that their home is an explosion of dust, grime, slime and pure mayhem and are ready to attack the mess until it sparkles and shines. Those chosen will receive $2000-$3000 worth of cleaning services for their house, apartment, or condo! To be a part of this new and exciting series, please e-mail or call us at 310-255-4782. NOW CASTING all over LAS VEGAS and Los Angeles!! If this is not you, then pass it along to someone you know!!
Send email if interested to
This is all I know about this; caveat actor.

Friday, July 09, 2004

DePaul University has launched an independent film production company "with the dual goal of providing students with hands-on practical experience and producing viable films for exhibition" (from You can read DePaul's press release and learn that:
Cameras will be rolling this summer for Bluelight Productions, a new professional independent motion picture company launched by DePaul University's Digital Cinema Program, which will shoot its inaugural film, "Last Call," at locations in Chicago, Long Grove and Elk Grove Village, Ill., from July 6 to 20.

$2 Million film plans to shoot in Indiana this September:
Director Zack Parker will take his mostly Chicago crew to his native Richmond, Indiana this September for five weeks to shoot his second feature, the projected $2 million "Quench"

Monday, July 05, 2004

Theatre Related Day Job (Marketing and PR Intern):
Chicago Opera Theater is currently seeking a detail-oriented and motivated Public Relations and Marketing Intern for the summer semester. We are looking for someone who can work a flexible schedule (approximately 15-25 hours a week) during the months of July and August (term of the internship may be extended if desired).
Intern Responsibilities will include:
  • Researching local and national media outlets
  • Developing and maintaining press lists
  • Researching opera press coverage
  • Writing and distributing press materials
  • Assisting with media planning
  • Researching prospective advertisers and advertising strategies
  • Developing and/or updating various marketing material including eNotes, Chicago Opera Theater's e-mail newsletter.
  • Collecting and organizing media clippings
  • General administrative support
The ideal candidate will possess the following skills and experience:
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Internet Research skills
  • Strong interest in non-profit and performing arts (classical music and opera a plus)
  • Demonstrated interest and/or experience in marketing and public relations
  • Good knowledge of and experience with Microsoft Word and Excel
If you are interested in this internship, please send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to:
Chicago Opera Theater
Attn: Jamie Jorgensen
70 E. Lake St., Suite 540
Chicago, IL 60601
Fax: (312) 704-8421
For more information about Chicago Opera Theater, please visit our website at
This is all I know about this; caveat actor.


Sunday, July 04, 2004

Chicago Community Cinema, a networking event for independent film in Chicago, meets Tuesday, July 6th, at 6:00 PM at Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn St. (Yahoo map).

Saturday, July 03, 2004