Film Academy Board Member Resigns with Dramatic Letter: “We Have Failed”

Producer Bill Mechanic waved goodbye to the Academy with a scorching letter addressing the “long and boring” Oscars telecast, among other issues.

Producer and former Fox chief Bill Mechanic has resigned from his post on the Academy’s Board of Governors—but not with a quick goodbye and a step to the side. Instead, Mechanic took the incendiary route, writing a lengthy letter to Academy President John Bailey and detailing all the ways the Academy has allegedly failed its members and the film community at large. He railed against the bloated length and status of the Oscars, the way inclusive membership has been handled, the response to the #MeToo movement, and the long-awaited Academy Museum, which has for years been a source of anxiety for the organization.

“I feel I have failed the organization,” Mechanic wrote, according to Variety, which posted his letter in full. “I feel we have failed the organization.”

The Academy confirmed Mechanic’s exit with a statement on Tuesday: “The Academy thanks William Mechanic for his five years of service on the board of governors, where he represented the members of the executives branch.”

Mechanic’s fiery letter shows a board member at odds with the organization he was tasked to represent. He began by writing that he had “a great love and respect for the Academy,” but realized the environment had become “fractured.” One of the first issues he addressed in the letter was the way the Academy decided to handle inclusion among its membership ranks.

“We have settled on numeric answers to the problem of inclusion, barely recognizing that this is the industry’s problem far, far more than it is the Academy’s,” he wrote. “Instead we react to pressure. One governor even went as far as suggesting we don’t admit a single white male to the Academy, regardless of merit!”

He continued by taking aim at the Oscars telecast itself, which he claimed had yet to modernize. “We have kept to the same number of awards, which inherently means a long and boring show, and over the past decade we have nominated so many smaller independent films that the Oscars feel like they should be handed out in a tent,” he said.

His thoughts on this particular issue aren’t exactly surprising. Mechanic said back in December that he was not a fan of the rigorous way the Academy had responded to the ongoing conversation about sexual misconduct in the film industry. Specifically, Mechanic was against the passage of a new code of conduct stipulating that the Academy was opposed to “any form of abuse, harassment, or discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, disability, age, religion, or nationality.”

“This should be left to the companies people work for and to the police,” he said then. “Six months ago, all the moral police were silent. Was it wrong for people to be silent six months ago? Yes. Is it wrong to go overboard now? Yes. What you want is rationality to the process.”

SOURCE: VANITY FAIR

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Geffen Playhouse Sets Its Course for Love in CONSTELLATIONS

Constellations

June 6 – July 16, 2017
Geffen Playhouse
10886 Le Conte Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
www.geffenplayhouse.org

Written by Nick Payne
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
Featuring Ginnifer Goodwin & Allen Leech

What a difference one decision makes. Turn a corner, say hello, say nothing, leave – even the smallest of choices has the power to alter our future. In CONSTELLATIONS, Nick Payne’s exquisite play for two, now on stage at Geffen Playhouse, we watch the various stages of a couple’s relationship play out as a series of overlapping alternate realities.

It’s the ultimate do-over, and over, and over as Marianne (Ginnifer Goodwin) a quantum physicist, and Roland (Allen Leech) a beekeeper, go round and round on a kind of metaphorical hamster wheel while jumping in and out of parallel universes. Pieces of dialogue repeat but free will changes the direction their love story takes each time. Or does it?

What if every possible decision we could ever make, and never make, exists in a limitless cosmic pool just waiting for us to pluck it out? (one of the quantum theories posited in Payne’s play). Now the question of fate vs. free will moves into even more philosophical territory. Did we invent the thought from nothing or was it there all the time and we simply “placed our order,” as it were?

Add to that the idea that “time is irrelevant at the level of atoms and molecules,” as Marianne tenderly explains to Roland, and the seeming randomness of earlier scenes suddenly organizes itself into a world that oddly makes sense.

Payne’s award-winning play originated in London and three years later opened on Broadway with Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson (nominated for a Tony) in the roles Goodwin and Leech now occupy. Though I didn’t see it on Broadway, I can imagine how drastically the play would change based on the choices and chemistry of its two actors. In a way, I guess that also connects back to the playwright’s leap into the multiverse on some mysterious meta-level.

Here at The Geffen, the mind-blowing piece is explored with so much humor and heart-stirring intimacy that its 80+ minutes fly by. Goodwin’s intellectual dexterity and nerdy goofiness paired with Leech’s grounded simplicity and genuine caring is a contrast in personalities that has us instantly rooting for their happily ever after. If she embodies the head, he is the heart, and together they engage in a dance all lovers know well as the paths they take, or don’t take, begin to materialize. We care about their fragile existence as much as we care about our own and resonate with how life, love, and loss affect them.

There is an effortlessness about the production that director Giovanna Sardelli achieves by wrapping infinity around a single theatrical conceit and not overplaying her hand. Fanciful yet profound, and exhilarating in the most hopeful of ways, a strange comfort arises when we realize early on that things are going to shift suddenly and frequently, and we are not meant to analyze them at every turn but to relax into the wholeness of the play.

If anything, CONSTELLATIONS prompts as many questions as it offers answers, and that is the beauty of it.

The color palette is cool in Takeshi Kata‘s sparse scenic design and Lap Chi Chu‘s subtle lighting. One can’t help noticing how small these two little people seem against such a great wide open playing field. The single most eye-catching point of color is Goodwin’s scarlet sweater, a brilliant way costumer Denitsa Bliznakova manages to illuminate the true center of this universe even as everything, including the man she loves, revolves around her.

CONSTELLATIONS is a sophisticated and poetic departure into the boundless reaches of love’s universe where two people connect, disconnect, reconnect, and eventually find that, like the constellations above them, it’s all relative.

SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors Rashida Jones at 8th Annual LA Golf Classic

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The SAG-AFTRA Foundation honored actor Rashida Jones with its Actors Inspiration Award, which is given to a SAG-AFTRA artist who gives back to fellow actors and the community at large. The award was presented by SAG-AFTRA Foundation Executive Director, Cyd Wilson, at the non-profit’s 8th Annual Los Angeles Golf Classic. The event brought together over 125 actors and entertainment industry executives in support of performers facing life-threatening illness and severe economic hardship, and proceeds benefit the foundation’s Catastrophic Health Fund and Emergency Assistance programs.  Previous recipients of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s Actors Inspiration Award are Leonardo DiCaprio, Sofia Vergara, and Kerry Washington who were also recognized for their philanthropic work.

Other attendees of 8th Annual Los Angeles Golf Classic included host Andy Garcia, and celebrity guests and players Tim Allen, Jonathan Banks, Tom Bower, Philip Boyd, Bailey Chase, Joe Cipriano, Tom Dreesen, George Eads, Stephen Ellis, Patrick Fabian, Jason Gedrick, Galen Gering, Carmine  Giovinnazo, Joel Gretsch, Gregory Harrison, Robert Hays, Greg Itzin, Chris Jacobs, Vinnie Jones, Richard Karn, Hal Landon, David Leisure, Dawnn Lewis, Joe Mantegna, Jeff Nordling, Michael O’Neill, Joe Pesci, James Remar, Kevin Sorbo, Paula Trickey, Tom Verica, Tom Welling, and Andia Winslow. From the SAG-AFTRA Foundation were Vice President Dave Hutton, and Board Member Ron Perlman.

Since its inception in 1985, the non-profit SAG-AFTRA Foundation has raised more than $18.5 million for its charitable initiatives, including financial and medical emergency assistance to SAG-AFTRA families, educational workshops, facilities, and panels for the acting community, and a children’s literacy programs.

Rashida Jones is an actor, director, producer, screenwriter, musician and activist. Her philanthropy includes work with the International Rescue Committee, traveling around the world as an advocate for the nonprofit which delivers lifesaving care to people fleeing conflict and natural disaster; serving on the board and as a celebrity ambassador for Peace First, a youth organization that encourages the development of the world’s next generation of peacemakers; and supporting Oceana in its mission to protect and restore the world’s oceans. In addition, she lends her voice to several other important charities including Amnesty International, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and The Trevor Project. Ms. Jones is also a supporter of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s online children’s literacy program Storyline Online (storylineonline.net) and will be filming a new video for Storyline Online following the Actors Inspiration Award ceremony. She will join the ranks of actors Viola Davis, Lily Tomlin and Chris Pine. Rashida Jones’ commitment to supporting vulnerable populations around the world, the environment, as well as children’s literacy, embodies the spirit of the Actors Inspiration Award.

Ms. Jones currently stars in the hit TBS series Angie Tribeca where she plays the title role, in addition to working behind the camera as executive producer and a director of some episodes. A multi-hyphenate in the entertainment space, this past year she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for co-writing the first episode of Netflix’s third season of Black Mirror. She is the Executive Producer of Claws on TNT, a nail-salon turned money-laundering-front dramedy, set to premiere this summer. This past April, she released a docu-series on Netflix, Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On, a continued exploration of themes discovered in her Emmy-nominated documentary in 2015, Hot Girls Wanted, this time focusing on society’s relationship with sex and technology. Fans grew to love Ms. Jones from her beloved roles on The Office and Parks and Recreation and through the romantic film that she wrote and starred in, Celeste and Jesse Forever. She will next be seen in the upcoming feature films Zoe alongside Ewan McGregor and Léa Seydoux, and the comedy Tag with Jeremy Renner and Ed Helms.

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HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” Premiere

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#SPMGMedia

Premiers Sun, Jul 9, 6:00PM PT
Episode 1: The Defiant Ones HBO
PHOTOS: Jeff Kravitz
HBOhttp://www.hbo.com/the-defiant-ones/index.html


Set amid many of the defining events of the past four decades, The Defiant Ones tells the stories of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre — one the son of a Brooklyn longshoreman, the other straight out of Compton — and their improbable partnership and surprising leading roles in a series of transformative events in contemporary culture. From director Allen Hughes (Menace II Society) this revealing, compelling and often-gritty story takes place in recording studios, in humble homes and massive mansions, in criminal courts and in the highest corridors of corporate power.

Hughes shows how decades of defiance and determination helped Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre build a few empires, make a series of American dreams come true and transform two American street kids from different tough neighborhoods into a global force to be reckoned with. This epic look at America shows how you can consistently defy conventional wisdom and even logic, and still win big.

The four-part documentary event is told with the help of many of the most notable artists and figures of our time, reflecting Hughes’ unfettered access to Iovine, Dre and the remarkable cast of figures who have been a part of their success story. In addition to extensive interviews with Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, who speak frankly about their highs and lows, the show includes interviews with such music icons as Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Jon Landau, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen and will.i.am. The series also features never-before-seen footage from a multitude of recording and writing sessions with Eazy-E, JJ Fad, Stevie Nicks, N.W.A., Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and U2, among others.

The Defiant Ones is a Silverback 5150 Pictures Production in association with Alcon Television Group; executive producers, Allen Hughes, Doug Pray, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Laura Lancaster, Jerry Longarzo, Michael Lombardo and Gene Kirkwood; written by Allen Hughes, Lasse Jarvi, Doug Pray; edited by Lasse Jarvi, Doug Pray; music composed by Atticus Ross, Leopold Ross, Claudia Sarne; producers, Sarah Anthony, Steven Williams, Fritzi Horstman; directed by Allen Hughes.

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National Museum Of African America Music

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The National Museum of African American Music is set to open its doors in 2019. It will be the only museum dedicated to preserving the legacy and celebrating the accomplishments of the many music genres created, influenced, or inspired by African Americans. Being built in Nashville, the Museum will share the story of the American Soundtrack, integrating history and interactive technology to bring the musical heroes of the past into the present.

The Museum is the place that educates, preserves, and celebrates the rich influence Black people have had on America’s music. The story that will unfold within it walls is the soundtrack of the American story. It is a unique narrative – one that has never been told before – which shares how a distinct group of people used their artistry to connect more than 50 genres, ranging from folk to hip-hop to blues to country.

Within 56,000 square feet, museum visitors will experience the Rivers of Rhythm Pathway where they will be taken from the beginnings of American music with Southern religious and blues traditions to the most impactful hip-hop and Rhythm & Blues. It will showcase how many of today’s most renowned artists, such as Beyonce and Harry Connick, Jr., are connected to the traditions born out of the African American experience, with captivating scenes and quotes from the last century.

The Museum hosts a variety of youth and adult programs designed to inform and inspire music enthusiasts of all ages to appreciate a variety of music forms. Additionally, we host My Music Matters: A Celebration of Legends Luncheon and participates in the Black Music Honors awards program, both recognizing the contributions of African Americans to America’s culture and the music industry.

 Learn more at https://nmaam.org/

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SPMG TRAVEL: Take a Look at Terranea Resort

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With its breathtaking oceanfront setting in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, it’s easy to see the allure of Terranea. Here on a peninsula just 30 miles south of Los Angeles, the classic Mediterranean-style resort embraces its natural, 102-acre coastal setting and incorporates those elements throughout the property—from the luxuriously appointed accommodations with their Pacific views to the superb cuisine, from the exhilarating golf links to the relaxing spa. But there’s more: Another, exclusive side to Terranea is available to discerning guests in the know.

 

FOOD & DRINK

The Chef’s Cooking Series at Terranea Resort in Los Angeles features interactive evenings of learning and giving back throughout the year, led by Terranea’s esteemed chefs.

The bi-monthly Southern California farm-to-table dinner series begins at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres reception followed by an interactive chef cooking demonstration and a three-course dinner with wine pairing. Guests will receive recipe cards and special gift items to recreate the experience at home. For each dinner event, a portion of the proceeds will benefit a non-profit partner organization.

Terranea’s dining options range from fine cuisine to casual fare, but for someone who craves a complete epicurean experience, the Land to Sea Culinary Immersion Package—designed for two—takes a love of food and wine to unparalleled levels. Among the activities over three days and two nights are a whale-sighting picnic lunch plus a visit to the Catalina View Garden to pick seasonal produce and get an overview of the resort’s honeybee program. Behind-the-scenes workshops might include making cheese or harvesting sea salt, as well as a pastry and liquor pairing. Lunch at catalina kitchen highlights “Farm to Terranea” dishes, while dinner at mar’sel, the resort’s signature restaurant, will match wines with inventive California cuisine. Offered only during specific times of the year, the package includes access to one of the Chef’s Table Dinners (also available singly or as part of a separate series). These themed, three-course dinners feature sustainably grown and foraged ingredients and fine wines; a percentage of the proceeds benefit a regional nonprofit organization. Another special program has a celebratory flair: On several summer Sundays, guests may raise a glass at four-course Champagne & Caviar brunches.

WEDDINGS AT TERRANEA

Walk down an aisle inches from the Pacific, and exchange vows where the horizon is your altar. Gracefully poised on 102 oceanfront acres and surrounded by romantic blue waves, Terranea is where your fantasy wedding becomes reality. From the Catalina Room, the 18,000-square-foot Palos Verdes Grand Ballroom and the 6,000-square-foot Marineland Ballroom to fifteen breakout rooms and three boardrooms, space for your wedding in Palos Verdes is never an issue. And if you wish to hold your event on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, 75,000 square feet of beautiful oceanfront venues are located right outside your window.

LIVING WELL

This scenic trail ride through Pointe Discovery at Terranea Resort will take you through our local Rolling Hills Trails as well as the Nature Preserve.
Home to a tremendous variety of local flora and fauna. Beautiful horses are expertly guided by witty trail

THE ARTS

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Music on the Meadows

Kick off summer and celebrate Father’s Day weekend with Terranea Resort’s annual oceanfront concert- Music on the Meadows! Enjoy an afternoon filled with musical headliners, Farm-to-Terranea BBQ, local breweries, and more.
Sunday, June 18 | 12- 7pm
Use promo code MUSIC17 for a one-night stay and receive 2 GA TICKETS AND COMPLIMENTARY VALET PARKING. Booking information to come.
For more information, please call 310.265.2851.

Learn more about the Terranea Resort experience at WEBSITE

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The Met Gala 2017 Theme: Rei Kawakubo / Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between

The Costume Institute’s spring 2017 exhibition will examine the work of Japanese fashion designer Rei Kawakubo, known for her avant-garde designs and ability to challenge conventional notions of beauty, good taste, and fashionability. The thematic show will feature approximately 150 examples of Kawakubo’s womenswear for Comme des Garçons dating from the early 1980s to her most recent collection.

The galleries will illustrate the designer’s revolutionary experiments in “in-betweenness”—the space between boundaries. Objects will be organized into eight aesthetic expressions of interstitiality in Kawakubo’s work: Fashion/Anti-Fashion, Design/Not Design, Model/Multiple, Then/Now, High/Low, Self/Other, Object/Subject, and Clothes/Not Clothes. Kawakubo breaks down the imaginary walls between these dualisms, exposing their artificiality and arbitrariness.

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“Rei Kawakubo is one of the most important and influential designers of the past 40 years,” Bolton commented to Vogue.com. “By inviting us to rethink fashion as a site of constant creation, recreation, and hybridity, she has defined the aesthetics of our time.”

 

As the exhibition prepares to open on May 4, plenty of celebrities will be preparing to hit the red carpet on May 1. Kawakubo will act as honorary chair alongside Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams – who launched a fragrance in collaboration with Comme des Garçons in 2014 – and Anna Wintour.

Watch the action unfold on Vogue.co.uk LIVE as of Monday night (UK) – and keep an eye on the British Vogue Instagram for exclusive insights into the night’s events too.

SOURCE: VOGUE

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Beyoncé Wins Prestigious Peabody Award for Lemonade

It’s been a great year so far for Beyoncé.

Not only do she and Jay Z get to welcome twins this summer, but the pregnant star has been honored with a prestigious Peabody Award for her HBO visual album Lemonade.

Once known as the “Pulitzer Prizes for Radio,” the Peabody Awards recognize excellence in television, radio and digital broadcasting. Beyoncé is among seven honorees in the Entertainment category to be named to be part of the Peabody Awards’ inaugural Peabody 30, honoring programming in news, radio/podcast, web and public service.

Lemonade draws from the prolific literary, musical, cinematic, and aesthetic sensibilities of black cultural producers to create a rich tapestry of poetic innovation,” organizers said in a statement. “The audacity of its reach and fierceness of its vision challenges our cultural imagination, while crafting a stunning and sublime masterpiece about the lives of women of color and the bonds of friendship seldom seen or heard in American popular culture.”

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Michelle Obama Gives ‘MasterChef Junior’ Challenge Winner A Recipe For Life

When it comes to reaching kids, the former first lady still reigns.

 

On Thursday’s pretaped episode of “MasterChef Junior,” Justise Mayberry triumphed in guest star Michelle Obama’s cooking challenge by making pan-seared shrimp with vegetables from the White House garden.

 

But the adorable Justise, 11, won something perhaps even better: a sit-down with the then-first lady at the Kids’ State Dinner in July. As shown in an unaired conversation posted Thursday by Fox, Obama did not disappoint.

 

Asked by Justise what advice she had for young chefs, Obama replied: “There is nothing more important that you can do for yourself than to get an education. Doing your best not just in the kitchen, but you’ve got to be your best in the classroom. I want you all to keep pushing and preparing yourself for college and doing well.”

 

Obama also told Justise to introduce other kids to vegetables and healthy eating.

Sounds like a good recipe for life, kid.

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