Monday, April 27, 2009
We're doing something strange this time. We'd like YOU to pick what cover our new book, Character Kings, is going to have! Just leave your comment, telling us which you prefer: the top one (orange), or the bottom (green).
For every person who votes, you can get $5 off ANY book on our site. Offer ends at the very end of the month, on the stroke of midnight, April 30th, EST. (Offer good for 1 book for 1 person.) So hurry up and cast your vote.
And after you've voted, if you're ordering a book, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let me know, so I can take $5 off your order. Thanks. And thanks for voting!
See JAWS and meet JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE: A JAWS COMPANION author Pat Jankiewicz (signing his new book) at Hollywood's historic Vista Theater (1510 Las Palmas Ave - Studio 4, Los Angeles, CA 90028).
$5.00 admission, Thursday, April 30th--JAWS!
If you've never seen Steven Spielberg's classic on the big screen, you've missed it in full impact! See it and then hear how the legendary book and film came together.
*For you movie buffs, this is the original cut of the film, without the re-done sound(ergo, in it's original Oscar-winning sound version). The Vista is really cool--it's the classic theater where where Clarence sees THE STREETFIGHTER in TRUE ROMANCE! (There are Valentinos on the wall with glowing eyes, as seen in the film.)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
After having done FANGORIA'S WEEKEND OF HORRORS, the great glossy horror mag Fangoria threw author Pat Jankiewicz in their Podcast, promoting his new book on the Jaws film series for 15 minutes! They're even linking it directly on their site with this ad they made for him!
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
What was it like touring with the major big bands of the day?
What's your favorite story in the book?
I noticed they used one of your songs in the new Ben Kingsley movie, Eulogy. Where else can we spot them?
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Lonnie Burr says:
"Finally the Smithsonian is using part of my collection for viewing. Along with a FEW things Disney contributed for the 50th of Disneyland - an actual Dumbo car from the ride - my sequined Ears from 25 Years of Mouseketeers , the TV special for our 25th Anniversary in 1980 are included.
"I am the only Mouseketeer in the Smithsonian with about 50 items, approximately 40 MMC, the rest from my acting etcetera and work as poet, playwright, book/rags/mags/ezines, comedy material and the rest."
He's just done two radio shows online - Talking Television with Dave White - www.ksav.org andwww.wdwradio.com with Lou Mongello. Taped www.waukegan.org Morning Show with Joan Hammel, which will soon air and be online.
He'll also be doing CNN, MSNBC and other 24 hour news, along with talk shows on Monday the 13th.
Meantime, check out his latest tv interview on youtube.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Several people have asked - "why did you write a book on Tim Kelly?" Though they'll often ask "Who?" instead. Well, I've always been an admirer of people who write a lot. Frank Zappa, Prince (I'm listening to his 3-cd set as I type this); and Tim Kelly was the most prolific playwright the USA has known. Or hasn't known. He wrote mostly for the school market, though he's been produced on Broadway, and in nearly every country in the world. He deserves continued recognition. It was a delight to write.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
From the flickering silent images of the nickelodeon to the roaring vibrancy of today's digital video productions, independent cinema has always challenged the way films are created, released and viewed. The History of Independent Cinema presents an extraordinary journey that revisits the innovative men and women who stood up to the status quo and brought revolutionary new ideas and technologies to the motion picture world.
The History of Independent Cinema celebrates the pioneers who introduced color, sound, widescreen projection and videography to the filmmaking process. You will meet the brave individuals who tore down racial and gender barriers behind the camera, challenged censorship taboos imposed on film production, formulated new strategies for film distribution, and created many of the greatest movies ever made.
Spanning the full spectrum of the U.S. film experience, The History of Independent Cinema is a tribute to the legendary filmmakers and landmark films that reshaped - and continue to reshape - American popular culture.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Q&A with one of the original Mouseketeers, Lonnie Burr
Q. What made you decide to write your book?
A. I had written one hundred pages into a satirical approach to the MMC experience in book form after my terse satirical piece on the Mickey Mouse Club was published in the Village Voice: Confessions of a Mouseketeer (1975). The book title was Confessions of a Mad Mouseketeer. My agent could find no interest, so I “drawered” it. After turning sixty, I looked at it again and decided that it would be a good story as PART of my life, 53 years and counting since the MMC. Then I worked on it on and off until late 2007, and had a viable manuscript.
Q. You must get tired of getting Mickey Mouse Club questions. What would you like to be asked about?
A. How I have managed to avoid the tabloids, scandal, problems with drugs, the law and the other substantive quagmires that child stars fall into, and have a continuing career in acting, dancing/choreography, song and dance and directing, as well as my published poetry, plays, books, newspaper-magazine-ezine reviews, articles, comedy, etcetera, functioning on rare occasions as an educator and remained solvent, if not affluent, for all these years since I turned pro in 1948 at age 5.
Q. Any advice for child actors these days, or their parents?
A. In one of my articles against kids going into showbiz professionally, I quoted a Noel Coward lyric: “Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs. Worthington…” and added “nor your son.” It is fine for a child, motivated only by him or her self, as opposed to one or both parents, to perform as an amateur in or outside of school, and to take lessons. When the constant rejection – only one child, out of the hundreds at the audition, will succeed so most are losers – and the formidable stress of money/greed – more so now than in my youth – are added together, failure quickly manifests itself. Or if the child is successful at the time, failure comes later on when the child can no longer be a child because a new person has evolved and the former child is punished for being something different
Growing up is difficult enough – with family dysfunctions, school socialization and work, hormonal changes, identity crises and all the rest – but to add money and pressure to the process is CRUEL. Period. Once high school is over, better, when eighteen is reached, turning professional is a young adult’s life-choice, whether wrong or right.
Q. What’s the one thing the average person doesn’t know about MMC or Walt himself?
A. MMC: That the show ran originally in 18 countries and was translated into five other languages, and that it has rerun in the U.S. in the ‘60s, ‘70s (bringing forth the short lived New Mickey Mouse Club), from 1983-1989 starting off The Disney Channel and, after the last “Earless” incarnation of the show (1989-1995), our old black and white films ran from 1995 through September, 2002 – thus connecting with at least three generations and two centuries.
Walt: His primary focus at the time was Disneyland and his TV success in 1954 led ABC, now owned by Disney, to give him $1.5 million to finish his
Q. What are your favorite TV shows today?
A. After the best series ever, The West Wing, yielding high drama, hilarious comedy AND pristine, ambiguous, moral and ethical choices – what Edward Albee called in dialogue “the teaching emotion” – nothing compares favorably, so mostly reruns of sitcoms and episodic dramas that I favored previously.
24 is like old time movie serials: lightning quick, always resolved in the hero’s favor and, most importantly, gives the viewer the chance to see what life is really like in dangerous intelligence work, with the lead taking the right but hypocritically “socially wrong” actions needed for the John Stuart Mill “good of all humanity” mixed in with being a human, superhero 007, and the expedience of the Charles Bronson vigilante in a world where everyone, except the terrorists, feels powerless.
Excerpt from Confessions of an Accidental Mouseketeer by Lonnie Burr:
CHAPTER ONE – UNDER THE DINING ROOM TABLE
Before I acted in films with Elvis, Dustin Hoffman and Jean-Claude Van Damme; before I danced and sang with Ginger Rogers, Sammy Davis and Carol Channing; before I directed and took over the lead in my first produced play, was awarded for my poetry, reviewed theatre and film or signed my first published book; before I performed on Broadway with Robert Preston and Bernadette Peters; before I was directed by Spielberg and Fosse and Gower Champion; before I became a permanent part of the Smithsonian Museum of American History; before I received my high school diploma six days after turning fifteen and finished my M.A. at nineteen; before I dated Barbara Parkins and had sex with a hooker in Paris on a Disney expense account at eighteen; before I attempted to take my life at twenty ---- I accidentally became a permanent part of pop culture.
I am certainly not a legend, nor a David Copperfield hero of my life, but I have been lumbered with brobdingnagian, iconic ears since the age of eleven when I became one of the four boy Mouseketeers to last the entire filming of the original Mickey Mouse Club (1955-59).
Thus, I foreshadowed Warhol’s cynical, hackneyed quote about everyone having his or her fifteen minutes of fame, except my allegedly fleeting celebrity has lasted over six decades and will inevitably dominate my obituary, ending not with a whimper but with a squeak.
The very first time I wore a claustrophobic, smelly, wool bear suit with chafing muslin padding, peering out from the bear head’s nostrils as best I could as I sweated profusely and danced to “The Humphrey Hop” in take after take as my persona Mouseketeer Lonnie on Stage 1 of the Disney Studios in Burbank, California, we were filming the first season of the popular kid’s series in 1955. I had just turned twelve.
Googles Plan for Out-of-Print Books Is ChallengedBy MIGUEL HELFT
SAN FRANCISCO The dusty stacks of the nations great university and research libraries are full of orphans books that the author and publisher have essentially abandoned. They are out of print, and while they remain under copyright, the rights holders are unknown or cannot be found.
Now millions of orphan books may get a new legal guardian. Google has been scanning the pages of those books and others as part of its plan to bring a digital library and bookstore, unprecedented in scope, to computer screens across the United States.
But a growing chorus is complaining that a far-reaching settlement of a suit brought against Google by publishers and authors is about to grant the company too much power over orphan works.
These critics say the settlement, which is subject to court approval, will give Google virtually exclusive rights to publish the books online and to profit from them. Some academics and public interest groups plan to file legal briefs objecting to this and other parts of the settlement in coming weeks, before a review by a federal judge in June.
While most orphan books are obscure, in aggregate they are a valuable, broad swath of 20th-century literature and scholarship.
Determining which books are orphans is difficult, but specialists say orphan works could make up the bulk of the collections of some major libraries.
Critics say that without the orphan books, no competitor will ever be able to compile the comprehensive online library Google aims to create, giving the company more control than ever over the realm of digital information. And without competition, they say, Google will be able to charge universities and others high prices for access to its database.
The settlement, takes the vast bulk of books that are in research libraries and makes them into a single database that is the property of Google, said Robert Darnton, head of the Harvard University library system. Google will be a monopoly.
Google, which has scanned more than seven million books from the collections of major libraries at its own expense, vigorously defends the settlement, saying it will bring great benefits to the broader public. And it says others could make similar deals.
This agreement expands access to many of these hard-to-find books in a way that is great for Google, great for authors, great for publishers and great for readers, said Alexander Macgillivray, the Google lawyer who led the settlement negotiations with the Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild.
Most of the critics, which include copyright specialists, antitrust scholars and some librarians, agree that the public will benefit. But they say others should also have rights to orphan works. And they oppose what they say amounts to the rewriting, through a private deal rather than through legislation, of the copyright rules for millions of texts.
They are doing an end run around the legislative process, said Brewster Kahle, founder of the Open Content Alliance, which is working to build a digital library with few restrictions.
Opposition to the 134-page agreement, which the parties announced in October, has been building slowly as its implications have become clearer. Groups that plan to raise concerns with the court include the American Library Association, the Institute for Information Law and Policy at New York Law School and a group of lawyers led by Prof. Charles R. Nesson of Harvard Law School. It is not clear that any group will oppose the settlement outright.
The groups representing publishers and authors, which filed a class-action lawsuit against Google in 2005 in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of their members, are defending the settlement, as are some librarians at major universities.
What we were establishing was a renewed access to a huge corpus of material that was essentially lost in the bowels of a few great libraries, said Richard Sarnoff, former chairman of the Association of American Publishers and co-chairman of the American unit of Bertelsmann, the parent company of Random House.
The lawsuit claimed that Googles practice of showing snippets of copyrighted books in search results was copyright infringement. Google insisted that it was protected by fair use provisions of copyright law.
The settlement, which covers all books protected by copyright in the United States, allows Google to vastly expand what it can do with digital copies of books, whether they are orphans or not.
Google will be allowed to show readers in the United States as much as 20 percent of most copyrighted books, and will sell access to the entire collection to universities and other institutions. Public libraries will get free access to the full texts for their patrons at one computer, and individuals will be able to buy online access to particular books.
Proceeds from the program, including advertising revenue from Googles book search service, will be split; Google will take 37 percent, and authors and publishers will share the rest. Google will also help set up a Book Rights Registry, run by authors and publishers, to administer rights and distribute payments.
Authors are permitted to opt out of the settlement or remove individual books from Googles database. Google says it expects the pool of orphan books to shrink as authors learn about the registry and claim their books.
While the registrys agreement with Google is not exclusive, the registry will be allowed to license to others only the books whose authors and publishers have explicitly authorized it. Since no such authorization is possible for orphan works, only Google would have access to them, so only Google could assemble a truly comprehensive book database.
No other company can realistically get an equivalent license, said Pamela Samuelson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.
Mr. Macgillivray said Google shared with many of its critics the goal of making orphan works more widely accessible. He said Google would continue to lobby for legislation to that effect. And he said that nothing prevented a potential rival from following in its footsteps namely, by scanning books without explicit permission, waiting to be sued and working to secure a similar settlement.
Yet even Michael J. Boni, the lead lawyer representing the Authors Guild, conceded that Google will always have the advantage of having access to 100 percent of the orphan works.
Mr. Darnton of Harvard said he feared that without competition Google would be free to raise the price to unbearable levels.
But Mr. Macgillivray and Mr. Boni said prices would be kept in check, in part by the goal, spelled out in the agreement, to reach as many customers as possible.
Some of Googles rivals are clearly interested in the settlements fate. Microsoft is helping to finance the research on the settlement at the New York Law School institute. James Grimmelmann, an associate professor at the institute, said its work was not influenced by Microsoft. Microsoft confirmed this but declined to comment further.
Amazon also declined to comment. An unmatchable back catalog could eventually make Google a primary source for digital versions of books, old and new, threatening other e-book stores.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Shipping just next month!
CAR 54, Where Are You? is considered one of the best television comedies ever produced. From 1961 to 1963, Officers Toody and Muldoon were among the most unlikely patrol-car partners ever seen on a police force. Toody was short, stocky, and just a it nosy, a marked contrast to the tall, quiet Muldoon. Although they were assigned to New York's fictional 53rd precinct -- a run down area of the Bronx not generally considered a hotbead of hilarity -- they always seemed to encounter more comedy than crime.
From the episode "Something Nice for Sol" to the classic Christmas episode of 1961, this light-hearted comedy offered a heart-warming approach to our police force at work. The comedy was invariably of the broad slapstick variety reminiscent of Mack Sennett -- and one episode even soluted the Keystone Cops!
Created by Nat Hiken, this television program now receives a superb review including biographies on the lead actors, the creation of the series, detailed listings of all 60 television episodes, broadcast history, cast list, plot summaries and lots of behind-the-scenes stories.