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Destiny Law
Destiny fills you in...

...with an update on the actor's strike; a reminder that Howard Lowery's Gallery is closing this weekend; and a look at the Widescreen Film Festival


I have received many comments about the actor's strike against TV commercial advertising agencies, which I told you about last month. I thought I'd give you all an update.

At the time of this writing, the strike is in its 5th month. Recently, however, negotiations between the ad producers and the actor's unions (the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists) have been continuing, and there has been some progress.

The strike is under a news blackout, which is when information is deliberately withheld from the media for fear of hindering the negotiation process - a real drag for people like me. But I have received word from New York that the strike's biggest sticking point, keeping residual payments for actors instead of a flat fee, is close to being resolved. If this is true, there is a possibility that the strike could be over as early as today (Friday, 9/22).

However, if it isn't, there are fears that the strike could go on much, much longer. If it does, in addition to picketing and protests, the striking actors may also start organizing boycotts of companies (such as Proctor & Gamble) that continue producing commercials during the strike using non-union talent, instead of making interim agreements with the unions.

Until all this is resolved, a relief fund has been established to help the striking actors that haven't worked since the strike began on May 1st. Many of them are starving - or losing their homes.

Several big stars have graciously pitched in and made considerable donations to this fund, including Harrison Ford and Kevin Spacey, who have both given checks for $100,000. And just the other day, Nicolas Cage wrote a $200,000 check for the fund. While filming in Hawaii, Cage said, "I have been a member of the Screen Actors Guild for twenty years. The union has stood by me, and I stand by it."

We'll keep you posted.


Last month I told you about Howard Lowery's Gallery in Burbank, and how it was closing its doors. I wanted to remind you all that the last day the retail store will be open is this Saturday (9/23). If you are in the Burbank area, and love animation as much as I do, please try to make one last visit.

I have received many comments about store's closing since my piece appeared, including an email from Paula Lowery, Howard's wife.

She reminded me that although the store is closing, they are not going out of business - just changing the way they approach it:

Howard has been in this business for over 30 years, and has seen it grow and change, and the access to a global community via the Internet looks to be a good means of reaching a vast audience/market without the expense, personnel issues and other burdens of a retail operation."

...In short, we have a 5 1/2 year old daughter, and we want to be able to spend as much time with her as we can while she's at the age where she needs - and wants - to be with us!

They will be continuing their operations through a web site; selling items on eBay.com; and making announcements of special offers to their mailing list (be sure to check my sidebar for their contact information and join up).

Regardless of this, it is still sad to lose a real store one can walk through, a store that has become a favorite to many animation fans - including my friend and fellow film historian Leonard Maltin, who sent me his thoughts on the store's closing:

My family and I will miss browsing at Howard's wonderful store - a clean, well-lighted place in a field where dim, seedy establishments seem to be the rule. It was the kind of place where you might run into like-minded collectors and buffs, and fall into spontaneous conversation... or engage in lively debate with the proprietor himself.

I wish Howard only the best, but I'll always regret that he had to close the doors to his gallery.


Speaking of Mr. Maltin, I am reminded of something he said at the Tribute to Marc Davis, which he moderated last April at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. The Academy Theater is arguably the best screening room in Los Angeles. And it has to be - it is the theater where the members of the Academy screen the Oscar nominees every year.

At the tribute, the audience was treated to several film clips of Marc Davis' work... including A Silly Song from "Snow White," Bibbidi- Bobbidi- Boo from "Cinderella," and the Mad Tea Party from "Alice in Wonderland."

But when it came time to show the clip from "Sleeping Beauty," the screen slowly opened up and became wider to present Once Upon a Dream in the film's original widescreen Technorama 70mm format.

"It's so thrilling to see those wide screen films because we so rarely get to do so," Leonard said after the clip played. "Video is a wonderful thing, but nothing can quite compare with THAT." The audience enthusiastically agreed with a huge round of applause.

I have always been appreciative of any opportunity to see a favorite widescreen film in a real theater - and always jump at the chance. And one of these opportunities is coming up.

The 6th Annual Widescreen Film Festival is underway at the California State University of Long Beach's Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts. This Saturday (9/23), beginning at 10am, they will be showing an hour's worth of short (but wide) cartoons. Organized with the help of Disney's film restorations expert Scott MacQueen, the program will include the Oscar winning "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" and other cartoons starring Donald Duck, Humphrey Bear, and park ranger J. Audubon Woodlore.

Scheduled to appear at this screening is Disney animator Bill Justice, and one of the "Nine Old Men," Disney Legend Ward Kimball.

Following the cartoon shorts will be a screening of the Disney classic "Swiss Family Robinson." Director Ken Annakin and star James MacArthur are expected to attend a panel discussion following the film.

Also screening on Saturday will be the hilarious Mel Brooks comedy "Blazing Saddles" and two of David Lynch's classic films, "The Elephant Man" and "Blue Velvet." Both Mel Brooks and David Lynch have been invited to attend.

The Widescreen Film Festival was formed under the leadership of Artistic Director Gary Prebula, and has enjoyed continued success through the support and assistance of executive and advisory committees comprised of the film industry's leading production and preservation personnel.

Drop by for a film or two!

ADDITIONAL INFO

For more information on how you can help the striking actors, visit the Screen Actors Guild Strike Headquarters.


The last day Howard Lowery's Gallery will be open will be this Saturday, September 23. Their address is 3812 West Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank, California. Be sure to check their hours - their phone number is (818) 972 9080

Their website, which is still in development, is located at www.HowardLowery.com. They can be reached by email at howardlowery@psn.net 

Howard will also be selling certain items on eBay.com. Be sure to search there for current auctions by "hllowery".


The Widescreen Film Festival is being held through September 24th at the California State University of Long Beach's Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts, located at 6200 Atherton Street in Long Beach, California. General Admission tickets to each screening is $7 each; $5 for students and seniors. For Tickets, call (562) 985-7000, or visit their website for more information.

The Carpenter Center Cinema Society is a membership organization designed to support and encourage film and film- related events at the Carpenter Center.

Members receive discounted and / or free admission to Carpenter Center cinema events and advance notice regarding upcoming screenings. Membership is $25. For more information, call (562) 985-7000.

...Be sure to tell 'em all that Destiny sent you.


Please feel free to email me at DestinyELaw@aol.com 

I can't guarantee a response... but I'd still love to hear from you!

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